We are facing lockdown every other day. With unexpected restrictions, it is tough to get hold of food items during emergency situations. It is advisable to store less perishable food items so that you could use them for a long while. Hence we are sharing the list of nutritious foods with a long shelf life to store during home quarantine as well as a few delicious, easy, and healthy recipes.
Food to store during quarantine:
A self-imposed home quarantine mostly gives you limited options for storing food as we need to have foods that have a longer shelf life. We should religiously include seasonal vegetables and fruits in our diet.
According to the statistics by WHO, consuming 400g of fruits and vegetables is imperative.
While we vouch for all fruits and vegetables, certain specific nutritious foods with long shelf life should be particularly included in our diet or stored. We recommend these foods taking into account the ease of storage, availability, and shelf life along with nutritional value and immunity-boosting power.
The awareness about the importance of Vitamin C in our diet is remarkably high in the current scenario. Citrus fruits as we all know are the richest source of Vitamin C. Orange, lemon, grapefruit, clementines etc must be regular in our diet plan.
Vegetables like potatoes, carrots, turnips, etc are the best source of sodium, potassium, Vitamin C, dietary fibers, etc. They are nutritious foods with long shelf life, which makes them the best food for pandemic times as they can be stored for a long while. Starchy roots like potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc can be steamed or boiled, preferably with their skin on for more dietary intake.
Cruciferous vegetables cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and other green leafy vegetables. They are sources of Vitamin A, C, K, minerals like folate, and also phytonutrients which have anti-inflammatory properties.
Frozen Fruits and vegetables
Frozen fruits and vegetables are the best nutrient source when you are under home quarantine or lockdown. These are inexpensive, you can store them for a longer period, and also has high dietary content.
In comparison to fresh and frozen vegetables, canned vegetables are less preferred. But when you have to save them for a longer period they become the best choice. Vegetables like mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, green peas, etc are available in canned form.
Dry fruits and nuts
The first point to check while opting for dry fruits and nuts is that they must be unsalted and sugarless. They are rich sources of unsaturated fats. Loaded with Vitamin E, B6, Omega3 fatty acids, and many more nutrients. They can be your snack to munch on, instead of packed and processed food.
Chickpeas, lentils, beans, etc are rich sources of protein, minerals, and vitamins. They can be stored without being perished and hence storing them in your pantry can be the best step of precaution you can take. You can easily prepare a spicy sprouts sandwich for a healthy and tasty meal especially after morning routine work out.
Rice, wheat, quinoa, etc are the best source of nutrients. The main advantage is that you can store them for a longer period and are easy to cook.
Whole grain bread is an easily available source of grains and it can be frozen in slices.
Milk and eggs
They are inexpensive protein sources. Milk products like unsweetened yogurt, curd, etc can also be a good source of nutrients. Relatively lower shelf life makes it less preferable for storing. For longer shelf life, you can use milk powders.
Indian Spices and herbs
Yes! Spices have been counted as unhealthy over the years but if late the awareness has started to build around the goodness of spices. Turmeric, cloves, black pepper, cumin seeds along with ginger and garlic amalgamates the goodness of healthy food with taste and also adds to the immunity.
Meal Ideas – Food to eat during pandemic:
Now that you know what to store for a long period, let us see a few easy recipes that you can rely on, while on home quarantine. Quite often moms who are COVID +ve end cooking food for the rest of the family. With extreme pain and with an uncomfortable body and mind, we cannot assort to a detailed cooking spree. Hence, TCT shares some easy-to-cook recipes with non-perishable food items. These are the food items that can be cooked in bulk and stored as well. Thus you can have a go-to food, that you can cook instantly while quarantined.
Pressure cook the dal (chickpeas, green gram, green gram beans, Bengal gram, etc) in bulk and keep it in the freezer. Crush ginger, garlic, onion, and tomatoes together, saute the mixture in oil, add chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, and gram masala. Saute it dry and refrigerate. This is your go-to dal mix.
While cooking thaw the pulse. Take a portion of the sauteed mix, add water and boil it, add the thawed pulses.
Whole grain pasta with easy sauce
Mix, whole wheat flour, milk, and a tiny pinch of salt. Boil it in simmer mode till it tightens into a porridge, turn it off. Add cheese and boiled whole grain pasta. This can be converted into red sauce pasta by using tomato puree, ketchup, and a pinch of salt with red chili powder if needed. You can boil pasta and keep it in the freezer. Thaw it before use.
Lemon Rice and Curd Rice
Temper mustard seeds in oil, add red chilly, curry leaves, urad dal, chana dal(optional), ginger (chopped). Further, add curd/lemon for curd rice and lemon rice respectively. Add boiled rice and saute. Do you know that curd rice and lemon rice were packed by our grandmothers for their long trips in an era where hotels and restaurants were not available at every nook and corner? They stay fresh for 2-3 days even without refrigeration.
Yes! Pizza is one of the easy go-to nutritious foods with long shelf life that you can cook during a pandemic. Here is how;
Base: Mix a teaspoon of yeast and sugar with half a cup of water. Once it is frothy add 2 ½ cup flour, a little salt, and 1 ½ tablespoon oil and make the dough. Keep it at room temperature for 5-6 hours. Divide it into balls, spread it in the shape of a pizza base, and keep it in a freezer.
Sauce: Add pureed tomato to saute ginger garlic, cover it and cook properly. Once it is thick, add Italian herbs. After cooling, transfer it to a jar and refrigerate. You might have already stored the vegetable with a longer shelf life as well as the canned veggies.
On the day you decide to bake the pizza, thaw the base and sauce, layer them and add veggies and mozzarella cheese. Isn’t that simple? Use whole wheat flour instead of refined flour and use less yeast and keep it rising for a longer time. you have your easy, healthy, go-to pizza.
Smoothies, buttermilk and lassi
Richa strongly suggests keeping the body hydrated. “Drink enough water, vegetable juice, coconut water, and barley water.”
Put the seasonal, long-lasting fruit that you have stored in a blender. Add milk and honey. Blend it well to get a thick paste. If you are using citrus fruit, skip the milk part and add black salt and a pinch of cumin powder. Another option is beating curd with honey/a little sugar to make a sweet lass
Who recommends the use of less than 30% of the total energy intake of which only less than 10% should be saturated. Hence avoid red meat which is rich in unsaturated fat. If you are using red meat, trim excess fat. This applies to poultry as well. Try to use skinless poultry.