Medically reviewed by Susan Kerrigan, MD and Marianne Madsen, University of Utah
Think about it this way: You are stuck on a desert island in the same home you live in now. You have all of the same devices and whatever electricity, gas, and water supplies that you usually have. However, you can’t leave your home for the next two weeks. You have one opportunity to do a bulk shopping spree before this two-week holiday.
So what should you buy? And what is the difference between intelligent bulk buying and panic buying? And how much toilet paper do you really need?
During a pandemic, it is likely that there will be a shortage of fresh fruit and veggies, so it makes sense to stock up on canned and frozen fruit and vegetables. But don’t go crazy with it. If your family has never eaten canned peas and carrots, this is not the time to buy tens of cans–even if you do have storage space at home. Buy things your family actually eats. It’s an excellent time to stock up on some canned soups, which will come in very handy if someone at home gets sick. Chicken noodle is a fabulous choice.
Of course, be sure to get nutrient dense food such as beans, rice, instant potatoes, and hot cereals. Long-lasting non-perishables like pasta and ketchup can keep even the most fussy of your kiddies satisfied.
But don’t forget the snacks–especially if you are cooped up indoors with little kids. Even scientists will tell you that chocolate boosts serotonin, which produces happy feelings. Now is most definitely a time where we need all the feel-good food we can get, so stock up on some of that. It’s also a good idea to add items like energy bars and granola bars to your cart, so you can grab a quick snack without long food prep you may not feel like doing.
Eggs and milk don’t last forever. For those of us who absolutely must have our coffee and/or cereal every morning, be sure to stock up on coffee, tea, cereals, juice boxes, and milk replacements or long-life milk and milk powder.
Ensure that you have supplies of products that you need for keeping your home and clothes clean and for personal hygiene. These include laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dishwasher tablets. Hand sanitizer is vital given the highly contagious rate of COVID-19, but don’t buy every single bottle you can get your hands on. Firstly, you can’t use that amount and secondly, other people who do need it won’t be able to buy it. The same goes for toilet paper and tissues.
Babies & Pets
If you have babies at home, make sure that you have enough baby food, formula, diapers, and wipes. If you have pets, make sure that you have enough pet food too.
In terms of medications, make sure to have at least 2 weeks’ supply of any daily medication you take plus over-the-counter cold and flu meds and painkillers. Definitely get a thermometer if you don’t already have one at home.
Hang in there. As you are reading this, scientists the world over are working furiously to bring us a vaccine. Until then, wash your hands, stay away from others, and keep healthy.