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Woman shopping for canned food

Queenslanders are being asked to stay at home unless undertaking essential activities, in order to save lives. One of those essential activities includes shopping for food. So yes, whilst it’s okay to go to the grocery store to buy food, health authorities are encouraging us to do this as safely as possible by limiting our time in store, only touch things you need to, keeping your distance from other shoppers and to only go when necessary. Being prepared, having a plan and writing a shopping list will help you do this.

Doing a weekly or a fortnightly shop, instead of picking up a few things for dinner each day, may mean you need to include more long-life foods on your list. So, we’ve compiled a list of long-life options for each of the five healthy food groups to help you continue to eat a balanced diet while limiting visits to the grocery store.

When preparing meals, try to use the foods you normally would, including fresh produce first where possible. However if your regular ingredients are not available or you have run out of fresh produce, long-life alternatives instead are great substitutes.

The below suggested long-life healthy food alternatives usually come in cans or large packets, so understanding what one serve equals will help you plan healthy and balanced meals. We’ve split the following long-life foods into the five healthy food groups and each option represents one serve of food in that food group. For example, 1 cup of frozen fruit = 1 serve of fruit and ½ cup canned vegetables = 1 serve of veggies.


Vegetables and legumes/beans
½ cup (75g) cooked dried or canned beans, chickpeas or lentils, no added salt
½ cup (75g) cooked frozen vegetables
½ cup (75g) canned vegetables (rinsed)

1 cup (150g) canned fruit preferably with no added sugar
½cup (125ml) 100% fruit juice* preferably with no added sugar
30g dried fruit* e.g. 4 dried apricot halves, 1½ tablespoons of sultanas
1 cup (150g) frozen fruit

Grain (cereal) foods
½ cup (75-120g) cooked rice, pasta, noodles, barley, buckwheat, semolina, polenta, bulgur or quinoa
½ cup (120g) cooked porridge, 2/3 cup (30g) wheat cereal flakes or ¼ cup (30g) muesli
3 crispbreads (35g)
1 crumpet (60g) or 1 small English muffin or scone (35g)
¼ cup flour (30g)

1 cup (250ml) milk – UHT long-life or reconstituted powdered
1/2 cup (120ml) evaporated unsweetened milk
1 cup (250ml) soy, rice or other cereal drink with at least 100mg of added calcium per 100ml

Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans
1 small can of fish or chicken, no added salt, not in brine
1 cup (150g) cooked dried beans, lentils, chickpeas, split peas, or canned beans
30g nuts or seeds or nut/seed butter, no added salt or sugar


Remember the number of recommended daily serves of the five food groups varies depending on your age, gender, life stage and other factors. You can find information on recommended daily serves for adults and children in the Australian Dietary Guidelines. We also have an easy-to-use kids health guidelines tool that includes daily food, sleep and physical activity recommendations for kids.

*these options should only be consumed occasionally.