You don’t have to be a prepper to survive a quarantine or another emergency, but according to FEMA, it’s a good idea to always stock enough food and other supplies to feed and care for your family for a minimum of two weeks.
30-Day Supply of Meds
To cut down on trips to the pharmacy, the Red Cross suggests obtaining a 30-day supply of prescription drugs and other medications your family uses. This includes over-the-counter pain relievers, cold medicines, fever reducers, and any other meds anyone in the family takes on a regular basis. Check your current store of multivitamins and protein powders as well to ensure you don’t run out.
Most people don’t have an unlimited amount of space in the freezer, so the foods you select should be nutrient-dense while still reflecting your family’s tastes. Stock a one- to two-week supply of animal or vegetable proteins, such as seafood, chicken, veggie burgers, and meat substitutes, and don’t forget to include frozen fruit and berries.
Opt for long-lasting refrigerated foods, such as eggs, cabbage, hard cheeses, carrots, bacon, deli meats, cooked sausages, and yogurt when stocking up for an extended stay at home. If your family is agreeable, switch to almond or oat milk, both of which last longer in the fridge (up to two weeks) than dairy milk, which can go bad in a week or less.
When stocking nonperishables, focus first on the essentials, such as baby food and infant formula. Other good choices include shelf-stable milk, oatmeal packets, granola, and snacks like crackers and popcorn. Stock a variety of canned vegetables and fruits; these can last for months or years on the shelf.
Related: Storage Sanity: 15 Ways to Organize a Pantry
Fresh foods are healthy and delicious, but if your goal is to visit the grocery store only once every two weeks, skip items that go bad quickly, such as bananas and tomatoes. Instead, stock up on longer-lasting fruits and veggies, including potatoes (store in a cool place), apples, oranges, hard-shell squash (such as butternut or acorn), onions, sweet potatoes, and shelled peanuts.
Even when you run low on other food supplies, if you have a good stock of dry staples you can still prepare meals and treats for yourself and your family. Staples include flour, sugar, shortening, cooking oil, powdered milk, powdered eggs, and dried pasta. Don’t forget to include nutrient- and fiber-dense staples like quinoa, brown rice, and dried beans, and you’ll have plenty to eat during your stay at home. Your food stores should reflect your family’s tastes, though. It won’t help to buy six bags of dried beans if your family won’t eat them.
Related: 14 Pantry Goods That Basically Never Expire
Like their human counterparts, pets should have a 30-day supply of their medications during an extended stay at home, and they also need a two-week supply of their regular food. Don’t forget cat litter, wee-wee pads (if applicable), and a generous quantity of pet treats to keep your fur babies happy, healthy, and engaged during this time.
During a pandemic, it’s essential to control germs and viruses in the home. When shopping for cleaners, look for the words “disinfectant” or “kills germs” on the label. Buy enough disinfecting wipes so you can keep a container in the kitchen and one in each bathroom for quick wipe downs. Remember that bleach is also a disinfectant and can be used in place of ready-made cleaners. Always be sure to follow safety tips when using bleach.
Related: 7 Cleaners That the EPA Recommends Against the Coronavirus
Personal Hygiene Supplies
If you have a young child, the last thing you want during an extend stay at home is to run out of diapers. You’ll also need personal hygiene items for each family member, so check your supplies of bath and shower essentials like baby wipes, soap, shampoo, and body wash as well as toilet paper, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, shaving supplies, and feminine hygiene products to make sure you have enough to last two weeks.
A Full Tank of Gas
While gasoline supply lines are rarely disrupted, if you’re practicing social distancing it’s a good idea to fill your car’s tank so you don’t get caught short if you need to make a trip to the doctor or the grocery store during your stay at home. You may not need to use it, but simply having a full tank will give you peace of mind.
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