Beyond canned goods: How to eat healthy during a quarantine

Steph Arnaldo
Beyond canned goods: How to eat healthy during a quarantine
We've got a list of other grocery essentials for your next trip – pantry staples like grains, pasta, frozen food, and beans!

MANILA, Philippines – The enhanced community quarantine over Luzon that started on Tuesday, March 17 still allows essential establishments, inlcuding supermarkets, to remain open – albeit with social distancing requirements.  

This means you can breathe a bit easy and definitely don’t need to hoard and panic-buy.

With a home quarantine in place, we all have to make our limited grocery trips count by sticking to the essentials. Next to rubbing alcohol and tissue paper (?), people are also going for the canned goods, and understandably so.

They’re affordable, convenient, and can be stored for years, but most products are ridden with salt and preservatives. Quarantine and “unhealthy eating” don’t have to be mutually exclusive – there are other important pantry staples you can add to your next grocery list for more nutritious, balanced meals at home. 

Grains, pasta

RICE GRAINS. Photo from Shutterstock


When it comes to longevity, dried grains (like pasta) and dried noodles are a must. Kept in a dry place with no moisture or in airtight containers, rice and noodles can be stored almost indefinitely. They’re easy to prepare, too – all you need is a pot of boiling water, or a rice cooker. (We’d include bread as well, but loaves usually only last for a week unless you freeze them).

Rice and dried pasta are also good starchy sources of carbohydrates and fiber, good for upping energy levels and for quickening satiety. They’re very versatile, too – think a pasta dish using canned tuna, fresh veggies, or Spanish sardines, or maybe fried rice with frozen corn, carrots, and peas.  

Frozen goods 

FROZEN FISH. Photo from Shutterstock

Chill out by the frozen section of a supermarket and you’ll find a variety of frozen goods, meats, and cuts, in different marinades – chicken, beef, pork, whole fish, seafood, veggies, fruits, and even plant-based veggie meats. And because they’re frozen, they can be stored for a very, very long time. (We definitely would vouch for a stock of fresh veggies and fruits too, but in terms of shelf life, the frozen versions would be a better option right now). 

Depending on which grocery you go to, you can find a lot of frozen food gems: bangus belly, tinapa, chicken nuggets, roti bread, sausages, salmon fillets, tanigue, bangus sisig, shrimp poppers, squid rings, blast-frozen asparagus, broccoli, frozen berries, and many more. Just defrost and cook as you would! 

Beans, legumes

LEGUMES. Photo from Shutterstock

Beans and legumes (lentils, monggo, peas) are a great source of plant-based protein. They’re low in fat, have no cholesterol, are high in iron, folate, fiber, and potassium, can be stored for a long time, are very versatile to cook with, and are generally affordable. 

Whether it’s soybeans, chickpeas, white, red, or black beans, you can buy these versatile plants in dried packs or in cans at the grocery. If they’re canned, feel free to give them a rinse under your tap to rid them of any excess salt. Easy dish ideas: Chili con carne, hummus, monggo soup, or homemade pork and beans.

Crackers, biscuits, chips, nuts

CRACKERS. Photo from Shutterstock

For snacking purposes, invest in crackers, cracker sandwiches, sweet biscuits, cookies, protein bars, and local chips for inevitable moments of mid-day hunger. These small but filling snacks are enough to tide the cravings over, and can usually be kept for a long time.

Think whole wheat crackers with cheese whiz or sugar-free peanut butter for a simple merienda, or a bowl of garlic peanuts. Try to opt for baked chips as well if you can, or a handful of oat cookies. 

Goods in jars

SARDINES IN OIL. Photo from Shutterstock

Among shelves of canned goods you’ll find a humble selection of goods in jars – these are items not to be passed up on! You’ll find a tasty variety of ready-to-eat fish, seafood, sauces, or dips – Spanish sardines in olive oil, gourmet tuyo, daing, liver pâté, crab fat, the list goes on – and can also be stored in your pantry for a long while.

Take note of ready-to-eat gourmet pasta sauces (pomodoro, arrabiata, roasted garlic and tomato), cheese spreads, sandwich spreads (peanut butter, nutella), oil-based dips (basil pesto, olive pesto), or even pickled veggies that could go well with your stock of rice, pasta noodles, or leftover bread. Just make sure to store some of them in your refrigerator once opened! –

Order your healthy grocery essentials using this Lazada coupon!

Read more Hustle stories:

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.


Steph Arnaldo

If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.