Diabetes Forecast

COVID-19 Grocery List: What to Stock Up On

These essentials will have you eating healthy while minimizing your trips to the grocery store


As part of social distancing to limit the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), you’re trying to limit the number of times you leave the house. But you’ve still got to eat. Instead of making frequent trips to the supermarket, stock up on shelf-stable essentials that will last a week or two. (And consider buying online via grocery delivery services such as Peapod, Instacart, or Walmart Grocery.)

While making your grocery list, keep in mind: Balanced eating is important now more than ever.

Social distancing has likely affected your regular eating and exercise routine, which could make it more difficult to keep your blood glucose in goal range. Aim for a mix of protein, complex carbohydrates (think whole grains, sweet potatoes, and beans), and healthy fats (from sources such as olive oil, avocadoes, nuts, and seeds).

Be extra mindful of portion sizes and try to stock up on good-for-you snacks, such as celery with peanut butter and low-fat microwave popcorn.  Skip the chips, cookies, and other junk food.

COVID-19: What Can I Eat? from American Diabetes Association on Vimeo.

For the Refrigerator

  • Fresh produce with a medium shelf life, such as cabbage, bagged salad greens, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, beets (remove the greens; they’ll last longer), apples, and citrus fruits.
  • Low-fat milk
  • No-sugar-added yogurt
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Meal replacement beverages, such as Boost or Glucerna, in case you can’t eat solid foods
  • Jell-O (the sugar-free version makes for a good sick-day snack if your glucose is normal, while Jell-O with added sugar can raise low blood glucose)
  • 100 percent fruit juice (in case of lows)

For the Freezer

  • Frozen vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, edamame, or green beans
  • Frozen fruits (try them in smoothies)
  • Meat, fish, and poultry

If your local store is sold out of frozen fruits and veggies, you can always buy fresh produce and freeze it yourself. Dice fruit or vegetables, place in a freezer-safe zip-close bag, and store in the freezer. Some veggies freeze better after a quick cook; boil vegetables such as broccoli and spinach for one to two minutes, plunge into ice water, drain well, and freeze.

You can also freeze fresh meat, poultry, and fish. Wrap the meat in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to avoid freezer burn, or store in an airtight freezer bag.

Here’s another trick: Buy an extra loaf of whole-grain bread, and store it in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat, thaw in the refrigerator.

For the Pantry

  • Produce with a long shelf life, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic, onions, winter squash, and melons
  • Whole grains, including popcorn, pasta, brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal
  • Pasta sauce
  • Canned protein, such as tuna, salmon, or chicken (packed in water, not oil)
  • Canned vegetables (buy low-sodium or no-salt-added products)
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Canned fruit (packed in water or 100 percent juice, not syrup)
  • Canned soup (low sodium)
  • Dry beans and lentils
  • Nuts and nut butter
  • Tea
  • Saltine crackers (save for sick days!)
  • Broth (low sodium)
  • Cooking staples, such as olive oil, dried herbs and spices, vinegar, soy sauce, and other condiments

The ingredients above will help you prepare balanced meals for yourself and your family. Visit Diabetes Food Hub for a list of delicious recipes.

For more information on COVID-19, visit the American Diabetes Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sources: American Diabetes Association; Joslin Diabetes Center



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