pantry staples

Essential Foods to Stock up on in Times of Crisis

With the world on lockdown, explore the essential pantry staples that every kitchen needs in an emergency. And even in normal times!

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads throughout the world, Americans are heading to grocery stores in droves. In February 2020, Costco saw a 13% increase in sales compared to the same time last year.

In a time when home quarantine is a strong possibility, stocking up on groceries is more important than ever. Having a well-stocked pantry means you won’t need to go out as often

But when you’re used to weekly shopping, planning ahead can be tough. 

pantry staples
Featured Photo by Hannah Tasker on Unsplash

Luckily, there are a few pantry staples that can get you through times of crisis. Read on to learn which foods to add to your emergency food shopping list.

Beans and Legumes

Beans are an affordable and shelf-stable source of protein. Plus, they’re versatile and loaded with fiber to keep you satisfied. 

If money is tight because of the coronavirus pandemic, you might need to use emergency funds to cover your groceries. Beans are a good buy when every dollar counts. 

You can typically find canned beans for a dollar or two per can and dried beans are even cheaper. Canned beans are ready to eat right out of the can, but you have to soak and cook dried beans. 

Look for black beans, chickpeas, cannellini beans, or lentils. You can use black beans in chili and Mexican recipes or on their own with a side of rice. Roasted chickpeas make a great snack or you can puree them to make hummus. 

Lentils offer a unique flavor and texture to any dish. They even make a great meat substitute in bolognese sauces. 

Pasta, Rice and Whole Grains

You can also stock up on pasta, rice, and other grains like oatmeal. Not only are they affordable, they’re versatile ingredients. Plus, grains and pasta stored in unopened bags or sealed canisters can last for years.

pantry staples

With a few fresh vegetables and seasonings, you can easily turn pasta into a delicious meal. Stock up on a few different shapes to give yourself some variety. 

Make sure to grab a bag of your favorite type of rice. Plain white rice is a great staple, but you can also try brown rice, jasmine, or basmati rice for a different texture and flavor.  

Oatmeal is another pantry staple that will come in handy. You can use it to bake bread, eat it for breakfast, or turn it into granola. Plus, it’s a great source of fiber and whole grains. 


Eggs are a great source of protein and they’re cheaper than meat. Plus, they’re so versatile you can enjoy them for every meal of the day.

Eggs can last in the refrigerator for several weeks. If the sell by date has passed and you’re not sure if the eggs are still good, you can use a bowl of water to find out. If the egg rests on the bottom it’s still good, but if it floats toss it out. 

With eggs you can make fried rice for dinner, a quiche for lunch, French toast for breakfast, or a cake for dessert. 

Canned or Frozen Vegetables and Fruits

Canned vegetables are also useful pantry staples. Canned corn, beets and tomatoes sometimes taste even better than their fresh counterparts. Plus, they’re a great source of vitamins, they’re affordable, and they last a long time.

You can add canned or frozen vegetables to soups or serve them as a simple side. When you go through your supply of fresh produce, you’ll still have access to healthy vegetables.  

pantry staples

Frozen fruits and canned fruits packed in their own juices are also nice to have on hand. You can enjoy them with breakfast or bake them into a delicious pie or cake for dessert. 

Canned Soup and Pasta Sauce

Canned soup will come in handy if you get sick since you won’t have to cook. Just open a can of soup, heat it in the microwave, and you’ll have a comforting meal.

Chicken and mushroom condensed soups are also nice to have on hand. You can turn them into soup or use them in casserole recipes. 

Jarred pasta sauce can also turn a simple box of dried pasta into a tasty meal. Toss in a handful of frozen spinach and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and you have a delicious meal. 

Long-Lasting Fresh Produce

Unlike natural disasters, the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t threaten the water or electricity network so you’ll still be able to store and cook fresh produce

But with a stay at home order, you shouldn’t leave your home until you really need groceries. That’s why it’s important to choose produce that lasts a long time. Apples, citrus fruits, potatoes, onions, and cabbage are all great examples.

pantry staples

Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons can last for several weeks. Plus, they’re loaded with vitamin C, which supports your immune system. In fact, one orange provides 100% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C.

Apples, cabbage, carrots and celery can last up to a month in the refrigerator. Use the apples for snacking or baking. Carrots, onions, and celery make the perfect base for soups and stews. 

Store potatoes and onions in a cool, dark place and they’ll last for several weeks or a month.  

Seasonings, Broth and Baking Supplies

Beans, fresh produce, and whole grains offer a lot of nutritional value. But those ingredients can be boring on their own. Luckily, with some seasonings you can turn the simplest pantry staples into a delicious meal.  

Spices and herbs will add excitement and variety to your meals. A dash of cinnamon will liven up a simple bowl of oatmeal. A sprinkle of Italian seasoning can turn canned tomatoes into marinara sauce. 

Canned chicken broth or bouillon cubes are also great in a crisis. If you get sick, you’ll have something warm to soothe your throat and settle your stomach. Plus, it also comes in handy for sautéing vegetables or making pan sauces.  

If you enjoy baking, make sure to check your inventory before you head to the store. Make sure you have flour, butter, sugar, baking soda and baking powder.  

Need Help Paying for Pantry Staples?

If you’re not used to planning ahead, grocery shopping before a possible quarantine can be a challenge. But with the right shopping list you can pick up the pantry staples that will hold you over for a few weeks.

If you’ve lost income due to COVID-19, you might need some financial help to pay for the essentials. At Echo Credit, we offer lines of credit and cash advances. Visit us to learn how we can help you. 

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