The COVID-19 virus has sent the world into crisis mode.
In recent days, grocery store shelves have been ransacked, and it's not unusual to see lines of people stretching out into supermarket parking lots.
In the thick of all this uncertainty, it's easy to want to rush out and stock up on even more food but there's really no reason to panic.
Most communities aren't in quarantine yet, but people are being told to practice social distancing.
Meanwhile, stores are working with their suppliers to restock those shelves as quickly as possible.
And it's important that you stock up on healthy foods that you and your family love to eat—not to mention grocery items that have a long shelf life.
Of course, products like canned goods, dry pasta, and rice will all last for a good long while… but aside from these obvious essentials, what are some other items you should buy?
Brigitte Zeitlin, a registered dietitian and owner of BZ Nutrition, recently told Business Insider: "When you're not quarantined and have access to all the food shopping you can handle, prepping some things to put in the freezer will add some diversity, which you'll need if you're eating the same stuff for two weeks."
Zeitlin suggested preparing large batches of freezer-friendly foods like chili, pasta sauce, and meatballs, and planning to shop for those ingredients even before you even step out the door.
Nutrition expert and Cleverful Living creator, Holley Grainger, told NBC News, "Whether I'm adding a can to chili, using it in pasta sauce, making a quick skillet shakshuka or topping meatloaf, canned diced tomatoes are a simple way to boost the nutrition of my favorite recipes regardless of the season."
She goes on to say: "Canned tomatoes are an excellent source of the antioxidant lycopene and they're bursting with a variety of nutrients such as vitamin C, fiber, iron and potassium."
You should also make sure to hit up the cereal aisle because dry cereals, granola, oatmeal, and grits are all high in fiber and fortified with loads of minerals and vitamins.
Beyond that, cereal is convenient and easy to make, and it can serve as a complete meal with or without milk.
It's a healthy option that will leave you feeling satiated and full, and it works anytime as a comforting snack for your whole family.
Also, make sure that you pick up plenty of dark chocolate.
Yes, you heard that right.
As The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, a study performed by the University of Hull found that dark chocolate is an even better cough suppressant than cough syrup.
Again, you heard that right.
"They believe the chocolate's sticky consistency actually coats the throat nerves' endings, suppressing that tickling urge to cough."
Reportedly, there's an alkaloid in cocoa called theobromine that may work at suppressing coughs, and not to state the obvious, but it's really quite delicious, certainly far tastier than your average cough syrup.
So make a point to add dark chocolate to your list when it comes time to stock or restock your household pantry for a potential quarantine.
Oh, and since you're going to be eating a bunch of dark chocolate, you may want to consider picking up a few bottles of red wine, too.
Also, keep in mind that grocery items like dark chocolate can be quite comforting in times of stress.
In fact, research suggests that eating dark chocolate may actively improve your mood.
One study found that dark chocolate bars with a high concentration of cacao work best, think 70 percent or more.
We strongly recommend adding a few of these high-powered chocolate bars to your cart the next time you stock up.
Regardless of what you currently have in your kitchen, don't let anxiety take over.
There are plenty of online delivery services with no-contact options that can be used to help stock your shelves and minimize human interactions.
Amazon Fresh, Peapod, and Blue Apron are all operational, and they're all fantastic options.
And don't discount all those pizza chains in your neighborhood that offer delivery.
Pizza is great for leftovers and it freezes well.
Just remember to tip your driver, even if he leaves your pie on the porch.