There is little doubt that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting every aspect of our lives – from virtual classrooms to telecommuting to early restaurant closing times to outright quarantines. Observing public health measures and reducing exposure to the virus are required to slow the spread of this disease. No one knows how long these virus safety measures will need to stay in place, but it presents a perfect time to protect and improve your health while practicing social distancing. Healthy eating is especially important for keeping your immune system in top condition. Here are some steps you can take to eat healthy in the times of COVID-19.
Think nutrition. The healthiest meals emphasize whole grains, vegetables, and fruits – serve them in the greatest amounts. Meat portions should be smaller – this will save money and help keep dietary saturated fat in check.
Make a shopping list – And use it! You’ll be less like to forget items or buy impulse items.
Minimize trips to the supermarket during the pandemic and eat healthy.
Plan ahead. Visualize breakfast, lunch, and dinner for at least five days. What will you serve? What do you need? Consider the foods your family likes, your food preparation methods, interests and skills, and the time and energy you will have for preparing meals. Working from home may not mean there is more time to cook – especially if you are now responsible for teaching your kids and doing the work your employer expects.
Stock up on nutrition-packed foods that will stay fresh for a week or longer.
• Breads – Corn tortillas, whole grain English muffins, bagels, breads, wraps, frozen whole wheat waffles
• Grains – Instant oatmeal, quick cooking pasta, frozen brown rice, couscous, refrigerated pizza crust
• Fruits – Sturdy fresh fruit (apples, citrus), dried, plain frozen, canned in juice or water
• Vegetables – Sturdy fresh veggies (celery, broccoli, onions, potatoes), plain frozen, low sodium canned, sun-dried
• Sauces – Tomato pasta sauce, salsa
• Soups and Broths – Canned, frozen, shelf-stable cartons
• 100% Juice – Refrigerated, frozen, canned, boxed
• Milk – Fresh, canned, shelf-stable packages
• Eggs – Fresh eggs, egg whites in cartons
• Cheese – Sliced, cubed, shredded, crumbled, grated hard cheese
• Beans/Legumes – Canned beans (black beans, chickpeas), dry beans
• Nuts and seeds – Bagged, canned, nut butters
• Chicken – Frozen or canned
• Seafood – Frozen ready-to-cook fish fillets, frozen shrimp, canned tuna, salmon, and sardines.
• Flavorings – Add zing with dried herbs and spices, vinegars, mustard, hot/steak sauces, lemon/lime juice, light dressings, honey, Greek yogurt.
Go easy on the frozen dinners – most are high in sodium, fat, and calories.
Limit purchases of tempting foods like chips, sodas, cookies, and ice cream. They are high in empty calories and run up your grocery bill.
Keep costs down – Try a meatless meal, like chili with beans instead of beef. If fresh fruits and veggies are too costly—remember, canned and frozen fruits and vegetables provide the same nutrients as fresh. Best bets are plain frozen veggies and fruits. Go for low sodium canned veggies and fruits canned in juice or water—if these are in short supply, buy regular canned fruits and veggies—drain and rinse before use.
While at the supermarket during the Coronavirus pandemic…
Use a disinfecting wipe – Wipe your hands and grocery cart handle, then put the wipe in the trash.
Prepared for the unexpected – Supermarkets are running low on many items. Be sure to take your own bags. Be ready with a back-up plan if an ingredient you need is unavailable.
Keep the less fortunate in mind – Contribute to local pantries and soup kitchens now. Then, when it is all over – donate extra food you stocked up on that is still fresh and safe to eat.
Use contactless payment or credit cards. If you use the payment keypad, tap the buttons and screen with your knuckle – then use hand sanitizer after completing your payment.
Keep your heart and mind centered on where our help comes from. “Our help comes from the Lord.” “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
To your health and happiness,
Partial Reprint: nutrition.org
Dot High-Steed is a Health and Life Coach, who has over 25 years of experience in health/wellness, business and education.
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