On April 2, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued a statewide “Shelter in Place” order to slow down the spread of Covid-19 (Coronavirus). “Shelter in Place” means stay inside of a home or living quarters.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to decrease the spread of the virus is to limit face to face contact with individuals by practicing social distancing. Some of these practices include maintaining a distance of at least six feet from other individuals and staying away from mass gatherings.
These practices may change one’s grocery shopping habits. Alicia Montgomery, Fort Valley State University’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) program assistant for Macon County, provides information about what foods to shop for to help limit trips to the grocery store.
“I have been referring my clients to food trucks in their respective communities because the stores are running low on food,” Montgomery said. These trucks, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), are stocked with canned goods such as tuna, soups and vegetables. Inside these rolling grocery stores, a variety of meats including roasts, pork chops, chicken, and sausages are available along with bread, eggs, juices and peanut butter.
She said if fresh fruits and vegetables are not available, frozen foods will be the next best choice. However, if fresh foods are available, oranges, apples, pears, onions, carrots, potatoes and squash possess long storage life. “Meats and dairy products can be purchased for immediate use or frozen to be consumed later,” the EFNEP program assistant said.
“Dried fruits, nuts, seeds, rice and shelf stable meat like beef jerky can provide efficient sources of energy and other nutrition. They can also be stored for long periods of time,” Montgomery said.
Below are some tips Montgomery suggests for shopping during the “Shelter in Place” order to avoid excessive trips to the grocery store.
- Purchase shelf stable items that can safely be stored at room temperature. Dried or canned beans like pinto, kidney or split peas are good choices. Canned vegetables with no added salt such as tomatoes, corn or green beans are also appropriate. Remember to rinse any canned vegetables to remove excess sodium.
- Purchase plant-based items such as nuts, seeds and butters derived from nuts. Dried herbs and spices, raisins, figs, prunes and apricots are also good choices. Buy oils, pasta, sugar, rice, oats and flours as well.
- Purchase cans of fish, chicken or ham. Remember all canned meats are not shelf stable and these are marked “keep refrigerated”.
- Purchase available frozen vegetables. Consider cauliflower and brussels sprouts. Frozen seafood is also an option. Frozen berries and cherries are also appropriate choices.
Some foods can be portioned and stored in individual containers for freezing. These include casseroles, soups, breads and muffins that can be stored for two to three months with no huge loss in quality. Montgomery also suggests stocking up on cereals high in fiber.
For more information about food shopping during social distancing or quarantines, contact Montgomery at 478-391-4743 (email@example.com) or visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service website at fsis.usda.gov.