How to Buy Food for a 14-Day Quarantine (and How Not To)

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11. Don’t panic-buy over-the-counter medications

We should all have the basics at home, whether or not we’re under quarantine, but again, be considerate of the needs of others and just buy what you can imagine needing in the near future.

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12. Don’t buy more toilet paper than you’ll need

Toilet paper has become emblematic of panic-buying — there are photos of market baskets overloaded with the stuff all over the internet — for reasons nobody quite understands, since there isn’t a shortage. A four-person household with average use will need only 16 rolls over a 14-day period — or 23 rolls if usage is apt to be heavy.

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13. Don’t buy bottled water

Almost everywhere in the United States, tap water is safe to drink, and on-faucet filter mechanisms or filter pitchers make it even safer. Save money, help the environment, and lighten your grocery bags by turning on the tap instead of reaching for the Poland Spring or Evian.

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14. Don’t forget to buy fresh produce

Having plenty of long-lasting staples on hand is important, but don’t forget the fruits and vegetables that add flavor, color, and nutrients to your diet. According to Omni Calculator, a family of four (two adults, two children under 10) would probably need about 12 pounds of apples, almost two pounds of onions and five of carrots, six-and-a-half pounds of bell peppers, and just over a pound of potatoes for a 14-day period.

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15. Remember other perishables, too

That same family of four would likely consume 56 eggs, three sticks of butter, two pounds of cheese, five loaves of bread, five cartons of milk, and six pounds of ground meat in two weeks’ time.