A list of things to buy to prepare for a COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in your community

Aly here. Founder and Editor of whatmomslove.com. This is an email I sent to all of our (fabulous) subscribers that I also wanted to share on our site. I usually keep things pretty upbeat and light-hearted, but after finding such a lack of information about how to prepare a family for a coronavirus disruption, I decided that a general guide could be a helpful tool.

Please keep in mind that I am obviously not a physician, so I’m not here to give any sort of medical advice, and my intention is certainly not to spread panic or fear. We must remember that for the average healthy person with no underlying conditions, COVID-19 will not be life-threatening.

But I think we have to be realistic that come mid to late March/April, it is likely that COVID-19 will be widespread in the US and have spread to other currently non-infected countries as well. This could lead to disruptions in our communities such as schools closing, remote workplaces, social distancing and supply shortages.

I believe that the time to prepare is now.

I’m not talking about going to Costco and raiding their shelves of anything-and-everything – but stocking up enough for your family to be comfortable for a 2-4 week “lockdown” period. Grabbing 1 extra pack of toilet paper, some additional canned goods, a few things for your freezer. Again, this is not about panicking, but more about being prepared.

Here are some things to consider:


I’m planning on having enough food on hand where I wouldn’t have to go out to the grocery store for at least 2 weeks. However, I’m buying things that I will still use if we’re not disrupted (which hopefully is the case), like freezer staples and shelf-stable items.

  • Frozen fruit (great for still getting nutrients and making smoothies)
  • Frozen veggies
  • Frozen pizzas, fries, nuggets, fish sticks (easy throw-in-the-oven meals if you’re sick and don’t want to cook)
  • Extra loaves of bread/bagels to freeze
  • Chicken/meat to freeze
  • Yogurt tubes (store in freezer to turn into yogurt pops)
  • Homemade meals – start making double-portions of the meals you’re already cooking so you can create a freezer stock-pile of yummy homemade dishes
  • Pasta, rice and other grains
  • Dried or canned beans
  • Bone broth
  • Soup
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Peanut Butter + Jelly
  • Canned tomatoes or favorite jarred tomato sauce
  • Kid’s snack like granola bars, popcorn, pretzels and crackers
  • Mac n’ cheese
  • Oatmeal/Cereal
  • Pancake/waffle mix
  • Electrolyte drinks (Body Armour is our fav)
  • Powdered milk/canned coconut milk or other shelf-stable nut milk
  • Coffee!

These foods can be kept in your pantry or fridge for longer periods of time:

  • Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Eggs
  • Cheese

These are the things you don’t want to run out of if everyone in your family falls sick. Just think if you got the flu, what would you need/want?

  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Hand soap
  • Hand sanitizer – there is already a shortage on hand sanitizer on sites like Amazon. Try smaller online stores instead like healthproductsforyou.com​, or see our recommendation below.
  • All-purpose cleaning spray or cleaning wipes

We highly recommend the Force of Nature system that turns regular tap water + a capsule of salt, water and vinegar into a cleaner and disinfectant as effective as bleach. It has been scientifically proven to kill 99.9% of viruses without toxic chemicals, making it safe for your family. You can use it for everything: cleaning, hand sanitizing, deodorizing and disinfecting! We did a complete review of the system here, and reached out to the company to get you a special promo code:

For 50% off & free shipping on Starter Kits click here and use code: WHATMOMSLOVE

For $35 off Value Bundles click here and use code: MOMSLOVE35


It’s one thing to be unprepared for yourself, but to not have enough formula or diapers for a child would be disastrous. These are the things you will use anyways, so having an extra stash is never a bad thing!

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Formula
  • Squeeze pouches of food

Check your medicine cabinet and make sure you have enough Tylenol/Motrin-type medicine for adults and kids/infants.

If anyone in your family relies on a prescription or over-the-counter medicine, get an extra month refill to have on hand (includes allergies).


Don’t forget your pets! Stock up on their food, treats and medications as well.


Check to make sure you’re not running low on things like:

  • Feminine Hygiene – Tampons/Pads
  • Contact Lenses + solution
  • Toiletries like toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc.
  • Batteries for thermometer, remote controls, etc.

In a scenario where schools close and you’re stuck inside with kids, what would you want to have available? A few things I grabbed that I know will keep my kids entertained:

If you want additional ideas, our Arts & Crafts guide + Best Board Games guide are a good place to start.


Wash your hands with soap for 10-20 seconds frequently, including whenever you return home from ANY activity that involves locations where other people have been. Use hand sanitizer when soap/water is not available. Keep nails short to prevent germ build-up under them.


Although regular disposable surgical masks can’t block out the virus, they CAN prevent you from touching your nose and/or mouth (we touch our nose/mouth 90x/day without knowing it!) which is how the virus can infect you, so having some on hand could be useful. That being said, it’s vital that we keep masks available for our healthcare workers, so I picked up some cheap painter’s masks from our local hardware store instead.


Keeping your body healthy and your immune system in tip-top shape is important to fight off any virus. My family is currently:

  • Taking daily Elderberry Gummies (kids take these; I take this)
  • Taking a daily probiotic (we use this one – it takes just like water!)
  • Eating a lot of oranges to get additional Vitamin C
  • Diffusing essential oils (Thieves + Lemon is a great immunity booster)
  • Rolling on Thieves Essential Oil everyday on wrists and back of neck (I was a total skeptic but I used to get 3+ colds every winter, since I started using essential oils I have had ZERO!)
  • Eating a healthy diet full of whole, real foods. Check out a.handful.of.healthy on Instagram has some greats posts about specific foods and better-for-you swaps.

Wipe down the things you touch all the time, but rarely clean, like your phone, steering wheel and computer keyboard.

For the most up-to-date information, including what to do if you think you have COVID-19, head to the CDC’s official site.

Did I miss anything? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think is missing, or what else you’re doing to prepare.

In the meantime, I’ll be staying cautiously optimistic about the whole situation, and working on new content for you as we countdown to Spring!



Similar Posts


  1. This is a great list. Thank you for putting all this info into a non panicky smart and practical resource.

  2. This is great! Just wondering if you have tips for keeping the home sanitized during this Coronavirus outbreak? I’d love a checklist to make sure I’m thinking of everything! Definitely not letting shoes come in and cleaning door knobs and high-touch areas. Any other ideas?

Comments brighten our day. Leave one here.