Sri Lanka has been experiencing islandwide travel restrictions, as a measure to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 3rd wave. There are more or less like lockdowns, and the rules are quite simple. All the shops are closed, restaurants can deliver food and no one is permitted to go out unless you're working in the essential services.
This situation is supposed to continue until the 7th of June, except on the 25th of May, 31st of May, 4th of June and 7th of June. The travel restrictions are relaxed on the aforementioned four dates, for people (one person from each household) to step out of the house to grab groceries. You can read more information about it through here.
When it comes to lockdown essentials, what does comes to one's mind aside from the vegetables, fruits, rice, milk powder, tea, dal and coconuts? While these are some of the mandatory elements in the lifeline of our lifestyle, you need to stock up your pantry with the right kind of food, grocery, and other household items; ones with longer shelf-lives, and are nutritious. So what must you include in your lockdown-special shopping list?
But hey! No panic buying, please!
Canned/ Bottled Goods
Canned goodies are excellent pantry staples. When stored properly, they last longer on shelves while retaining the important nutrients. For example, canned tuna is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, high-quality protein, selenium and Vitamin D. Once opened, it can easily last for about 3/4 days in the fridge, provided that it's placed inside a covered glass or plastic container.
Bottled up purees and sauces are good too, but make sure to check out the label for its sugar content. These can be easily used to whip up some interesting pasta dishes. Leave them in the fridge after opening.
Pulses and whole grains are some wonderful lockdown fitness boosters. They're excellent sources of protein and antioxidants, healthy, low in fat and highly versatile. They can provide you with long-lasting energy, and will leave you full for a good number of hours. So make sure to grab some chickpeas, quinoa, muesli, beans, chia, almonds and oats etc., from the nearest supermarket.
It's a well-known fact that fresh milk is superior to its powdered kind. Fresh milk has more bioactive components in comparison to powdered milk, and the former tastes better as well. While powdered milk has an extended shelf life, fresh milk is healthier, and can be kept inside the fridge for up to 4 four days, once opened.
Always get your milk cartons from the usual shelves in the supermarket, rather than the chilled beverages section. That way, you don't have to crowd your fridge with milk cartons, unless you open them. Unchilled milk cartons are shelf-stable, so you have to put them in the fridge only after opening.
Whole Grain Pasta
Image credits: theactivetimes.com
Normal pasta is good too, but whole grain/wheat ones are better, especially if you're watching your weight. They are low in calories, high in fibre and packed with manganese, selenium, copper and phosphorus. You can easily add up some vegetables, proteins, herbs, a little bit of sauce and lemon zest to make a wholesome meal out of it.
Processed, frozen meats like sausages aren't the healthiest, but they have long shelf lives. They need to be stored in a freezer, obviously, and are useful when you're running low on other fresh meats.
Also, there are gourmet brands that you can opt for, such as Pepper Valley Farm by MA's Kitchen. They do not include any fillers, extenders, MSG or artificial flavours.
Just a few weeks back, there was a controversial discussion about the cancer-causing coconut in the market. Therefore, adding a small bottle of olive oil to your lockdown shopping list is a smart move. A splash of that can make your food quite flavoursome.
Aside from biscuits, chips and the likes, get some dried fruits, popcorn and of course, chocolate! Dried fruits like prunes are full of iron, fibre and antioxidants. You can mix and match them with the nuts and seeds, and turn it into a flavourful, healthy snack.
Popcorn is also a rich source of fibre, which eases up the digestive process in your body, while good quality, dark chocolates has many benefits – including powerful antioxidants, improving blood flow, raising HDL and whatnot.
It's time to stock up your medicine box/ first aid box as well. Get some pain killers like Panadol, pain-relieving balms like Siddhalepa/HeadFast, Paspanguwa/Samahan packets, Strepsils and etc., along with plasters, bandages and other ointments.
Candles & Bulbs
Most parts of the country, including Colombo, are experiencing heavy rains and high wind speeds, which might cause power outages, or leave you with burnt-out bulbs. Keep some candles and extra bulbs at home as a precaution.
Washing hands with soap and water has a direct impact on protecting yourself from COVID-19. Make sure to wash your hands at least for 20 seconds, and use an alcohol-based hand rub that contains 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
A box of masks – KN95/ N95/ surgical mask should be a mandatory element in your shopping list. It's part of a comprehensive strategy of measures to suppress transmission of COVID-19. The ongoing travel restrictions might not put you in a public setting for a few more days, but, masks must be worn while interacting with the outside world – whether it be ordering food or stepping out your house to purchase groceries. Furthermore, the health authorities recommend wearing the double mask for extra safety.
As we stated above, this period of travel restrictions has restricted the operational capacity of every business, other than essential services. So, if you run out of gas, you cannot simply walk into your nearest gas dealer/shop to get the cylinder replacement. However, you can get it delivered, which might take a few days due to the current situation. Therefore, it's always a good idea to keep a backup gas cylinder, which you can survive until the replacement arrives.