Our Dietitian Weighs In: Foods to Stock Up on During Social Distancing

Article posted in: Experts’ Corner Diet & Nutrition
social distancing weight loss

Social distancing and self-isolation… it’s the terminology that’s taking over our televisions, flooding news sites, and being discussed on just about every social media platform. But what exactly is social distancing and how does this affect our basic needs? According to the Department of Safety & Security at the University of Chicago, social distancing refers to public health safety measures taken to limit the likelihood of transferring contagious disease. “Social distancing” quite literally means exactly that—distancing ourselves from the public and limiting ourselves socially in order to minimize exposure to communicable illnesses.

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to be a concern throughout our country, creating quarantines and encouraging us to practice social distancing and self-isolation, we must ensure we are taking the proper measures needed to maintain our health and wellness. This includes stocking up on the right foods that will assist in promoting healthy meal prep while practicing social distancing during COVID-19.

Here at Nutrisystem, we pride ourselves on offering our customers the information and tools needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and social distancing and possible quarantine is no exception. We checked in with our corporate dietitian, Courtney McCormick MPH, RDN, LDN, to find out what foods you should be making a quick grocery trip for along with what foods you can order straight from our a la carte menu for home delivery; which limits the need to make that extra trip to the store!

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Snap a screenshot of the infographic below for your next shopping trip:

stock up

Now keep reading to learn more about Courtney’s top food picks to stock up on:

Proteins (Shelf-Stable)

social distancing grocery shopping for COVID-19

Canned or Pouched Fish

Canned tuna and salmon make great healthy meal options to have on hand for a high-quality source of protein and healthy fat.

Tips: Look for options canned in water. Try pairing these with whole grain crackers for a hearty PowerFuel and SmartCarb snack. You could also toss canned tuna with whole wheat pasta and cooked broccoli (or veggies of choice) for a quick meal while practicing social distancing.


Canned beans are a great option to have in stock because they provide both fiber and protein. This makes them the perfect addition to a meal or snack to help keep you feeling full.

Tip: Look for options that are canned with no added salt or rinse them to remove excess sodium.

protein shakes for quarantine diet

Protein Shakes

Protein shakes are the perfect shelf-stable meal replacement or snack during self-isolation. They are a quick and easy way to pack in the protein, so be sure to stock up on our Nutrisystem Shakes to have plenty on hand during this time.

Tip: Mix protein shakes with water. If using milk or milk alternatives, stock up on shelf-stable options.


Bars are also a great meal prep idea to have on hand for a quick meal replacement or snack. We have plenty of delicious bars to choose from on the Nutrisystem a la carte menu.

Tip: Add a few to your cart ASAP so that you’re stocked up for the weeks ahead.

Nuts/Seeds and Nut/Seed Butters

Peanut butter, almond butter, almonds, walnuts and peanuts are all great options to keep in stock for healthy snack ideas. Nuts are a great way to add healthy fats to your diet while in self-isolation. They have a long shelf life so they’re a great option to have on hand if you’re confined to the house in the weeks ahead.

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Proteins (Frozen and/or Refrigerated)

social distancing eggs for quarantine Diet


Eggs are a great diet meal plan staple to stock up on because they typically have a decent shelf life in terms of how long we can keep them in the fridge.

Tip: When purchasing eggs, be sure to look at the best buy date and choose those that have the longest date out.

Frozen Meat and Seafood

Stock up on frozen chicken breasts, lean ground beef or turkey, and seafood like salmon or shrimp.

Tip: Order a few of our favorite frozen food items from the Nutrisystem menu for a delicious (and super simple) way to keep your health and weight loss success on track during this time of social distancing.

Cheese Sticks

Trying to figure out what snacks you AND the kids will love? Cheese sticks are the ultimate healthy snack option.

Tip: Dip a cheese stick in mustard for some extra flavor.

Fruit & Vegetables

social distancing self-isolation weight loss

Canned Veggies

Stocking up on canned veggies is a great way to be prepared with side dishes. You can also keep them on hand to mix with pasta, rice or salad to create some healthy and filling dinner recipes.

Tip: Look for canned options without added sodium or rinse well before cooking them to remove excess salt.

Canned Fruit

Fruit makes a great option for a snack or a side dish to any meal or healthy dessert recipe. Sticking to canned items gives you the ability to have it on hand for quite some time thanks to the longevity of storage capability.

Tip: Look for options canned in water or 100% fruit juice.

Frozen Veggies and Fruits

Any type of frozen produce is great to stock up on thanks to the longevity of frozen food items. Frozen veggies and fruits are also perfect for throwing together a quick side or for adding to a smoothie.

Tip: When buying frozen vegetables, look for those without sauces which may add a lot of fat, sodium and calories. When looking for frozen fruit, look for options that do not contain added sugars.

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social distancing lose weight while quarantined

Dry Pasta or Rice

Look for high fiber options that contain whole grains. Brown rice or quinoa is a great base to any meal.

Tip: Toss whole grain pasta with cooked broccoli, ground turkey and a can of crushed tomatoes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes for a tasty dinner. Check out more delicious recipes that you can during this time of social distancing and self-isolation. > No desire to cook? No problem! You can easily stock up on plenty of our favorite pasta and rice dishes straight form the Nutrisystem menu.


Whole grain cereals make a great option for breakfast or a snack. If keeping milk around is of concern due to short shelf life, opt for having low-fat Greek yogurt on hand instead. Yogurt usually has a longer shelf life.

Tip: Worried about wasting? Stock up on a few of our frozen breakfast items and easily store them in the freezer to avoid wasting grocery items like Greek yogurt.


social distancing grocery shopping for self-isolation


Soup is a convenient option (and can be a nutrient-rich choice) if it includes a mix of protein and fiber—like beans, lean meats and veggies. Check out these convenient and tasty soup recipes your family will love while waiting out the Coronavirus. >

Tip: Look for soup that has low-sodium or no salt added.

At The Leaf, we know that not everyone has the ability to get to the local market—please be sure to reach out to an elderly or disabled friend, family member or neighbor that may have no means or way of stocking up on basic needs. Now, more than ever, is a time to lean on each other and take the steps needed to maintain our health and wellness, along with helping others do the same.

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