Healthy Foods to Have on Hand during the Pandemic

By Isabelle Huot, PhD in Nutrition

The current health crisis has had significant impacts on our food buying habits. Many of us are limiting our visits to the grocery store and it has become crucial to plan our menus ahead of time.

Here is my list of grocery essentials that will help you eat well in quarantine, and beyond!

For the Pantry

  • Canned red beans (for chili and minestrone soup)
  • Canned chickpeas (for chickpea curries and main-course salads)
  • Brown rice (as a side dish and for stir-fried rice with vegetables)
  • Quinoa (for Buddha-style bowls and Mexican quinoa)
  • Whole wheat pasta (for pasta with tomato sauce or one-pot dishes)
  • Canned tuna (for sandwiches and salads)
  • Dried fruits (for homemade muffins and as oatmeal garnishes)
  • Rolled oats (for homemade muffins and cookies and overnight oatmeal)
  • Low sugar cereals (less than 5 g of sugar per 30 g serving)
  • Dried red lentils (for a soup meal with coconut milk and a lentil dhal)
  • Salt-free spices 
  • Low-sodium vegetable broth
  • Canned tomatoes 
  • Whole wheat flour (for homemade pancakes and cakes)
  • UHT milk and tetra pack format vegetable-juice drinks
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar

For the Freezer

  • Frozen fruit 
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Sliced whole wheat bread, English muffins, and bagels
  • Chicken breasts and fish fillets
  • Edamame beans

For the Fridge

  • Eggs (for omelets, frittatas, sheet-pan baked eggs, and vegetables)
  • Milk
  • Hard cheese and grated cheese
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Long shelf life vegetables (carrots, turnip, rabiole, celery)
  • Apples

You can easily prepare healthy meals using the above items, and websites are brimming with easy-to-make recipes the whole family can prepare together. Personally, I like to improvise my meals with what I have on hand. Be bold and confident in the kitchen, and remember that eating well helps boost your immune system!

Isabelle Huot has a PhD in Nutrition and is the go-to resource for healthy eating in Quebec, Canada. Author, columnist and speaker, she is also a seasoned businesswoman. Making her mark in the media for more than 20 years, she made the leap to entrepreneurship in 2009, a first for nutritionists in Quebec. Her company, Isabelle Huot Docteure en nutrition, offers a wide range of healthy products: ready-to-eat meals, main-course salads, snacks, breakfast products, and more. The company also offers wellness services through a team of experts: nutritionists, kinesiologists and psychologists specializing in eating behavior.