So you might be home for a while? Be prepared by making soups to keep in your freezer.

By Danielle Susi-Dittmore

One thing is certain about the outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19). Normal life is being disrupted. With school and event cancellations and calls for people to work remotely, the virus will affect how a great many of us live. Social distancing is quickly becoming the term of the times.

Bottom line, now is a good time to get prepared. Stocking your freezer with simple, healthy meals, like soup, is a smart way to start. Soups are easy to make, freeze, and reheat, making them an uncomplicated choice for equipping you and your family with food for several days.

Once cooled, soups can lay flat in freezer-safe gallon bags. Freezing flat means you are able to stack several on top of one another and fill your fridge with options. Chilis and grain-based soups freeze particularly well. When making soups that include dairy products like milk or cream, save those to add during the reheating process. Vegetables and pastas can also be added late, or can be undercooked initially to allow for more cook time while reheating.

Here’s a clever idea for making quick soups out of leftovers. Dr. Julia Skinner, the founder of Root, an Atlanta-based food history and fermentation company, says that roasting a pan of vegetables for dinner one night and throwing leftovers in the blender with chicken or vegetable stock can make an easy soup to freeze for later when you may be home or in quarantine.

Another way that soups are a smart choice? They often contain lots of fluid and typically incorporate plenty of vegetables -- both essential for your well-being, especially when you may be feeling under the weather. "Fresh produce and fermented foods are really important for all areas of your health, including immunity," Skinner says. "Having healthy options increases the likelihood you'll reach for something nourishing rather than a preservative or sugar-laden processed food."

Preparing your family for some stuck-at-home time is fairly painless and, of course, making preparations while you have access to grocery stores and other resources is encouraged. Worst case scenario: nothing much happens to disrupt your life, and you’re left with a bunch of delicious, nutritious soups to enjoy.

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