Essential Items for Your Keto Quarantine Kitchen

Essential Items for Your Keto Quarantine Kitchen

You’ve probably seen it in your own grocery store: shelves as empty of pasta, rice, flour and sugar as they are of toilet paper and sanitizing wipes. For most people, cooking in these crazy times means high-carb. Even the experts are getting in on the game, advising that “we all need comfort food now,” and to keep digging into baked goods and mac & cheese.

It might seem natural to give into those comfort food cravings, there’s no reason to let self-isolation ruin your diet. For one thing, high blood sugar may impair your immune system. And as you’re probably spending more time at home than ever before, and it’s a great opportunity to cook keto for yourself.

Whether you’re in a government-imposed shutdown, self-isolation or actual quarantine, we’ve put together a resource to help you keep happy, well-fed and low carb during the coming weeks.


Stockpile Shelf-Stable Proteins

Stockpiling does make sense. For weeks now the CDC has recommended that people with diabetes stock up on groceries and essentials so as to limit trips into public as much as possible.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy to stockpile shelf stable protein as it is carbs. Here are some ideas for options that you might want in your pantry:

  • Stock and bone broth
  • Pork Rinds
  • Beef Jerky (sugar-free)
  • Peanut and other Nut Butters
  • Canned Sardines, Mackerel & Oysters
  • Tuna Fish
  • Salami
  • Canned or Pouched Ham
  • Canned or Pouched Chicken Breast
  • Whey Protein


Buy Some Really Big Meats

While we don’t recommend buying more than you actually need, you should definitely be thinking big at the grocery store: buying big portions to cook big batches.

For the last few weeks ground beef has been tough to come by, but our grocery store is still well-stocked with pork shoulder, whole briskets, turkeys and other intimidatingly large meats.

Now is a terrific time to get comfortable buying and cooking large meat in large formats. At the very least, a big hunk of meat can be sliced into smaller portions and frozen. Or, cook it all at once: one big pork shoulder can make days of pulled pork, or it can be cooked into several different recipes all in one afternoon.

So why not buy one entire 10-15 lb brisket and make three different recipes?


Braised Keto Brisket by Sugar-Free Mom

Keto Oven-Roasted Burnt Ends by My Keto Kitchen

Homemade Corned Beef Brisket by Serious Eats (just hold the sugar!)


Get Serious about Low-Carb Baking 

Maybe you’ve dabbled in the art of low-carb baking, dipped your toe into the waters so to speak, but there is no better time than now to plunge in head first. A serious baking itch is a strangely natural result of the hunkering down impulse, and alternative flours, such as coconut and almond flour, may well be the only flours available at your grocery store.

With a well-stocked pantry – keep your eye open for specialty ingredients like xanthan gum and psyllium husk – you’ll have plenty of baking ahead of you.

Here are a handful of the most enticing recipes we’ve come across


Easy Paleo Keto Bread – Wholesome Yum

Keto Farmer’s Bread – Low Carb No Carb

Keto Everything Bagels – Kirbie’s Cravings

The BEST Keto Chocolate Cake – Chocolate Covered Katie

Keto Chocolate Chip Cookies – All Day I Dream About Food


Choose Long-Lasting Vegetables

Some veggies are better suited to lockdown cooking than others.

Many lower-carb root vegetables like turnips, rutabage and celery root will keep well in a fridge for weeks at a time.

Green cabbage, white cabbage, and cauliflower, if kept nice and dry, will also stay good in the fridge for weeks.

Onions and garlic don’t need the fridge: they can be stored in a cool, dark, dry place for more than a month.

Meanwhile, if the frozen vegetable section hasn’t been cleared out, make sure to stock up on staples like frozen chopped spinach and riced cauliflower. A healthy, diverse diet may be more important now than ever. You don’t want to find yourself stuck with nothing but salami and sardines for days at a time.


Learn to Love Canned Tuna

One of America’s most popular shelf-stable proteins, canned tuna deserves special mention here. Tuna fish became a keto pantry staple long before social distancing had us avoiding the grocery store as long as possible. Our fabulous collaborator Carolyn Ketchum rounded up her favorite 30 low-carb tuna recipes for us – ranging from Keto Tuna Melts and Bacon Tuna Salad to her own Waffled Tuna Cakes.


Eat More Nuts & Seeds

Everyone agrees – nuts & seeds are crazy healthy – and there may be no ingredient that packs as much healthy protein and fat into such a small package.

Buy in bulk, roast and flavor to your liking.

Garam Masala Cocktail Nuts – ASweetLife 

Sugar-Free Candied Pecans – The Big Man’s World

Ranch Roasted Nuts – That Low Carb Life

Keto Spicy Roasted Nuts – Diet Doctor

Buffalo Spiced Cocktail Nuts – ASweetLife

Dill Pickle Almonds  – ASweetLife

Low Carb Spicy Candied Hazelnuts – ASweetLife


Patronize Local Farms & Artisanal Food Makers 

If you can spend a few extra bucks on your food, consider supporting local farms and small artisanal food makers. Grocery sales are booming now, but the little guys are in danger of being left behind. If you live near a local farm or cheesemaker, consider that they’ve probably lost all of their restaurant accounts and may be struggling to make it through the crisis with the business intact.

Many subscription grocery services and community-supported agriculture services (CSAs) will deliver straight to your door. An outdoor farmer’s market may feel safer than the recycled air of a supermarket. And with restaurants mostly dark across the country, many small farms have quickly pivoted to market their products directly consumers for the very first time. This may be a better time than ever to source the highest-quality meats and vegetables, and your local farmers will seriously appreciate your support.

Ross Wollen
Ross Wollen

Ross Wollen is a chef and writer based in Maine's Midcoast region. Before moving East, Ross was a veteran of the Bay Area restaurant and artisanal food scenes; he has also worked as a food safety consultant. As executive chef of Belcampo Meat Co., Ross helped launch the bone broth craze. Since his diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes in 2017, he has focused on exploring the potential of naturally low-carb cooking. Follow Ross on Twitter: @RossWollen

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