How to Prep Meals for a 14-Day Quarantine

Photo by Dmytro Zinkevych / Shutterstock.com

With coronavirus cases on the rise again, you might be considering a preventive “self-quarantine” so you can avoid going into crowded public places like the grocery store for the next couple of weeks.

This could mean being prepared to not leave your house for a couple of weeks. You’ll need enough food for that entire time.

If you’ve never had to plan out meals for that long a stretch, this could be daunting. However, with a little advance preparation, you can have delicious and nutritious meals during a 14-day quarantine period.

Following are some guidelines to help you get ready.

Pick recipes everyone loves

This is not the time to experiment with new dishes or ingredients.

You want tried-and-true meals that get bellies full and keep everyone happy.

Planning out your meals is a great habit to get into at any time, quarantine or not, as I detail in “This Habit Saves Me Money and Stress All Week Long.

Use a calendar

The easiest way to plan meals is to start with a 14-day calendar. Under each day, write out breakfasts, lunch, dinner and snacks. Fill in each slot with a meal idea. For example, you can rotate eggs, cereal and oatmeal for breakfast.

Write out full meal ideas, for example: baked salmon with roasted asparagus and mashed potatoes. Be as specific as possible for lunches and snacks, too.

Plan an extra meal each week. That gives you a fallback in case you decide what you have planned doesn’t sound good. You don’t have to stick to the letter of your meal plan. Move meals around to different days as necessary.

Or use a subscription meal kit like Blue Apron or HelloFresh to fill in on some of these days.

Use your meal plan to create a shopping list, and stick to it at the store. Remember to shop for every meal ingredient you need, including snacks and treats.

Plan meals around pantry ingredients

One key to planning meals for a long period is to rely on pantry ingredients, including canned goods, rice, pasta, and some fresh vegetables as well as frozen ones.

Other pantry staples include canned and dried beans, canned olives, honey, canned coconut milk, canned fruits and veggies, dried grains, dark chocolate, nuts and dried fruit.

Remember to include these “10 Foods That Should Always Be in Your Pantry or Fridge.”

In this category also belong fresh items that can be frozen. Also, include fresh foods with a longer shelf life, such as some fruits, cheese, meat and butter.

Other good choices for longer storage are carrots, onions, garlic, cabbage, hard squashes, yams, sweet potatoes, celery, lemons, oranges, beets and potatoes. Frozen fruits and vegetables are good to have on hand during a quarantine. They likely were frozen within hours of picking and last a long time.

Spices, herbs, oils and vinegars also store well and will make your dishes interesting.

Use up perishable ingredients first

When planning your meals, begin with recipes that use up perishable ingredients like kale, spinach, avocados, tomatoes, green beans, broccoli, mushrooms, limes, lettuce and asparagus and delicate fresh fruits and berries. Also, use fresh herbs immediately as they wilt quickly.

Use this refrigerator and storage chart from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a guide on what to stock up on, how to store it and how long it will last.

Freeze fresh ingredients

Many people don’t realize that they can freeze fresh ingredients to be used later. Just prep the ingredient in the right portion for the meal you plan to use it for before freezing.

If you’re freezing meat, for instance, portion it into 1-pound or 1.5-pound packages so it’s ready to use in your next recipe. You can chop up onions and freeze them in 1-cup portions, which is about the size of one onion. Other things that freeze well are peppers, garlic and jalapenos.

You can freeze cheese (both block and shredded), butter, milk and whipping cream. Once frozen, they are best used for cooking, though, rather than eaten separately.

Don’t forget snacks and treats

Being stuck at home for 14 days can get old. Pick-me-ups and treats can help carry you through the rough patches.

If you enjoy baking, stock up on basics. Include flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder, vanilla, yeast and chocolate chips. This way you can always whip up your favorite baked treat to enjoy fresh out of the oven.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
10 Common Ways Seniors Get Scammed

Here’s what to watch for to make sure you don’t fall prey to some of the biggest rip-offs targeting seniors.

5 Ways Anyone Can Save on Out-of-Pocket Health Care Costs

Here’s how to lower your health care costs without skimping on care.

7 Reasons You Should Consider a Career Change at 50

Wondering how to change careers at 50, or if it’s possible at all? The good news is that many older workers have the energy and experience to pull it off.

13 Smart Tricks to Organize Every Room of Your Home

Get your household organized with these brilliant and inexpensive tricks.

10 Ways to Nail Savings on Your Remodeling Project

Here’s how to save on your next remodeling project with discounted materials and more tips and tricks.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon

Are you losing money due to any of these missteps?

7 Changes Coming to Social Security and Medicare in 2021

Recently, both Social Security and Medicare made some major announcements about benefits for 2021.

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?

Understanding survivors benefits rules is the key to getting the most from your benefit.

These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation

Two types of vehicles are especially likely to see steep plunges in value.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

Longer Trips to This Type of Store May Raise Coronavirus Risk

An airborne-disease expert recommends exiting these stores within 30 minutes.

5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021

These adjustments will affect both workers and retirees in the new year.

8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores

You don’t have to be a chef or a restaurant owner to shop here.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

There are easy high-paying majors available in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required. We’re here to help you find easy degrees that pay well.

Stop Buying These 19 Things Online

The internet has changed how we shop. But for some things, you’re still better off buying the old-fashioned way.

Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early

Like the idea of financial independence? Part of the FIRE equation is cutting costs.

27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free

When you know the tricks, you can save big on all kinds of useful things that others pay for.

4 Tax Credits That Will Be More Generous in 2021

If you are eligible for these tax breaks, they will slash your federal income tax bill — dollar for dollar.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing emergency food supply. Is your pantry well-prepared for emergencies? Knowing what to stock up on for emergencies can be a difficult task and we’re here to help.

15 Things You Can Get for Free in December

December is here, which means it’s your last chance to take advantage of fabulous freebies in 2020.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.