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
- 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.