Hand Washing

The coronavirus and resulting quarantine means a lot less time outdoors. Unfortunately, that also means fewer shopping trips.

Panic buying is common during crises like this. However, a lot of what’s disappearing isn’t what’s important. So, put down the toilet paper and reconsider your shopping list. Here’s what you should be stocking up on for these next few months.

Food

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it bears repeating. If you’re staying indoors for a significant amount of time, you need to meet your basic needs. Since food and water are the most important human need, you should stock up enough to last six to 12 weeks.

However, don’t just go out and buy up random snacks. Instead, focus on long lasting and non-perishable items.

Also, keep in mind basic nutritional needs. You’d do yourself no favors eating nothing but spaghetti for a month. Everyone needs a certain amount of proteins, carbs and healthy fats in their daily meals.

Proteins assist building and maintaining muscle tissue, something that’s a lot harder now if you’re not physically active. Meat — especially white meats like poultry and fish — are high in protein and low in unhealthy fats. For vegetarians and vegans, beans and lentils are tasteful, non-animal proteins. Eggs are also a terrific and well-rounded source of protein. You don’t have to worry about long-term storage either. Frozen meat lasts for months, eggs last for around five weeks and non-vegetable proteins don’t expire for years when canned and never expire when fresh.

Carbs are you’re body’s main fuel source. These include breads, fruits, whole grains, millet, sorghum and roots. I recommend grains like rice, couscous and quinoa. They take a year, two years and three years, respectively, to go bad while also being flavorful and easy to cook. I similarly recommend potatoes — especially sweet potatoes — if you have access to a consistent source. They go bad in around two weeks, but you can fuel a day’s activity with only one meal.

‘Healthy fats’ are foods like nuts, milk and certain cheeses. Olive oil is also a tremendous source of healthy fat. You can freeze milk to delay expiration and nuts almost never expire

It’s not impossible to stock up for a month, you just have to be smart about what you choose.

Medication

The CDC recommends not letting your health fade in the middle of a pandemic. If you have any monthly prescriptions, make sure you have up to 30 days worth of it. Similarly, stock up on any self-care medications like pain-relievers, allergy meds and sleep aids.

Stock up on cold remedies, as well as any other medicine in case of sickness. There’s no coronavirus vaccine yet, but you can lessen your chances of catching it by staying healthy and treating any other minor illnesses you may catch.

Cleaning Supplies

The best ways to avoid the coronavirus are social distancing and basic cleanliness. As such, be sure to acquire your basic sanitization equipment — that means soap, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes. Be sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, paying special attention to the region under your nails.

Similarly, stock up on household cleaning supplies like dish detergent. It doesn’t do you any good to be clean if your environment isn’t sanitary.

Hand sanitizer has been in short supply, so be sure to buy it when you can. However, keep your fellow man in mind. If you’re the only sanitized person around while others are getting sick, you’re only prolonging what could have been stopped entirely. If others are hungry while you sit on 30 bags of rice, you’ve gone from being mindful of your needs to just plain selfish.

Don’t panic buy the store’s entire stock of cleaning equipment, medicine or food. Instead, calculate your needs and buy accordingly. That way, we can all get through this together.

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