Pantry Staples: The List of ‘Must Haves’ for Coronavirus Isolation

Are you scanning the supermarket aisles and finding yourself in a panic buying frenzy? Stop. Here’s what you REALLY need if stuck at home in isolation for extended periods.

Many of us do our shopping weekly, running to the supermarket for quick top-up shops in between. But if we’re being self-quarantined, that won’t happen. Here’s a shopping list on how to stock your pantry, fridge and freezer in preparation for a 14 day homestay.

Of course, all households differ depending on all kinds of factors. Culture, allergies, special needs, ages, likes and dislikes and so do customise the list to suit your family.

pantry staples
Take a look at what pantry staples you have and make a list of what you need! Source: Bigstock

Preparation is KEY to not panicking

If you can, please, please build up your items over time – a couple of weeks at least, adding a few extra items per shop. Don’t rush out and panic buy. Panic buying doesn’t help ANYONE in the long run. Please remember, we’re all in this together.

So what do you need to get by? NSW Government Health provide some great tips, read on to find out!

Non perishables and tinned goods

  • Pasta (spaghetti, spirals, penne – whatever you fancy)
  • Rice
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Pasta sauce or passata
  • Stock (liquid or cubes)
  • Tinned tuna
  • Tinned soups
  • Beans / or chickpeas / lentils
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Bread
  • Spreads (ie. jam, nut butters, Vegemite etc if you eat them)
  • Oats
  • Popcorn kernels
  • Flour
  • Tomato sauce
  • Instant yeast
  • Sugar
  • Coffee / tea / drinking chocolate
  • Snacks (biscuits, muesli bars, crackers, dried fruit)


  • Eggs
  • Long lasting fruit (apples and oranges)
  • Long lasting vegetables (carrots, potatoes, cabbage, garlic, onions)
  • Milk (you can freeze fresh milk or buy long life)
  • Cheese
  • Butter
  • Frozen vegetables (spinach, peas, corn and broccoli)

Toiletries and medication

  • Toothpaste
  • Toilet paper
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Soap
  • Pain relief medication
  • A cough and cold elixir
  • Any prescription medicine should be filled


  • Nappies
  • Wipes
  • Baby food
  • Formula


  • Pet food
  • Tissues
  • Disinfectant
  • Washing powder
  • Rubbish bags
  • preferred household grocery items (your favourite fun food for example. Now is not the time to go cold turkey on the Caramilk Twirls!)
mum central
Shopping frozen goods is a smart way to prepare for home isolation. Source: Bigstock

Things to think about

  • In the event that you can’t get hold of certain pantry staples (such as pasta sauce or bread) rest assured, many things can be made from scratch. And you might very well plan to make quite a few things from scratch (kids eat a zillion biscuits) since you’re going to be home anyway. Be sure to check your recipes for ingredients and make sure you have them stored away.
  • Any time you make a meal, think about how you can stretch it out that little bit further to make more for an extra meal (noodles, rice and chunks of root vegetables like pumpkin and potato are awesome, delicious additions!).
  • This kind of unexpected shopping is often a strain on the finances because choice is taken from us. Minimise the impact by choosing less expensive options if available, cutting back on meat portions in favour of extra vegetables, lentils or beans. Yum!

Don’t leave the quarantine diet as a surprise for the family

Discuss with your family your plans for what you’ll all eat during a quarantine phase. Warn them that there might be nights where they’ll be eating breakfast or fried eggs for dinner, AND THAT’S OK. Fed is best in an emergency situation – even if it is eggs or pasta on repeat. In the short term, doesn’t matter, kids will likely think it’s awesome!

pantry staples
Pasta: let us count the ways! A must-have for the pantry. Source: Unsplash

On a final note

Buy what pantry staples you need now and to get you through a short quarantine period of two to three weeks, that is all. You do not need to panic and have your pantry bulging with multiple months worth of groceries with short expiry dates.

It’s important to look after your family, but also remember to look after your wider community – it takes a village and we all want to come through this together.

Woolworths is now opening its doors to elderly, disabled and frontline workers for an hour every morning which is AWESOME. If you have more than what you need, please think of others and show some kindness. It’s a scary time and a roll of toilet paper and a bag of rice means a lot!

Avatar of Lexi Klaebe

South Australian mum and self proclaimed foodie, Lexi can most days be found in the kitchen, apron tied firm and armed with a whisk or wooden spoon!

Write A Comment