Pantry essentials you actually should be stocking up on

Alyssa Tria
Shopping Editor

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As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc, Canadians are being told to take precautions to stay healthy and prevent the potential spread of any illness. Whether that be working remotely, social distancing or self-isolation, the Ministry of Health encourages everyone to do their part by changing regular behaviours and routines to reduce exposure to crowded places and to stay at home whenever possible to reduce the risk of infections. This, of course, includes doing your grocery and household goods shopping at off-peak hours.

But rather than hoarding dozens of rolls of toilet paper and hand sanitizers all in one go, the Public Health Agency of Canada urges shoppers to remain calm and shop smart and strategically in the case of if COVID-19 becomes common in your community.

“It is easier on the supply chain if people gradually build up their household stores instead of making large-scale purchases all at once. To do this, you can add a few extra items to your grocery cart every time you shop,” reads a statement from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

“Your plan should include shopping for supplies that you should have on hand at all times. This will ensure you do not need to leave your home while you are sick or busy caring for an ill family member.”

In the event that you are unable to leave your home to shop for essential items, you’ll want to make sure you have enough shelf-stable, perishable food items and extra goods and staples that’ll last up to or beyond a two-week period.

While stocking up on canned soups and beans isn’t an extensive or appetizing as shopping for your typical weekly meal prep,  Samantha Cassetty, an MS, RD, nutrition and wellness expert with a private practice based in New York City tells Business Insider you can easily find a variety of perishable that are tasty, nutritious and high in energy.

"Ideally, you're looking for shelf-stable foods that pack a nutritional punch," she said. "That means opting for mostly plant-based foods that contain fibre along with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other health- and immune-supporting compounds."

Your shopping list should include items like rice, quinoa, pasta, dried or canned fruits and vegetables, a variety of nuts, and canned soups that are low in sodium. She also says that canned tuna, salmon, and sardines help maintain a protein intake for your quarantine diet as well. Of course, you can always purchase your favourite cuts of meat and keep them in the freezer before preparation.

Below is a basic guide to keep in mind when shopping for your pantry.

Canned and dry goods

Grains and rice


Frozen goods

Long-lasting fruits and vegetables

Nuts and dried fruit

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