The general situation in relation to the CODVID-19 coronavirus crisis is significantly worrying the population of the entire planet. In fact, in recent days, we have seen how some Spanish supermarkets have been razed by masses of consumers willing to purchase huge quantities of food, an event that has also been replicated in other European establishments.
Despite being exaggerated buying behaviors and that are not necessary given the current situation, the truth is that it is convenient to be informed about which foods would be the highest priority when a real quarantine situation due to coronavirus, strictly based on nutritional and food safety issues.
We must prioritize non-perishable food
Of course, foods that require cold to preserve they should be less of a priority. This recommendation applies to fresh meat and fish, dairy products, eggs, and any type of food preparation that should be in the refrigerator, such as cold cuts and cold cuts. However, in cases where possible, always we can freeze the food to consume it in later moments.
If for some reason we do not have the possibility of refrigerating food, these recommendations must be even more strict. Consuming perishable food stored outside of the refrigerator can pose a very high risk to our health, since we will be fully exposed to food poisoning. Consequently, whenever possible we should prioritize foods that can be kept at room temperature.
Canned food is key in a quarantine
When facing a period of food shortage, whether it is a quarantine or another similar event, you always have to prioritize those foods that offer us a longer shelf life. That is to say, that they last longer in optimal conditions for consumption without causing diseases after consumption.
Yes, once opened, canned food has a reduced shelf life notably, since they lose their vacuum and are exposed to external agents such as humidity, temperature or light. For this reason, it is essential that we respect the indications shown on the packaging, usually indicated by the phrase: “once opened, keep in the refrigerator and consume within X days”. If we do not have the possibility of storing the food in refrigeration, we must choose to consume it completely once opened or discard the leftovers. We should never store the leftover food to consume in later days.
Further, we must monitor the condition of the container before consuming it. Swollen cans should be discarded immediately, as they could contain Clostridium botulinum, a dangerous bacteria capable of producing botulinum toxin with fatal consequences for human health.
We must also take care of nutritional needs
In a period as delicate as a quarantine, the consumption of healthy foods could be pushed into the background. However, we must remember that the intake of macronutrients, vitamins and minerals is essential to maintain an optimal state of health, so we should not neglect the nutritional aspect.
Protein rich foods
We find canned legumes, such as chickpeas, lentils and beans, an excellent option to meet our protein needs in a healthy way. In addition, these preserves can last up to 4 years in perfect condition, compared to the 1-year shelf life that dried legumes can offer. Equally, both options are fully recommended during a quarantine period of a few days.
Another protein choice of interest is canned fish, such as cans of tuna, salmon or sardines. If we look at the duration of these products, we observe that could last up to 6 years in perfect consumption conditions.
Without a doubt, olive oil itself is a very valuable resource that would serve as a source of quality in terms of fats during a possible quarantine. To extend its duration, we must try store it out of reach of sunlight, as fats can oxidize and rancid, resulting in a poorer quality of the oil.
Other dry foods such as seeds and nuts are also very interesting options that have a long shelf life and provide us with good quality fats nutritional.
Foods rich in carbohydrates
Within this group, dry foods, such as flours, pasta and cereals such as rice, stand out mainly. Whenever we can, it is interesting to prioritize whole grain varieties over those that are refined.
Its duration is not as long as in the case of preserves, however they will provide us with carbohydrates in sufficient quantities to withstand possible periods of food shortage, and will be more than enough for a quarantine a few weeks at our address.
Foods rich in vitamins and minerals
Canned vegetables are postulated as one of the best resources in case of quarantine, since they allow us to have a wide variety of healthy foods with a fairly high shelf life.
A sufficient combination of vegetables, such as peppers, corn, pickles or artichokes can provide us with a large amount of vitamins and minerals necessary in our diet.
Dried foods: a long-lasting technological option
Another group of foods that we can store in case of quarantine are those that have completely lost their water composition through a technological process: dried foods. For example, dried fruit such as dried apricots, dates or figs, or even protein powder.
When we speak of dried foods, we are not referring to foods that have a naturally low water activity, such as nuts, but to foods that have been subjected to dehydration processes to get rid of the water within its composition, as can happen with powdered milk – where the exact name of the technique used is atomization.
This causes the useful life of the food to be considerably lengthened, since it becomes an element where microorganisms have great difficulties to develop due to the absence of water.
Other similar products that we can store, even if they are not dried foods as such, could be cookies, energy bars and in general, easy handling and transport products. This type of format is quite frequent in military maneuvers, since it is essential to offer the soldiers the greatest possible facilities in terms of obtaining nutrients and energy.
It is possible to eat healthy in a quarantine
Despite what it might seem at first glance, there are many healthy foods that can be consumed in a quarantine period without major complications.
Food technology makes it possible, among other things, to supply food in perfect sanitary conditions for long periods of time. Also, luckily, we find more and more healthy durable food options in the supermarket.
In Vitónica | The five foods that cause the most food poisoning
Images | iStock and Envato Elements