If you’ve never had a reason to practice healthy eating habits before, the wave of deaths caused by the Coronavirus should be the perfect one. Now more than ever, it’s important we take care of ourselves – and changing your diet is a great approach in doing so. Here’s how you can take action.
Choose Food & Ingredients Wisely
Everything you put in your body matters. However, social distancing makes it difficult to keep a steady stock of fresh food. To limit the number of times you go out and also stay full while under quarantine, healthy options such as grains and frozen produce are among the best investments you can make.
Canned beans and vegetables free from GMOs and high-fructose corn syrup make great options, as well as grains. Take note that shoppers are stockpiling the aforementioned food recommendations. Across the country, frozen fruit sales are up 7%, dried beans are up 10%, and water is up 5%. With this being said, try to only buy what you need but, in the event you over-shop, most bread, cheese, and deli meat will keep well in the freezer until you need to use them.
Cook at Home and Find New Recipes
If going to the grocery store puts you in harm’s way of potentially contracting the virus, wouldn’t it also endanger the health of those delivering to you? In other words, limit the amount of food and grocery delivery you receive, and increase the amount of cooking you do at home. With simple ingredients, you can make a wide variety of hearty meals.
When cooking, be intentional about meal prepping and portion control. You should avoid over-eating highly processed snacks such as cookies, crackers, and chips. Instead, opt for low-fat food such as popcorn, nuts, and nut butters.
For main courses, turning to a slow-cooker or InstaPot can be very helpful. Not only do these work in the background so you can continue your day of remote work or eLearning, but they also provide savory tastes. Pairing rice or pasta with a protein, such as fish for lunch and dinner, can help you feel fuller much longer.
However, it’s understandable that meal planning may be more difficult given that many grocery items are in short supply. Apps such as Forks Over Knives, Good Food, and Tasty provide thousands of recipes – many being vegan and plant-based. Going more in-depth, Allrecipes and Supercook can help you search for recipes using the ingredients you have on hand, and Drop can help you find substitutes for ingredients that are out of stock.
How Grocers and Retailers are Adapting
Many national retail chains have announced early morning, senior-only shopping hours – and increased overnight cleaning to protect their shoppers. Stores implementing these practices include Dollar General, Walmart, Whole Foods, and Target.
In March, Amazon announced it will prioritize shipping and delivering household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products. The corporate giant will also hire 100,000 new fulfillment center and distribution network workers, as well as raise base pay for their employees from $15 to $17 to compensate for the rush.
Similarly, non-profits are getting involved as well. MusicallyFed donated 24,000 meals intended to be served at events at L.A.’s Staples Center to shelters and missions. No Kid Hungry, City Meals on Wheels, and God’ Love We Deliver have taken action for those at risk as well. Understanding how corporations are doing their part, here’s how you can do yours.
Precautions To Take at the Grocery Store
First off – if you lie within a vulnerable group, ask a friend or family member to shop for you. On the other hand, although we’re advised to stay indoors, we can’t get healthy foods without going to the supermarket. Here’s what you can do to stay protected.
Revisiting my previous advice, make a grocery list to limit the time you spend out of your home and exposed to others. When you do decide to go out, it’s important you avoid peak shopping times – such as rush hours (i.e. when the workday ends), and be mindful of staying 6-feet away from others.
In further action, use wipes and gloves when grocery shopping – or in any public setting. Wipe down your grocery cart and any refrigerator doors you grab frozen meals or food out of. Also, be wary of grabbing any exposed grocery items without gloves.
Learn more about healthy eating under quarantine from the infographic below.