COVID-19 | Coronavirus

COVID-19: what to expect if you need to isolate yourself for 14 days

If you have to go into voluntary quarantine, no need to panic. A little organization and preparation is enough. No need to rob the corner store either. How to eat during this forced “fortnight”? Isabelle Huot, doctor of nutrition and columnist at Newspaper, opens the doors of his pantry.

• Read also: Practical guide to the Covid-19

With what she has in her pantry, freezer, and fridge, nutritionist Isabelle Huot, without being alarmist, feels prepared to deal with any situation.

The idea is not to have food for six months, but to be able to organize for 14 days.

“I might not leave my house and improvise for at least two weeks,” she explains. What can I improvise with what I have on hand? With eggs and potatoes, I can make a frittata. With tomatoes and beans, I can make myself a chili. ”


Before making these commissions, it is important to know what you already have in your pantry, in your refrigerator and in your freezer. Start your planning by listing the products you already have and the ones you miss. Throw away those that have passed the retention date.

The doctor of nutrition believes that even if you don’t have to quarantine yourself, this is an interesting exercise for any consumer. “Seeing a full pantry means less waste, more independence at home and more savings. ”

Here, in detail, is a guide to preparing your pantry for possible quarantine, in three parts.

A practical guide signed MAPAQ

The Quebec Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ) published a few years ago a practical guide indicating the storage times to be observed in the refrigerator and in the freezer for perishable and less perishable foods. Entitled “Thermoguide – Fresh … it’s better”, this tool teaches us that it is possible to keep in the refrigerator, at 4 ° C, whole dry sausages for 2 to 3 weeks, a whole cooked ham for 7 to 10 days or cranberries for 2 weeks. In short, a handy little guide to print and pin on the door of your fridge.

In your pantry

The pantry should contain a variety of non-perishable food products, which can be stored for one to two years, stored in a dry place.

  • Milk and soy beverages, long shelf life.
  • Cereal products: whole wheat pasta, whole wheat couscous, rice, quinoa or even rolled oats. “It’s perfect for making quick meals and you can make lots of servings. ”
  • Potatoes, which keep up to 9 months when placed in a dry and cool place (around 10 ° C).
  • Legumes, canned and loose: coral lentils, red beans or chickpeas. “These are vegetable proteins, to be put in chili or in soups. Also think of lentil pasta, rich in vegetable proteins. ”
  • Canned tomatoes: “Diced or in juice, it is a popular food for making pasta or chili. ”
  • Dried fruits, such as apricots and raisins. “Especially for making muffins,” says Isabelle Huot. Make sure you also have whole wheat flour. ”
  • Canned tuna, “to make sandwiches or pasta later.”

Your pantry should also contain products for cooking and seasoning, which can be stored for six months to two years at room temperature. These include vegetable oil, vinegar and condiments. Also think about the spices that you often use, Dijon mustard or hot sauces.

In your freezer

Your freezer has more limited space, so use it wisely.

  • Bagged frozen fruit, such as strawberries, mangoes and even bananas. “For lunch, whether in a smoothie or in yogurt,” says Isabelle Huot.
  • Bagged frozen vegetables such as spinach, peas, broccoli or edamame.
  • Chicken breasts, for animal protein intake, and fish fillets. “Try freezing the portions separately,” advises Isabelle Huot.
  • Bread, bagels or English muffins, for any meal of the day.

In your fridge

In addition to the open foods and condiments that you usually have in your fridge and use regularly, make room for these products that keep longer. We have indicated in brackets their shelf life at a temperature of 4 ° C:

  • Root vegetables, such as parsnip (2 weeks), carrot (3 months) or beet (3 weeks).
  • Fruits, such as citrus fruits (3 weeks for grapefruit, orange and lemon), apples (3 to 4 weeks), watermelons (2 weeks) or pomegranates (at least 4 weeks).
  • Dairy products, such as butter (3 weeks), hard cheese (5 weeks), yogurt (3 weeks). Consider other fermented milk products rich in probiotics, such as kefir.
  • Fresh shell eggs (3 to 4 weeks).

Other essentials

Here are other essentials to have at home anytime.


Make sure you have your medication for 14 days. If you need to refill your prescription, you can do it with your pharmacist by phone or online.

Also consider having some over-the-counter medications at home to help treat fever, pain, or flu symptoms, as well as a first aid kit.

Pay attention to the amount of medication actually needed. No need to plan for several months, 2 to 3 weeks are enough.


Do not rob the row of hygiene products from your nearby store, but consider buying toilet paper, handkerchiefs, feminine hygiene products, toothpaste, diapers, if you have young children, and other necessities for two weeks, for normal use.


You may find it difficult to find Purell. Turn to a must-have, bar or gel soap, and other antiseptic products to disinfect door handles, kitchen counters, phones, etc., such as wipes, bottled sprays, alcohol friction or bleach. Also consider latex gloves. Again, a normal amount for 2 to 3 weeks should be fine.

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