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Think Nutrition and Wellness During a Quarantine

Many families and consumers are wondering about how to prepare for meals and wellness during a two-week quarantine. This is a new concept, yet it is very similar to preparing for a hurricane. You may be faced with limited food supplies, social distancing, and sick family members. Some people need to think of elderly neighbors and relatives who probably could not fend for themselves and may be eating poorly during this time. Perhaps include them in your planning process.

Buy early and stock up. During a potential quarantine you will want to socially distance yourself from others, so it makes sense to purchase supplies early to avoid crowds. This will limit your time out in public shopping for needed items. Grocery store shelves may empty quickly making supplies somewhat scarce.

Use the disinfectant wipes provided to clean grocery cart handles and dispose of the used wipe in the receptacle provided.

Set aside some time to design daily menus covering approximately two weeks of quarantine, and the amount of groceries needed for your plan. Plan and create your shopping list.

Extra food, beverages, sanitation supplies and medications are going to take up space so clear out some room to store these items.

Toss out expired food (check expiration dates) and things you don’t need. This is a great time to declutter. You may want to consider placing non-perishable items in a labeled storage bin with a lid.

The following will help you plan your daily 3-meal menus and include healthy snacks throughout the day.


Hydration-Plan to stay hydrated with at least 1 gallon of water and/or other liquid beverage per person daily for drinking. Unlike during a hurricane, the electricity and water supply should be unaffected.

Special diets-Special considerations need to be taken into account for those on therapeutic diets. Always follow the advice of your healthcare provider.

Have on hand:
• Food for infants and the elderly
• Food for pets
• Food for special medical diets
• Plenty of fruits and vegetables (oranges, apples and pears have a longer shelf life)
• Healthy snack foods (i.e. whole grain crackers and cereals, dried fruit, unsweetened applesauce, fruit cups in juice, trail mix, unsalted nuts, granola bars, frozen fruit bars)
• Refill prescriptions, if necessary


Items such as: whole grain breakfast cereal, whole grain crackers, breakfast/nutrition bars, rice cakes, whole wheat or multi-grain bread, dry pasta, melba toast, taco shells, chips vanilla wafers, bread sticks, muffins, graham crackers, pretzels, and flatbread for wraps.

Items such as: canned vegetables and soups, canned 3-bean salad, mushrooms, salsa, spaghetti sauce, and fresh vegetables.

Items such as: canned fruit in its own juice, dried fruit, fresh fruit, 100% fruit juice, trail mix with fruit, packaged raisins, apricots, cranberries, fruit cocktail, and unsweetened applesauce.

Items such as: non-fat milk, shelf-stable milk, puddings, nutritional drinks, cheese, and yogurt.

Items such as: meat soups, canned or vacuum sealed pouches of tuna, chicken, ham, salmon, sardines, chili, corned beef hash, ravioli, kidney beans, lima beans, black eyed peas, lentils, peanut butter, bean spreads, packaged nuts (unsalted, dry roasted, peanuts, walnuts, almonds, etc.), beef or turkey jerky, Vienna sausage, and meals ready-to-eat.

Be sure to include balanced nutrition in your planning. When sick, meal preparation may not be at the same level and with as much variety as during normal times. Quick meals may be the answer during bouts of illness.

 Orange juice
 Ready to eat cereal or oatmeal
 Small box of raisins or ½ of a sliced banana
 Breakfast bar with fruit
 Skim milk
 Tea or coffee

 Hearty chicken noodle soup
 Crackers
 Carrot and celery sticks
 Dry roasted nuts
 Fresh fruit cup
 Vanilla wafers
 Tea of coffee

 Cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread
 3-bean salad
 Fresh broccoli florets
 Crisp red apple
 Fat free pudding cup
 Skim milk
 Tea or coffee



• Hand soap
• Toilet paper
• Paper towels; napkins
• Disposable cups, plates and bowls
• Soap for dishwasher
• Disinfectant wipes
• Disinfectant bathroom cleaner
• Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
• Tissues
• Coffee
• Laundry soap
• Garbage bags
• N95 face masks
• Kitchen gloves
• Unscented bleach/disinfectant kitchen sprays
• Liquid dish soap
• Diapers and other non-food infant supplies

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs (remote control, doorknobs, phones, keyboards, refrigerator and freezer door handles, dials on stove, microwave oven keypads, garage door openers, sink and cabinet handles, keys, etc.) often.

Wash your hands frequently. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

1. Fever reducing medications
2. Pain relievers
3. Cold, flu, allergy medication
4. Cough drops
5. Throat spray
6. Tissues
7. Cooked cereals
8. Jell-O/gelatin
9. Canned soups
10. Clear broth
11. Fruit juices
12. Dry toast
13. Crackers
14. Ice pops
15. Gatorade
16. Tea bags

Food safety and the prevention of foodborne illness is also a priority during a quarantine. See the Fight Bac/Safe Cooking Guidelines-

*Clean and sanitize counter tops
 *Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
 *Cook and store food at the proper temperature
 *Promptly refrigerate leftovers
 *Don’t cross contaminate
 *When in doubt, throw it out!


During a pandemic, we may be asked to self-isolate for approximately 14 days. During this time, do not share food (i.e. two people eat from the same plate, share bites from the same sandwich, and/or drink from the same cup as others).

Preparation is key. Don’t panic. Follow the advice of your local health authority. Have children help prepare meals and sanitize surfaces to keep them busy. Supervise them when necessary. It is always smart to plan for the worst and hope for the best.


Stay healthy. Take care of yourself. Always eat properly following MyPlate guidelines, get your annual physical, get enough sleep, stay hydrated, control your stress level and get regular exercise.



For Further Information
• UF/IFAS Extension Broward County website-
• UF/IFAS Extension Broward County blogs-
• USDA Choose MyPlate-
• Centers for Disease Control-


5 Comments on “Think Nutrition and Wellness During a Quarantine

  1. Thank you, it expands my basic knowledge to be prepared during a quarantine. Is clear, uses a simple but clear language that everybody can understand and implement.

  2. Thanks for the reminder about sick day meals!

    Your lists are great. I reviewed mine after seeing them!

    • You are welcome! Thank you for your comments. Take care.

  3. Thank you for your comments.
    Yes! We must all practice good personal hygiene.