Stockpiling food: food to stock up on in an emergency

In light of the coronavirus outbreak, many people are being told to self-isolate

stockpiling food

Having to self-isolate because of the coronavirus outbreak? These are the foods you should stock up on to still be able to make healthy, nutritious and tasty meals while inside.

If you're having to start stockpiling food as the country is dealing with the coronavirus, it's important to know what to buy. Many people have been advised to self-isolate as the coronavirus, otherwise known as Covid-19, affects more people every day.

According to the BBC, anyone who has a "new, continuous" cough or a high temperature should self-isolate for seven days. This comes as the government announced its plans to "delay" an epidemic of the virus until the summer months, so the NHS would better be able to cope.

MORE: Everything you need to know about coronavirus - including how to self isolate

The same rule of self-isolation applies if you've recently returned from a "high-risk" country, such as Italy or China.

But self-isolation is a new thing for many of us, having not experienced such drastic measures being taken to combat a virus outbreak, and with so much news about the virus it can be difficult to know what to do.

If you are having to self-isolate, it’s not the end of the world. It's important to stay calm and follow procedures about cooking and sharing spaces with other people. Part of this includes not leaving the house and having food delivered to your door by one of the many supermarket delivery services available, like Tesco or Asda. And make sure your cupboard is stocked full of these store cupboard essentials.

Credit: Getty

So what should you order? Remember a lot of these recipes you can make in bulk and freeze to ensure you they last longer.

If you have to self-isolate due to the coronavirus, these are the foods you should start stocking up on...

  • Sliced bread

Bread isn't just a great addition to lots of meals like soup or salad, it can be eaten for breakfast for toast or as an afternoon snack.

It also freezes really well. Make sure it's sliced so you can easily just take out what you need. As well as sandwiches and French toast, you could try your hand at more complicated recipes like bread and butter pudding!

  • Frozen and tinned fruit

You might think that tinned or frozen fruit is not as nutritious as the fresh alternative and there have been a few studies exploring this. The findings suggest that although frozen foods lose fewer nutrients when they are packaged compared to tinned fruit, they lose nutrients when boiling them. There are plenty of things we bet you didn't know you could freeze.

However, they are still significantly healthier for you than no fruit at all. Since fresh fruit will go-off quickly, this is the best alternative.

Credit: TI Media Limited

This frozen Eton mess is a go-to dessert recipe, combining frozen fruit and fresher ingredient to make a unique treat that the whole family will love.

  • Tinned beans, chickpeas and lentils

If you're stockpiling food because of the coronavirus, one of your first go-tos should be baked beans and lentils, as they are perfect for stocking up. They're also really healthy and full of lots of vitamin and minerals you'll need, plus they'll keep you full for ages.

Our favourite baked bean-inspired dish is this crispy jacket potato with cheesy topped beans recipe. It's great for the whole family, as everyone loves baked beans and you can stockpile lots of cans, as they're only small.

Heinz Baked Beans also come in lots of different combinations - available with less sugar and salt than normal, and with small hotdogs.

Chickpeas are an essential in home cooking. You can make tasty meals like this quick chickpea and sweet potato curry, or filling side dishes, such as hummus to go with fresh (or frozen!) pitta breads. Perfect for lunches and easy dinners!

  • Frozen ice lollies, choc ices and packets of jelly

Whether it’s for an after-dinner treat or a late-night snack, frozen ice lollies and jelly are great because they’re really easy to eat and provide some diversity in a diet that might be more limited than usual.

There are so many great jelly recipes out there, but we think this pink sparkle jelly is especially lovely!

And for the grown ups, why not try these...

In summer time: Pimm’s jelly

To use up left-over alcohol: Port jelly with orange

  • Tea and coffee

If you ran out of coffee (or tea!) during self-isolation, it would be sure to be a whole lot worse. So avoid a caffeine-withdrawal meltdown and stock-up on your favourite teas and coffee products. Whether that’s instant or ground, it will last for ages in the cupboard.

Credit: Getty

If stockpiling food items like tea and coffee during the coronavirus outbreak means you have loads left afterwards, why not use it in baking? This coffee and walnut cake is one of our favourite recipes, and goes amazingly with a cup of tea in the afternoon.

  • Pints of milk (suggest freezing) and/or powered milk

For many people, milk-based products make up a large amount of their diet. Whether that’s in cereal, tea and coffee, for making sauces or baking.

Stockpiling milk is also really easy if you have a freezer, as it can last for ages and just be used as and when it’s needed. This is especially good if you use cow’s milk alternatives, like oat or soya milk.

If you're looking to do some baking, you can make delicious scones or pancakes, muffins or even banana break with buttermilk.

Here's how you can make buttermilk from scratch...

Food hack: How to make buttermilk

  • Eggs

When stockpiling food, especially with the recent coronavirus outbreak, we might not think of eggs as a good product to stock up on. But eggs actually last a lot longer than we think.

With proper storage, eggs can last between 3-5 weeks in the fridge. So stock-up on this breakfast essential!

Credit: Jamie Oliver/ TI Media Limited

Recipes like scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and cheese and spicy beef tortillas will be sure to occupy your mind while you're in self-isolation and provide you a delicious and healthy meal, packed with protein.

  • Ketchup and other condiments

Just because you’re self-isolating doesn’t mean you should miss out on condiments to jazz up your food. Ketchup and many other sauces can last for literally years in your cupboard, due to the amount of preservatives they contain. A good thing in this case!

  • Spices and oils

Again, you don’t want to miss out on the best flavours in your food because you can’t nip out to the shops to pick up a spice you’re missing. So instead, stock up in advance with all the oils and spices you think you might need.

If you're a fan of spice, why not check out this spicy chicken tray bake? Or this spicy sausage rice?

  • Dried fruit

Dried fruit is not only a tasty and healthy snack, it's great in cakes, flapjacks and muffins too and has a great shelf life lasting longer than fresh fruit.

It's especially ideal if you've run out of fresh fruit, or looking to conserve what you have. Just add a handful in your breakfast or use in your favourite cake mixture.

For an extra treat, add some chocolate and make them into millionaire flapjacks - because you deserve a treat.

Credit: TI Media Limited
  • Frozen staples

If you're stockpiling food in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, frozen staples like fish fingers and sausages are great as they're a super quick and easy fix for for any meal. They can also be used in lots of recipes to make meals for more than one person.

We’ve got lots of recipes for sausages, like this delicious smoked sausage and bean casserole - ideal if you're looking to feed the whole family, and you might even have some left for later!

  • Ready-made meals

You might not be so keen on full-formed ready meals like pastas, curries and pizzas. They're often full of more sugar, salt and fats than you want to be eating. But if you're stuck for choice or ideas, then ready meals can be real lifesavers. There's nothing wrong with having one every so often!

Of course, serve them with a healthy side of salad and you're still getting the vitamins and minerals you need.

  • Alcohol

Everyone who drinks loves a tipple, especially at the weekend.

Self-isolation shouldn’t change this, and if you’re not suffering with any symptoms, there’s nothing wrong with having a drink.

You could even use an already-open bottle of wine to make a cheesecake?

So be sure to stock up on your favourite wines, beers and spirits so you can maintain your Friday night festivities.

Grace Walsh
Features Writer

Grace Walsh is a health and wellbeing writer, working across the subjects of family, relationships, and LGBT topics, as well as sleep and mental health. A digital journalist with over six years  experience as a writer and editor for UK publications, Grace is currently Health Editor for and has also worked with Cosmopolitan, Red, The i Paper, GoodtoKnow, and more. After graduating from the University of Warwick, she started her career writing about the complexities of sex and relationships, before combining personal hobbies with professional and writing about fitness.