I’m in the US and recently, the US took the lead in total Coronavirus cases. People in many parts of the world, including some here in the US, have been ordered to stay home. Businesses are closing and people are starting to freak out.
I went grocery shopping yesterday and was amazed at what I found. Empty shelves everywhere. Here is a picture of the dry rice and beans section at my local Costco.
Most of the meat is gone, the produce is gone, beans, rice, canned goods. It’s hard to find anything right now.
What’s left has been limited. At stores around me, everything has a sign on it that says “limit 1 per customer”
I am a creature of habit. I like to eat the same foods everyday. I go grocery shopping every two weeks and I buy a ton of everything I like. When I run out, I go buy more.
This “limit 1 per customer” stuff doesn’t work for someone like me. I could go to the grocery store every day to get my 1 of everything I need, but that would drastically increase my exposure.
I don’t want to get sick and I don’t want to get my wife or 2 kids sick either.
I decided to step out of my comfort zone and buy 1 of everything worth buying (especially in the protein department)
I went through the store and cataloged all viable protein, carb and fat sources.
Here is the list I came up with:
Protein Grocery List
Protein seems to be the hardest to get right now and is the most important to us bodybuilders. At my local frys grocery, you can only buy 2 beef items and 2 chicken items at a time. At Sams Club, you can only buy 1 tub of cottage cheese and 1 tub of Greek yogurt per visit. That’s if the stores have any of these items.
To maximize your shopping trip, get as many of the below “limited” items as possible. You will only be able to get 1 or 2 of each, but if you can find all of the items, you will have quite a haul of quality protein to get you through the next few weeks.
- Cottage Cheese
- Greek Yogurt
- Eggs / Egg Whites
Chicken breast is going to be your leanest choice. If they are out, check for breasts, thighs, or even whole chickens. If you can’t find them in the meat section, you might be able to find some in the frozen section. Chicken Breast here is limited here so I picked up a pack of breast and a pack of thighs.
I prefer to buy big roasts at Costco and cook them in the crockpot. 90%+ lean ground beef is another good choice. Steaks are great of course, but can often be pricey compared to roasts or ground beef. Costco would only allow me to buy 1 roast at a time. They were out of ground beef.
I like to cook a bunch of meat in advance, freeze it and reheat it when I’m ready to eat it. Fish isn’t so good reheated so I don’t typically eat it. With the protein shortages I decided to grab a bag of frozen cod. The frozen fish at Sams Club was limited to 1 of each type per customer so you could really load up if you wanted to buy an assortment. For example, you could get 1 bag of frozen tilapia, cod, salmon, etc…. They also have salmon burgers that are pretty good.
I don’t usually eat pork but chops are pretty lean. I will resort to pork chops and maybe a pork loin for the crockpot if need be. Another pork option to consider is buying a whole ham. Ham is very low in fat and has no carbs if you don’t put the glaze on it.
I’m not talking about lunch meat. Frys Grocery sells turkeys year round. Get a whole bird and cook it in the oven. A 21 lb turkey yields 8+ pounds of cooked meat according to this source. According to Calorie King, 1 lb of turkey breast contains 136 grams of protein. You could probably get close to 1000 grams of protein from a big whole turkey. Depending on your daily protein requirements, you could get 3-5 days worth of protein from 1 bird (I’m on 300g / day)
Cottage Cheese is a staple for me. I eat at least a pound of it every day. It’s one of my main sources of protein. Right now they don’t have any at my local grocery store. I did find it at Sams Club and Costco but they limit you to 1 per customer. I got 1 at each of the 2 stores and will just have to make due by supplementing some of these other protein sources. I personally like to put cottage cheese on my meat. Shredded chicken with cottage cheese on top might sound gross but I love it.
You may not think of Greek Yogurt when you think of protein sources but, if you get the “plain” fat free no sugar kind, its actually a great option. A 48 ounce container of Greek Yogurt from Costco costs around $7 and contains 144 grams of protein. You could split the 1 container into 3 servings of 48 grams protein / 18 grams carbs or 6 servings of 24 grams protein / 9 grams carbs. I like to mix Greek Yogurt with a few packs a stevia and some ON Whey protein for a high protein snack/ dessert.
Eggs are awesome. They are a nutrient packed protein source and are easy to cook. If you eat all the yolks they do contain a lot of fat. If you are concerned about your fat intake, simply throw out some of the yolks. You can also buy containers of liquid egg whites. They have them at Costco and Sams Club for sure but you may be able to get them at the regular grocery store too. They would be next to the eggs in the refrigerated section.
I prefer eating food instead of drinking shakes but its always good to have whey on hand, especially when protein options are limited. Your big box stores will have great deals on quality Whey protein. I prefer to buy ON Gold Standard Whey at Costco.
Suggestion: Check out this related article on my 3 favorite protein sources by clicking this link.
Carbs Grocery List
Coronavirus has lead to a shortage of many of the “dry goods” type carbohydrate foods in my local stores. It’s impossible to find pasta right now. There are no potatoes, and I got one of the last bags of rice.
With that being said, it should be a lot easier to find viable options for carbohydrates. A big bag of rice or a big box of oats could last weeks or even months depending on your carb requirements.
If all else fails, crackers, pretzels or chips could even work.
If you can’t find “clean” carb sources such as rice, oats, or potatoes, try to find something on the cleaner side. For example, whole wheat crackers would be a better choice than potato chips.
Stay away from sugar. Sugary drinks or donuts aren’t going to do you any good. Half of the carbs from sugar are from fructose which isn’t good for restoring muscle glycogen. Also, its easy to over eat on sugary snacks.
Below are what I consider our best options when it comes to carbohydrates for bodybuilding.
- Potatoes / Sweet Potatoes
Oats are a staple for me. They last forever and are so easy to eat. I personally just eat them plain with a little water, but they are also good with a pack of stevia and a little peanut butter. The box of oats I bought was from sams club. It contains 113 servings at 27g carbs per serving. That’s almost 2 months of oats if I eat 2 servings per day.
A 20 pound bag of dry rice will make 60 pounds of cooked rice. 100g cooked rice will give you 28g carbs. 60lbs = 27,215 grams. You can get 272 100g servings of cooked rice (28g carbs each) from a 20 pound bag of dry rice. As you can see, that is a whole lot of rice from 1 bag. Rice is easy to make and easy to eat. If you can find a big bag, buy it and you will be set for a while.
Potatoes / Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes are my favorite carb source when supplies are not limited. I eat them plain and they taste great. I bake a big pan of them in the oven, chop them into bites and put them in Tupperware. The grocery store near me currently has ZERO potatoes of any kind. I wouldn’t go to the store to try and stock up on potatoes because even uncooked, they only stay good for a week or 2 before they start to get mushy. If you are going to the store anyway, pick some up for variation, but you should also get something that will last a little longer such as rice or oats.
You may not think of beans as a great source of carbs. In fact, a regular sized can (15oz) of black beans contains 60 grams of carbs, 21 grams of protein and zero fat. I would split this can into 2 30 gram carb servings and eat it along with something else to get your protein. For a more cost effective option, buy bags of dry beans and cook them up. I prefer the canned for the convenience. If oats, rice and potatoes are all not available because of Coronavirus, give beans a try!
I haven’t seen any pasta in the store for weeks. I don’t think you will find any right now. If you can get your hands on it, pasta is another great carb option. Just be careful because it’s easy to overeat. According to calorie king, 1 cup of cooked spiral pasta will give you 40g of carbs.
I’m not a big fan of bread. For one, I just dont like it that much. For two, it leaves me feeling bloated and tired. With that being said, I will surely resort to eating bread if it’s all I can get due to the Coronavirus shortages. Bread slices can vary greatly in calories and macro-nutrient quantities. I have two types of sliced bread at the house right now. One brand has 11g carbs per slice and the other (Daves Killer Bread) has 15g per slice.
Related Article: Carbs for Bodybuilding – Everything You Need to Know <- Click this link to check it out.
Fats Grocery List
Healthy fats are important for proper for the production of Testosterone and other hormones. Fats also help with carb absorption and satiety.
A little fat in your diet will make you feel better and probably look better too.
For most men, if you aren’t on a keto diet, should be at least 50g per day. Your fats are going to be the easiest to find during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Many high fat foods keep well and will last months.
Below are my favorites choices for adding fat to my diet. Be careful with all of the below items because it is very easy to over eat on any of them. Remember, fat contains 9 calories per gram where protein only contains 4 calories per gram.
- Nut Butters
- Olive Oil
- Canned / Jarred Olives
Nuts, especially almonds, are a great choice for adding some healthy fat to your diet. Costco still had big bags of multiple nut varieties last time I was there. Buy a couple big jugs and they will last forever. My 1 container of mixed nuts from Costco has 40 servings at 15g fat per serving. A serving size is one ounce or 28g. That’s about 20 mixed whole nuts (almonds, cashews and macadamias)
We all love peanut butter right? Peanut butter is awesome plain, on a slice of bread, or mixed in with your oats. 2 Tbsp of peanut butter contains 15 grams of fat. For a healthier option choose almond or macadamia nut butters. Good old fashion peanut butter is what I eat.
According to Mayo Clinic, Olive oil is super good for you. 1 big jug of olive oil will last forever if you are simply eating (drinking) a little every day. 1 Tbsp contains 15g fat. A 3 liter bottle of olive oil from Costco contains 200 servings! Having a big jug on hand could come in really handy if the food shortages get really bad because of Coronavirus. Personally I prefer to eat my fat in the form of nuts or olives but if you just want it to be easy, pour a tablespoon on your chicken.
Avocados are fun to eat and tasty. They are full of nutrients and good fat. They don’t keep long so I wouldn’t stock up on them to weather out the Coronavirus storm. If you do have to go to the store for some other items, go ahead and pick up your avocados. Just be prepared to run out and resort to eating nuts and olive oil.
Canned / Jarred Olives
Olives are a healthy and tasty snack. I like to buy the regular cans of Early California large black olives but you can be fancy and get jars of olives too. A whole can of olives is only 22 grams of fat. I would probably only be able to eat half a can before I got sick of them. Black olives are fun to eat and go well with chicken or beef.
Butter has to be refrigerated but will keep forever. The butter I just bought recently doesn’t expire for 4 months. Butter is great on toast of course, but my personal favorite is button on Wheat Thins crackers for a snack.
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