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Stocking Your Pandemic Pantry

Featured Speaker

Anna Mooi, RDN

Anna Mooi, RDN

Anna is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as well as Food Safety (HACCP) Certified.

About this Podcast

Anna Mooi, RDN shares what you should be stocking your pantry with during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Caitlin Whyte (host): As we work to turn the tide of the Coronavirus pandemic, we've all been asked to make fewer trips to public spaces like grocery stores with fewer shopping trips, you might be tempted to overbuy when you do make it to the store. But it's important to resist the urge to hoard, says the US Department of Agriculture, although everyone needs to have nonperishable foods at the ready. There's no need to panic and overbuy. Welcome to Aspiras Health Talk. I'm Caitlin Whyte. And today we're talking about healthy eating during the COVID-19 pandemic with Anna Mooi, a Registered Dietician Nutritionist for us virus. So Anna, how much food and other necessities does a person need.

Anna Mooi (guest): So in regards to COVID typically the quarantine time that is suggested and recommended is the 14 days. So two weeks that being said that, you know, we don't really need to hoard and go out and just buy like a ton of different, you know, pastas and rice and things like that. So really just being aware of, you know, how much you're probably going to go through in that two weeks time.

Host: Now, how do you stock a healthy pantry?

Anna Mooi: I kind of like to break it down into food groups. So if you think of a balanced plate, you're going to have some sort of protein in there, you're going to have a starch, your fruits, your vegetables. You're going to have a healthy fat in there as well. And some dairy products. So when you're going to the store, I will even break down my shopping list into those categories, so that I make sure that I get, you know, some different options for each category to kind of liven things up, make sure I'm getting a balanced diet and just have again variety. Cause that's the spice of life. Right.

Host: Okay. And you kind of got into it, but what are some things you recommend people have on hand?

Anna Mooi: Yeah. So let's just I'll just break it down by the food group, as I said before. So yeah, when you are looking at like some good protein options and you know, you can buy meat in bulk and always freeze it to last a bit longer. Using non-meat items, so your canned beans are great, you know, get the low sodium ones, but you can add those to, you know, soups or stews or make humus. Those sorts of things, eggs are great. They last a long time and even getting some, you know, shelf stable like tuna or salmon packets or cans and making those into burgers or your tuna salad or anything like that. So yeah, those are some good protein options. When we're looking at starches, preferably we want to get more whole grain items. So that'd be your, your Brown or bread and pasta or rice potatoes last a long time. Oats are great, some different like oatmeal based cereals, granolas, all those things.

And that's typically, you know, more of your, what we consider the things people might up on. Cause they are very shelf stable. When you're looking at vegetables, you can definitely get canned. I mean, again, that's something that went off the shelves pretty quick, but get those low sodium variety, you know, whether it's tomatoes or beans or things like that. Frozen is also great if you do have that freezer space. And there's also quite a few fresh items, fruits and vegetables that do have a longer shelf life. So that would be in the vegetable category, looking at like carrots, onions, cabbage, broccoli, those typically last a bit longer than say your, you know, spinach or something like that. When we're looking at fruits again, you can get canned, but make sure that those fruits are canned in its own juices. If you get ones in the syrup though, they are really high in the added sugars, which we do like to avoid. There's also all those frozen fruits out there dried fruits, you know, whether it's apricots or like in a trail mix, all those things are definitely a good thing to have on hand. Next dairy cheese lasts a long time, get a bunch of different types of cheeses, yogurt and cottage cheese also lasts a lot longer than people typically think they are very good pantry items.

One of the main things I see people kind of running low on that will make them go to the store more often is milk. So a couple of tips there, you know, really look at the date on the milk carton or the gallon of milk. And you know, you know, if you're getting like two gallons or something, get ones with different dates to kind of extend that, also there are a lot of shelf stable milks, regular cows milk, you can get shelf stable, as well as, you know, your soy milk, almond milk, all those milk alternatives too. And there is always powdered milk as well, you know, just have on hand to avoid those extra grocery store excursions. And then as far as having some healthy fats on hand too, and that would be, you know, mainly your like canola oil, your olive oil things that you're going to use to cook your protein option or to add to your starch or vegetables. And also the last thing I really like to have in a pantry is a good variety of spices and herbs. Cause again, you can just, you know, mix those into all different types of foods to vary the flavor and make things exciting. Also using like different sauces or dressings, having those on hand too, again, mix things up, make it exciting and things that you want to eat. Cause that's really important too.

Host: And what are some other shopping options people should be considering or looking into during this pandemic?

Anna Mooi: Yeah. So one thing I've been using is actually the grocery pickup, you know, from Walmart or ability of some other grocery stores, they're doing that more. That's a great to do it. I mean, no contact and you can get just what you want so that I know that's been getting more popular. Also in this time of year, right now farmer's markets are up and going. So definitely, you know, support your local farmers and shop there and get that those fresh fruits and veggies. Also throughout quarantine, I know lots of people have gotten into gardening themselves. So just making sure that you know, you're using those herbs, those different fruits and vegetables that you have in your own backyard as well.

Host: And wrapping up here, Anna, how can people combat cravings, you know, when they're stressed out and they just want to order some takeout or comfort food while they're stuck at home?

Anna Mooi: Yeah. So definitely, you know, acknowledge those cravings. They're real, they're there and you know what, it's in this time, it's not necessarily a bad thing to actually have some of those cravings that being said, you know, be wise about it. You know, making sure that, you know, if you do have you know, ice cream on hand at home, getting the single serve containers, you know, getting the smaller amounts so that you're not going to like be eating a whole, whole pint of ice cream, but you'll just have that, you know, that cup instead. So getting the single serve of those kinds of special fun foods is a great way to kind of keep that portion control in check. Some other ways to combat cravings are, you know yes you can, you know, if you have a sweet tooth going more towards your fruits, so which again are sweet, but have a lot of other good vitamins and minerals to them. So trying that out also, you know, if you know that you have a craving, you know, a certain time of day or whatever, go take a walk, separate yourself from that pantry, separate yourself from the fridge so that you're less likely to, you know, just go and pig out. So really just kind of be aware of when those cravings hit, be aware of what your body is feeling, what your mind is feeling like too. You know, maybe it's really more of that emotional eating that you're going for. So, you know, acknowledge that and try to think of some ways that you can reduce stress by say, exercise or talking to a loved one or something like that. Instead of just eating a lot of food.

Host: Thank you so much for this information and for joining us today, Anna, find more healthy eating tips at aspiras.org and across all of our socials. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and share it. I'm Caitlin Whyte, stay well.