Pantry basics

Last Updated: 04 Nov 2020 4:23pm

Pantry basics for staying at home

If you are instructed to quarantine because of COVID-19, you won't be allowed to go shopping for food. This may be for 14 days or longer.

You may be able to purchase supplies online, or get a friend, neighbour or family member to help you, but it is useful to keep a small store of basic food items in the cupboard, fridge and freezer, so you are prepared.

Try to have enough for all of your household members. If you or your household members have any special dietary requirements or allergies, remember to tell anyone who shops for you.

Please note, if you are required to quarantine and need assistance to remain in your home (eg receive food supplies) please contact the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

Useful foods to have

Grain (cereal) foods

  • pasta, rice, couscous and noodles;
  • bread (wholegrain is best);
  • flour to make food like pikelets or scones;
  • dry biscuits and crackers (wholegrain is best);
  • soft wraps;
  • rolled oats and breakfast cereal.

Meat and protein alternatives

  • canned fish (e.g. tuna and salmon);
  • canned or dried beans and legumes for example chickpeas, baked beans, kidney beans and lentils;
  • nut pastes (e.g. peanut butter - be mindful of allergies);
  • eggs;
  • frozen meat;
  • frozen fish.


  • canned fruit in natural juice;
  • dried fruit;
  • frozen berries;
  • fresh fruit like apples can last in the fridge crisper (the Department of Health has more information on how to store fruit and vegetables).


  • canned peas, corn, tomatoes;
  • frozen peas, corn and mixed vegetables;
  • potatoes, carrots, onions (the Department of Health has more information on how to store fruit and vegetables).

Dairy foods

  • long life UHT milk;
  • milk powder;
  • yoghurt;
  • cheese.


  • margarine;
  • nut butters (check for allergies);
  • jams.

Simple meal ideas

  • tuna and pasta in a white sauce with peas and corn;
  • tomato pasta sauce on pasta with cheese;
  • bolognese meat sauce on pasta or baked potatoes;
  • microwaved jacket potato with baked beans and cheese;
  • noodles with eggs and mixed vegetables;
  • toasted cheese sandwich;
  • savoury toast;
  • scrambled eggs, omelette or frittata;
  • potato and tuna fritters;
  • vegetable soup;
  • canned fruit and yoghurt;
  • bowl of cereal and milk;
  • pikelets and fruit;
  • soft taco bean and salad wraps.

Tips for buying safe food

  • Check the 'best before' and 'use by dates' before you use. Don’t eat or buy foods past their 'use by' date. Its ok to eat food after a 'best before' date but it might be lower quality after that date.
  • Do not buy food in damaged containers – especially canned foods.
  • Do not store food in opened cans. Put ‘left-overs’ from cans into glass or plastic containers with sealable lids.

Food deliveries

Tell people delivering food that you are in quarantine. Ask them to leave your shopping at the front door.