My Healthy Quarantine Shopping List

One athlete’s list of pantry supplies to ensure healthy food choices if you’re in coronavirus lockdown

Photo: YinYang/Getty Images

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ItIt appears we all must prepare for the arrival of a pandemic if we haven’t already. So, what does preparation look like? One strongly recommended measure is to prepare to be self-reliant for meals and to anticipate possible food shortages.

To my mind, that means a healthy grocery list is in order.

Thinking through what this sort of list might look like, I dissected all the survival and emergency kits I could find. Most were filled with unhealthy foods. If we wind up on a lockdown due to coronavirus, we’ll already be in need of safeguarding our health. Why would we willingly make that task harder by making poor food choices? Ideally, we wouldn’t.

This grocery list has been adapted from what I ate as a professional athlete, and what fueled my self-supported 3,905-mile bicycle ride across the United States in 2019. There is no lack of nutrition here. I also considered shelf stability and broke the list into dry goods, perishables, and household necessities.

A Healthy Pandemic Grocery List


  • Black
  • Garbanzo
  • Cannellini


  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Lentils

Nuts and butters

  • Almond butter
  • Cashew butter
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Chia seeds

Items to freeze and frozen items

  • Bread
  • Berries
  • Bananas
  • Mangos
  • Avocados
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Peas

Other necessities

  • Canned fruits
  • Pasta
  • Chips
  • Crackers
  • Dried fruits
  • Oatmeal
  • Popcorn
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Veggie bouillon cubes
  • Nutrition bars

Oils and sauces

  • Olive oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Honey
  • Date syrup
  • Hot sauce
  • White wine vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • BBQ sauce
  • Red pasta sauce
  • Chili paste
  • Tamari
  • Soy sauce
  • Tahini


  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne
  • Garlic
  • Rosemary

These are all items you can get today (if things are business as usual where you live) and keep in your pantry.

You’ll notice I didn’t include flours, powdered milks, powdered eggs, or candy to this list—and that’s because I don’t see any of these items as adding value to your health.

I also advise stocking up on the following fresh items.


  • Raisins
  • Dates
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Mango
  • Berries
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Bagged greens
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Pickles
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots

Most of these items will go bad after two weeks, but it will be comforting to have fresh foods for the first weeks of any lockdown. Plus, items like sweet potatoes stay fresh for a long time, avocados can be purchased unripe and take weeks to ripen, and most fruits, especially berries and bananas, can be frozen.

Finally, here are my suggested household items.

Household Items

  • Toilet paper
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Fluoride rinse
  • Dish soap
  • Hand soap
  • Reusable plastic bags (to freeze items)
  • Tupperware
  • Menstruation products
  • Pet food

If you have a pantry, great: Be sure to stock it. And if you don’t, just make sure to keep all items out of direct sunlight; at room temperature; and free of mold, pests, and moisture, and you’ll be good to go.

I hope no one reading this list ever has to use it for lockdown purposes and instead, it simply becomes a great resource. But, if COVID-19 does force you into isolation, hopefully, this prep list reduces some of your stress.

The coronavirus outbreak is rapidly evolving. To stay informed, check the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as your local health department for updates. If you’re feeling emotionally overwhelmed, reach out to the Crisis Text Line.

Rode a bike across America, wrote about it. Went sober, wrote about it. Built RICKiRICKi, wrote about it. Is a human, writing about it | Cr3ate @

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