I seldom panic and wasn’t going to prep. Then both of my kids asked me about Covid-19. And then the President declared a national emergency and the CDC said we should have a month’s supply of “stuff” on hand. And now, we’re supposed to avoid places with more than 10 people.
Thanks to the wisdom of my ancestors, who instilled in me the need to preserve and store large quantities of food, I’m still not going to panic. Some of you may remember the last government shut-down in which I went eight weeks without buying groceries and suffered no adverse effects thanks to my “Mormon Pantry.” At the time, I joked that it was a dry run to see if I could survive the Zombie Apocalypse. Turns out, it was a test run for surviving Covid-19.
For the benefit of my children (and possibly their friends and random strangers) I have created menus and a shopping list detailing the items one person needs to shelter in place for a month. Since most recipes serve four or six, you’ll be eating left-overs several nights in a row, but it beats starvation.
You need less food than you think.
The good news is, you need a lot fewer items to survive a month stuck at home than you might realize. A lot of people reach for canned, dehydrated, and frozen items, but all of these generate trash. Not only are you stuck at home for a month, but so is your garbage. The items I have chosen will not generate a lot of trash and store well.
Alternate between eggs and oatmeal. Both are cheap and easy.
Breakfast A: Instant oatmeal, yogurt, ½ grapefruit or a cutie
Breakfast B: egg, English muffin, 2 sausage links, ½ grapefruit or a cutie
2 boxes of oatmeal provide 20 meals; a dozen eggs provides another 12 meals.
20 + 12 = 32
Congratulations, you just mastered breakfast for the next month!
Alternate between soup and sandwiches. You can get two meals out of one can of condensed soup verses 1 meal using the pull-top, heat and serve kind. Save money and reduce trash by opting for condensed soup.
Lunch A: Soup, grilled cheese sandwich
Lunch B: Sandwich, celery, apple or cutie
8 cans of soup = 16 meals. 3 loaves of bread = 31 sandwiches. Throw in some lunch meat, cheese, lettuce, and peanut butter and you’ve just fed yourself lunch for a month.
Week 1: Pot roast with carrots, potatoes, and onion (6 days)
Week 2: Spaghetti, green beans, canned pears (4 days) AND Chicken hot dish, canned pears (4 days)
Week 3: Grilled chicken breast, potatoes & gravy, carrots (6 days)
Week 4: Spaghetti, green beans, canned pears (4 days) AND Chicken hot dish, canned pears (4 days)
This only accounts for 28 days. You can break up the monotony of the meals by adding a frozen pizza, Chinese food, and a Mexican dish to your shopping cart and you’ve got 31 meals!
Seriously, just choose your favorites. This is not a situation where you need to deprive yourself. Though, if you’ve been meaning to diet, now might be the time to tackle that goal.
Maintaining Proper Hygiene
When it comes to toilet paper, the average person will only use two rolls per month. Look in your pantry . . . got more than two rolls in there? Good, you’re safe. However, if you feel compelled to buy another four rolls, or even a 12 roll pack, that’s all well and good. But, just remember, you only need to buy one.
When it comes to hygiene and cleaning supplies, you likely already have all the supplies you need. A tube of toothpaste will last for months. Ditto for deodorant, shampoo, laundry detergent, bleach, Pinesol, etc. If you want to have another on hand ‘just in case,’ that’s fine, but only add ONE to your cart.
You need a first aid kit that includes triple antibiotic ointment (Neosporin). Also, have a bottle of Tylenol on hand. Check your first aid kit and add any items you need. If you take any medications, ask your doctor if he can change your prescription from monthly to being able to pick-up a three month supply.
Hydrate or DIE!!!
In a survival situation, it’s recommended to have one gallon of water per person per day in storage. THIS IS NOT A SURVIVAL SITUATION. The corona virus has no impact on the water supply. If it will comfort you to buy water, purchase one 3-gallon container. This will give you three days to find another water source on the off chance that zombies disable the pump for your well or aliens take-over the water treatment plant.
Don’t Forget Your Pets
Buy a large bag of whatever you normally feed Fido and Fluffy. They need water, too, but not as much as you because they won’t be using it for cooking and bathing. You do not need to buy three gallons per pet, one 3-gallon container will do.
COVID-19 Grocery Shopping List (Printable list here)
1 head of romaine lettuce
1 bag of grapefruit
1 bag of apples
1 bag of cuties
1- 5 lb bag of potatoes
2- 2 lb bags of carrots
2 bundles of celery
1 large onion
4 cans of tomatoes
4 cans of green beans
8 cans of pears
2 large cans of chicken
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
8 cans condensed soup
3 packages link sausage (8 count)
1- 16 oz package of lunch meat
2- 1 lb packages of ground beef
1- 3 lb beef roast
1 dozen eggs
1 package of butter
1- 2lb block of cheese
20 containers of yogurt
1 bag of frozen peas
1 bag of frozen pearl onions*
1 bag of frozen chicken breast (at least a 6 count)
1 frozen pizza
1 frozen Chinese Dish
1 frozen Mexican Dish
3 loaves of bread
2 packages English muffins
1 small jar of peanut butter
1 jar of jelly or jam
1- 32 oz package of spaghetti
1- 16 oz package of rotini noodles
2 packets of dry spaghetti mix
1 packet of stew seasoning
3 packets of gravy mix
2 boxes instant oatmeal
1 bottle of shampoo
1 bottle of dish soap
1 package of toilet paper
1- 3 gallon container of water
Cleaning supplies only if running low
Pet food and extra water
I purchased most of the items on this list at Winco and it only cost $153.69. The remainder of the items I purchased from Rousauers for $16.78. My purchases totaled $170.47, including pet food, water, and the ultra-necessary package of Cadbury minis. You don’t need to break the bank just to feed yourself for a month. Also, if you can’t find an item on the list, don’t panic. Check back in a couple days, grocery stores receive multiple shipments of new products every week.
If you have more people in your household, simply multiply this list by 2, 3, or however many people you have. For more information on long-term food storage, visit your local Mormon church. One of the Moscow, ID stake centers even hosted an emergency preparedness fair a few years ago. Never shun good advice just because you don’t share the same religious convictions. They are friendly folks who do all prepping with none of the panic.
*NOTE: after talking with multiple store clerks I learned pearl onions are hard to find even under normal circumstances. I bought the last bag at Rosauers. Just buy another onion and you’ll have your bases covered.
Turn your social isolation into a hygge hide-away and focus on self-care. Like to read? Treat yourself to a new book. Are you a movie buff? Indulge yourself on Netflix. With sporting events canceled, sports fans may opt to buy a new sports related video game to get their fix. Whatever your passion is, use this as an opportunity for indulgence.
Here are some options to help keep you sane during self-imposed isolation:
- Candles, chocolate, and bubble bath
- Beer, wine, or liquor (If work is canceled every night can be a margarita night.)
- Chocolate chips and all the fixings to make cookies (or try out a spring themed treat.)
- Popcorn and movies
- Tea, scones, and a good book
Social isolation doesn’t mean you have to be stuck inside. Got a home repair or renovation project you’ve been putting off? Now’s your chance to tackle that project. It’s spring! Use your time to get gardens and flowerbeds ready for summer. Hiking and fishing are often solitary pursuits, take advantage of that and visit a State Park. Throw yourself a private BBQ. And if you’ve been longing to spray an interloping neighbor with the hose, now’s your chance. You can claim it was self-defense.
Now it’s your turn. What would you add to the emotional survival pack?
Also, can anyone explain the TP panic to me . . . I just don’t get it. Thanks!