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Food Planning During the Coronavirus Pandemic


During a pandemic, you can take extra precautions to keep yourself and your family safe, including ensuring you have everything you need at home. This guide contains information on food planning, including what to buy, how much to buy, and how to prepare.

Check what you have at home first.

Look at the foods you already have in your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry; be sure to check expiration dates and consumption deadlines. This can help you plan your meals based on what you already have and limit the number of trips to the grocery store and avoid spending money on items you don’t need.

Make a shopping list.

Purchases can be more stressful at this time. Make a list in advance to stay focused, get the items you need, and run short runs. As stores may not have specific things, create a menu with general items such as “fruit” or “bread.”

Explore your buying options

Many grocery stores offer in-store pickup, curbside collection, or delivery. There are also third-party delivery options for grocery stores. These services can be useful to you during periods of social remoteness. If you’re older, check if your store delivers or has advanced opening hours for older Americans only.

How much do I have to buy?

Buy what you and your family need at the moment, and resist the urge to buy in much larger quantities. Prepare a shopping list that will cover you and all members of your household for two weeks.

Include fresh, frozen and non-perishable items

Plan a mix of fresh, frozen, and long-lasting foods. Eat your fresh food first. Fill your freezer and pantry with food that you can eat from the second week.

What foods should I buy?

Choose a blend of fresh, frozen, and long-lasting foods. Pasta, rice, legumes, nut butter, dry products, and preserves are examples of long-preserved foods. Frozen foods are bread, meat, vegetables, fruit, and even milk. With fresh food, buy a variety of quantities that you would typically buy. Remember to consider the unique needs of all family members, including pets, infants, or people with dietary restrictions.

What should I prepare?

While everyone is at home, you may want to try a new recipe or experiment with new flavors to keep things interesting. For others, sticking to simple items or familiar foods and tastes brings some comfort. Plan what works for you and your family.

Access to food during school closure

Many school districts across the country continue to provide meals to students in need during school closures. Learn about local programs in your area, such as Meals to You. Contact your local school for meals that may be available through fast food systems, takeaway meal pickups, or school bus lines.

Additional food planning resources:

1.Tips for each aisle : 

You can find fruits and vegetables in the production compartment, frozen foods, and canned and pantry food aisles. Compare prices to find the best purchases.

  • Buy “seasonal” products. Usually, they are cheaper and are at the peak of their taste. Buy only what you can use before it’s spoiled. For more information, check out SNAP-Ed Connection’s Seasonal Product Guide.
  • Try to buy canned food. Choose fruit preserves in 100% fruit juice and vegetables with “low sodium” or “no salt” on the label. These foods are no less nutritious than fresh ones and are often cheaper.
  • If you have a freezer, buy frozen vegetables without adding sauces or butter. They are as good for you as fresh ones and can cost less.
  • Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables last much longer than fresh ones, which is a quick way to add fruits and vegetables to your food.
  • For an excellent resource for healthy and affordable foods, take a look at the “Smart Vegetable and Fruit Shopping” section.

Find grains in many places in the store, including bread, cereals, snacks, and pasta and rice passages.

  • Make half the grains intact. Throughout the store, check the lists of ingredients and first select those items that have whole grains.
  • The whole grain includes whole wheat, brown rice, bulgur, buckwheat, oatmeal, whole grain corn flour, oats and whole rye.
  • Rice and pasta are budget options for grain.
  • Choose hot cereals such as regular oatmeal or dry whole grains.
  • Try new whole grain snacks, such as switching to whole grain crackers or popcorn.
  • For more information on cereals, check out the “Choice of Whole Grain Products” section.

Find protein products all over the store. They can be found in a fresh meat box, in the frozen food section, in a milk box, as well as in canning and pantry aisles.

  • Some excellent inexpensive foods include beans and peas such as kidney beans, crushed peas and lentils. Use these good sources of protein for basic or side dish dishes. Beans and peas cost much less than a similar number of other protein products.
  • To reduce the cost of meat, buy a package of family size or cost and freeze what you don’t use. Choose lean meat, such as chicken or turkey.
  • When choosing minced beef, make sure it is low-fat (at least 93%).
  • Seafood doesn’t have to be expensive. Try to buy canned tuna, salmon or sardines – they are well stored and are a cheap option.
  • Don’t forget the eggs! This is a great inexpensive option that is easy to cook.
  • For more tips on choosing a healthy protein, see your protein option.

Find dairy products in refrigeration and storage aisles.

  • Choose low-fat milk or fat-free milk. They produce the same amount of calcium, but fewer calories than whole milk and 2% milk.
  • Buy regular low-fat yogurt in larger sizes instead of individual flavored yogurt. Then add your own flavor by mixing it with fruit.
  • When it comes to cheese, look for “reduced fat” or “low-fat” on the label.
  • Always check the sale by date to make sure you are buying the freshest dairy products.
  • See “Today you have dairy products”? To find out more.


  • Drink water instead of buying soda or other sugary drinks. Tap water fits easily on the wallet and does not contain calories. A bottle of reusable water is a great way to get water on the road.
  • Save time, money and calories by skipping chips and cookies.
  • Choose a cash register track without candy, especially if you have children with you.

2. Sample 2-week menu :

This sample of the 2-week menu can be used by anyone or family who wants to follow a healthy diet at a modest price. The menu is designed to meet nutritional needs within budget.

  • All recipes require only kitchen equipment, which most people have.
  • Lunches are designed for packaging so that they can be taken with you to work or school. Some dinners use leftover recipes prepared for dinner the night before.
  • Menu items can be moved between dishes, for example, swap a banana for breakfast for an orange for an appetizer. Snacks are available at any time of the day.<.li>
  • Meals can be moved according to the family schedule, for example, to change lunch for dinner.

3. Get Plate Plan

Activities for families at home:

  • MyPlate: Activities to do with children

Activities and documents to print to encourage the whole family to make healthier choices.

Make your way through all the food groups with these fun games and activities.

Contact information:

For solutions to the feeding of children affected by COVID-19, email [email protected]


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