How much food you need to stock up on in case you need to self-isolate due to coronavirus

IF you need to self-isolate because of coronavirus, you might find that you're unable to get a supermarket shop in straight away.

Anyone who has Covid-19 symptoms has to isolate for 10 days and if they test positive people in their household also need to isolate for 14 days.

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This could mean you find yourself in a situation where you are stuck at home and the cupboards are bare.

The good news is that delivery slots are easy to come by at the moment, so you should be able to get a shop in fairly promptly.

But even though slots are plentiful, it can still be a few days until the next one becomes available.

And lots of supermarkets' Christmas delivery slots are vanishing fast, so you could find yourself running into issues if you have to isolate in the second half of December.

Of course, you can opt to get a takeaway, or even use Deliveroo, Just Eat or Amazon Prime to stock up on the basics.

For instance, supermarkets such as Aldi, M&S, the Co-op and Morrisons all now deliver some items through delivery services such as Deliveroo.

However, delivery charges can be expensive, and the ranges available are limited which may mean you have to spend more than you would normally or can't get the ingredients you need.

You may also have friends, family or neighbours who are able to pick up supplies for you too.

But for many families, it makes sense to have a small amount on non-perishable essentials and a freezer stash, just in case you need to get through a few days before you can get a delivery.

It can really help people who like to plan and budget their meals carefully, as you won't have to spend extra to fill the gap.

In fact, lots of money saving gurus suggest having a couple of weeks' worth of supplies anyway, as other things could stop you getting to the shops, for instance floods or freezes.

If you do want to stock up, here's our top tips for making sure you can get through a few days, or even a full two weeks, without needing to go to the shops.

What needs to go in your stockpile? – food

The most obvious thing to stock up on is food – but its important to only buy what you need.

At the beginning of the last lockdown, supermarket shelves were stripped bare as people rushed out and started panic buying.

And earlier this month, people were rushing back to supermarkets again as the second lockdown was announced.

But sensible stockpiling means making a plan and stocking up on long-life products that can get you through any unexpected days when you're stuck at home,

You'll want to buy things that mean you can create nutritional and tasty meals and most people would prefer not to eat the same things every day.

Obvious staples to buy include pasta and rice, but you'll also want flavourings and spices, vegetables and good sources of protein.

Your freezer will be key here as you can get lots of frozen vegetables such as peas, carrots, spinach and sweetcorn.

Tins are useful too, giving you long life vegetables, not to mention sauces, soups and protein such as tuna.

Sauces can also be a good way to keep things interesting if you're on lockdown.

Long shelf life is key. There's no point stocking up on fresh meat, fruit or vegetables that will go off before you need them.

You should also stick to things that you'll actually eat – there's no point buying tins of lentils if your family hates them, for instance.

Keep a note of what you get an when the use-by dates are.

Food stockpile checklist

MONEY blogger Skint Dad has put together a checklist of things you might want to include in your stockpile.

  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Lentils
  • Pulses Cereal/oats – avoid ones with processed sugars
  • Beans Canned meat
  • Canned fish
  • Canned veg – keep the liquid for stocks
  • Canned fruits
  • Dried fruits
  • Powdered milk
  • Soups
  • Baking goods
  • Nuts
  • Coffee and tea
  • Herbs and spices
  • Sweets
  • Baby or toddler food
  • Pet supplies

What needs to go in your stockpile? – household items

It's also worth making sure you have household essentials in, but again stick to what you actually need.

Some shoppers are already reporting loo roll shortages, and shops may reintroduce maximum purchases.

You can do this gradually by bulk buying tooth paste, shampoo, conditioner and shower gel when you see them on offer.

Its a great way of saving money, and it means you won't be caught short if you need to isolate.

Other obvious things to consider are medicines and laundry products.

Here's a list of obvious items to include:

Household essentials stockpile checklist

HERE’S some of the things you’re likely to need if you have to isolate

  • Toothpaste
  • Soap/ handwash
  • Shower gel
  • Tampons and sanitary towels
  • Toilet roll
  • Washing detergent
  • Candles/flashlight
  • Basic medicines – headaches, cold and flu, hayfever, coughs, plus any essentials you take regularly
  • Batteries
  • Bin bags
  • Bleach, surface cleaner and other cleaning products
  • Cling film and / or foil
  • Nappies, baby wipes and other baby essentials

How to stockpile and save money

Don't panic – make a plan

Panic buying will cost you money and you'll probably end up wasting a lot of food.

Think about what your household typically needs to get through few days, a week or even two weeks.

Look at what's already in your store cupboard and freezer – and build out from there.

It might help to come up with a meal plan for however long you want your stockpile to last. Make sure you have all the ingredients you need based on that plan.

Look at recipes from dried foods so you're not just buying random ingredients with no meals in mind.

Do some basic calculations, how much shaving foam do you get through in a few days, week or two weeks. What about loo rolls?

Spread the cost

If you try and buy everything at once, the chances are you'll blow your weekly budget.

Instead, start adding a few tins or extra bits onto each shp you do until your stockpile is complete.

Start with essentials – then move on to nice-to-haves like wine or chocolate.

You can stockpile cheaply and increase variety by making extra portions of things you're eating anyway and putting them in the freezer.

Bulk cooking works well with meals like bolognese, pasta sauce, meatballs, and soups, for instance.

Only buy what you'd have anyway

There's no point buying powdered egg or thousands of tins of beans for a short period of isolation.

If you buy too much you'll never get through it all, and if you get things you don't like or know how to use, you'll end up with a lot of waste.

Stick to things you'd buy normally, so if you don't need your stockpile it won't be wasted cash.

Make sure you rotate as well, as even freezer items and tins go off eventually. Take things from your stockpile to use and just make sure you replace them each time.

This will mean you're prepared beyond coronavirus too, so whether it's a benefit delay, snow dump or getting the flu you'll never have to go without food or essentials.

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