This scenario seems to be part of the “new normal,” as the mainstream media calls it nowadays. And while it has taken a pandemic to convince people to finally start stockpiling as preppers have done for years, the country is on the brink of an economic recession, so you might need to be smart with money as early as possible, even when it comes to stockpiling essentials.
Here is a list of emergency foods to stock up on that won't burn a hole in your pocket. (h/t to AllRecipes.com)
Beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein. Unlike meat, fish and poultry, beans store well, especially when dried. They are also rich in dietary fiber that provides several health benefits linked to digestion, metabolism and heart health. Plus, beans are extremely versatile, as they can be sprouted, ground to make flour or added to soups and stews.
Stock up on whole grains like quinoa, barley, wheat and brown rice. Like beans, whole grains are an incredibly nutritious source of fiber and good carbohydrates that support metabolism. Whole grains rarely go bad either, especially when kept inside an airtight container. They also offer an inexpensive way to keep bellies full.
Don't forget to grab plenty of garlic and onions. These bulb vegetables are essential kitchen ingredients, and you can use them to flavor just about anything. They also store well when kept inside the fridge. Don't store them in plastic bags to avoid mold and rotten bulbs -- they do better with airflow.
Root vegetables like potatoes, turnips, beets and carrots are inexpensive, and they can last for a good week or so when stored in a cool, dry area with good ventilation. As a rule, don't wash vegetables until you need to prepare them. Water and humidity can make root vegetables sprout and rot quickly.
Cabbage, celery, Brussels sprouts and broccoli provide important vitamins and minerals, and they can last a good while when stored properly. Just wrap each vegetable in aluminum foil and store it inside the fridge. Trim wilted leaves and don't store vegetables that have visible scars to prevent spoilage.
Be sure to grab a couple of stocks and broths, which are often available in cartons. These will help you save money in the long run, and they also cut down prep time in the kitchen. Look for low-sodium variants as well since these are the easiest to build on when it comes to flavor.
Like stocks and broths, pre-made pasta sauce saves you time, energy and money. They are also shelf-stable essentials to have in an emergency stockpile. However, opt for the ones stored in glass jars or Mason jars to avoid potential contamination of bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone disruptor found in the lining of canned foods.
You can't always rely on bakeries and supermarkets for fresh bread, especially amid a pandemic. Stockpile essential baking supplies like baking powder, baking soda and whole wheat flour. You can also save more money in the long run when you bake your own bread compared to regularly buying loaves from the store.
Don't skimp on oil since you'll use it every time you cook. Opt for healthy and budget-friendly oils like peanut oil, sesame oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil and coconut oil. Healthy oils also give you heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which you can also get from fresh fish.
Nuts provide protein and essential nutrients that help boost metabolism and energy production. They are also clean sources of calories and omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, nuts are highly versatile foods. Some good choices to stock up on include almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts and pistachios. Store them in the fridge and they should be good for a few weeks.
Don't forget to stock up on coffee beans as well if you like to drink coffee every day. If you're more of a tea person, then grab enough loose leaf pouches to last you a week or two. It's best to avoid packaged tea bags since those contain processed tea leaves with little to no nutrients.
Eggs are a good alternative to meat sources of protein. As a highly versatile food, they can be cooked in several ways. Plus, they tend to store very well in the fridge, so go ahead and buy several cartons at a time. (Related: Eggs in a basket: 10 Methods for preserving eggs.)
Not all fruits store well even when kept inside the fridge. Fortunately, vitamin C-rich citrus fruits are an exception to this. Regular consumption of citrus fruits help enhance immune functions and ward off viral infections, so stock up on oranges, lemons, grapefruits and clementines.
A balanced diet full of nutritious foods doesn't exactly sound like a priority, especially in the middle of a pandemic, but it is extremely important to stay healthy as much as possible. This way, you have a strong chance of recovery in case you come into contact with disease-causing viruses. That said, it doesn't hurt to be mindful of price tags and budgets in the face of a potential economic recession.