LiveBest: How to prepare for quarantine
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LiveBest: How to prepare for quarantine

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We may think we’re immune from Coronavirus but a friend of mine is in self-imposed quarantine. She stayed at the wrong hotel. The one someone with coronavirus had stayed in. So for two weeks she’s staying put.

That could mean she’s binge watching “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” or “Schitt’s Creek.” But she also has to eat.

As COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus, becomes more prevalent in the U.S., I’ve been getting questions about how to prepare for quarantine. On the food side, stocking up can help ease stress but also reduces your number of trips to the store, and keep you closer to home.

I’m stocking up on the same foods I normally buy, but just want to make sure I have what I need on hand. I know I can make several healthful meals with these foods in the house.

  • Canned beans, tuna, salmon, tomatoes, broth, pasta sauce, salsa
  • Pasta, oatmeal, cereal, popcorn
  • Frozen vegetables, fruit, fish, chicken, and beef
  • Eggs, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, and milk (plus some shelf stable milk)
  • Carrots, cabbage, onions, sweet potatoes (these last longer than some vegetables)
  • Apples, oranges, grapefruit, bananas, and some dried fruit
  • Nuts, seeds, peanut butter
  • Chocolate chips, flour, butter, sugar. I’m sure if I’m quarantined, I’ll bake cookies and bread.
  • Your favorite snacks. We might be quarantined but we don’t have to suffer.
  • Pet food
  • Soap

It’s all about the plan. Can you double a recipe this week to stash extra in the freezer? Can you make some chicken soup? Might help should you get any flu.

Coronavirus is a respiratory virus — it is not considered to be a foodborne illness by the CDC or the FDA — but similar actions to prevent foodborne illness can be taken to minimize the risk of contracting coronavirus.

As you shop in a store, receive groceries at your doorstep, or prepare meals at home, these are the steps you can take to reduce your risk.

1. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water.

2. Ensure counters, appliances, and equipment are regularly cleaned and sanitized. Bacteria that can cause illness can survive in many places around your kitchen. Keep countertops and other kitchen surfaces clean to prevent cross-contamination.

  • Clean surfaces with hot water and soap to remove dirt and debris. Do this after preparing each food item and before going on to the next food item.
  • Keep your fridge clean, too: Wipe spills immediately and regularly clean the inside with hot water and liquid soap. Dry with paper towels.
  • After cleaning, you may sanitizer surfaces as an extra precaution to kill germs. Use a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented liquid chlorine bleach and 1 gallon of water. Apply to surfaces, and allow to stand for several minutes. Air dry or pat dry with fresh paper towels.

3. Stay home from work when sick or when a family member is sick.

4. Scrub and rinse produce under running water (warm or cold) to help remove germs or contaminates from the surface.

Judy Barbe is a registered dietitian, speaker and author.

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