Self-Quarantine Meal Planning: Thriving in Isolation


This post gives a general overview of foods to focus on while prepping for an extended period of isolation. For some tips on using Eat This Much to handle the planning for you, check out our post here.

Meal Planning in Quarantine header

No matter how good your spouse’s spaghetti bolognese is, there’s only so many times you can have it for supper in a row before you start to begin to hate the taste of pasta.

With the recent events around the world surrounding the spread of the novel coronavirus, it may be time to start planning to stock up on foodstuffs that will allow for delicious and varied meals during any potential food shortage.

We’re going to break down a few key items that are versatile enough to be the base of a wide range of dishes, along with tips and ideas that will help to keep you and your loved ones happy, not just fed.

Start with the Basics: Versatile Long Shelf-Life Foods

Nothing screams, “You need me during a food crisis”, like foods that can stay edible for months or years without concern.

The obvious staples to consider stocking up on here are dried beans as a good long-life source of slow carbs and protein, white or brown rice as a filling base for a wide range of meals, and yes, different types of pasta as an alternative to rice all the time.

These 3 foods will last for months in storage as they are dried, and can be stocked up in large amounts in order to provide a cheap, plentiful and reliable base for many different types of meals.

If you find yourself in a situation where the shelves are empty at the local grocery stores, or if you’re having to self-quarantine on your own or with loved ones for a prolonged period, these foods are a must for your next shopping run.

Add the Essentials: Frozen Meats or Meat-Like Products

Depending on whether you happily eat meat, or if you’re a vegan or vegetarian, stocking up on your favourite meats or meat-like products and freezing a supply that could last your household for a number of months is the next consideration you should have.

These foods provide a wide range of nutritional benefits, and the protein found in these products can assist in keeping your and your family feeling full for longer after eating.

Essential meats to consider may be frozen seafood, self-frozen red meats and chicken, and frozen mince or sausages if you’d like to keep to a budget when stocking up.

Vegans and vegetarians should stock up on any meat-like products that will help you to create a diverse range of meals over the course of weeks or months if needed.

Bring Some Creativity: Variations of Essential Foods

Now you may have to get a bit creative, depending on the situation where you live and the kinds of foods you’d like to eat.

Milk is a staple that may be useful for a number of dishes, and for a bowl of muesli or cereal if you’re in a pinch. That’s not to mention milk’s role in the most important consideration of them all: keeping the coffee flowing!

To get through any period of isolation though, it might be a smart move to stock up on shelf-stable milk that can last for months if needed.

Another variation of a key food that’s worth considering is stocking up on nut butter, which contains the beneficial fats and proteins of nuts, but that typically is cheaper, takes up less space, and is easier to store for long periods of time.

Make ‘Em Smile: A Few Nice Touches to Remember

In the midst of all of this crazy, it’s important to remember that the little things can make all the difference.

Stocking up on rice and meat is a no brainer, but if you’re in self-quarantine and all you have are the staples then get ready for eating to feel more like a chore than a time for enjoyment and refreshment.

Frozen berries with full fat coconut cream is a great treat, and at the same time isn’t going to cost the world to stock up in bulk.

Coconut cream is full of good fats and will last for a long time when tinned, and frozen berries provide healthy sugars that taste good, but that are some of the lowest GI fruits and low calories.

For something a little bit special to drink during a prolonged lockdown, consider stocking up on cocoa powder and stevia or sugar, and mixing those together with a dash of milk and hot water to create a cheap long-life hot chocolate.

The Last Word: Self-Quarantine Meal Planning

Whatever is coming over the horizon, it’s important to be prepared for having to self-quarantine for weeks or months at a time.

There are plenty of other interesting foods that would be ideal for situations like this, but these are some of the essentials that will allow your family to keep well nourished, while also maintaining a good degree of variation and diversity of flavors.