Eating Well During a Pandemic

April 01, 2020

Eating Well During a Pandemic

Who thought at the beginning of 2020 that we'd be going through months of staying at home, practising physical distancing? The pandemic has changed the way we work, the way we socialize, and the way we engage with the world around us. With businesses closed or limiting their operating hours, COVID-19 may have also changed the way you shop, eat, and get active. 

If you feel that you're not eating the way that you normally would during this time, that's perfectly ok. Periods of stress can cause a wide spectrum of reactions when it comes to food. Some people want to eat all the time, and others lose their appetite. Not having access to foods you normally do, or even the ability to shop as frequently as you were before may be drastically changing your eating habits.

Here are a few tips to help you eat well during the pandemic, however, keep in mind that eating "well" may look very different person to person.

1. Plan your meals and shop accordingly

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not great at meal planning, but right now while we are trying to hit up the grocery store as infrequently as possible, it’s a necessity. If you love to plan things to the last detail, perfect, pick some recipes and plan away. If you like to go based on how you feel that day like I do, pick a few meals that look interesting as well as a few easy favourites to throw into the mix. That way you at least have things on hand when you need them.

2. Don't fear frozen or canned fruits and vegetables

They are equal to fresh when it comes to nutrition quality and they last a lot longer, which is great for when you want to keep trips to the grocery store to a minimum. 

3. Opt for plant-based proteins

Different types of beans, lentils, and chickpeas can be bought canned or dried and they have a long shelf-life, making them ideal when there are long stretches between grocery shops. They're also incredibly cost-effective. We often use beans as a way to extend our meat as well. For example, we often make tacos using a mix of black beans and ground beef.

4. Develop a system to keep track of things going in and out of your freezer

This can help you remember what you have in there, as well as help you to use the oldest items first. This helps to avoid the dreaded freezer burn and helps ensure that food doesn't go to waste.

5. Repurpose your leftovers

Some people can eat the same thing over and over, and some can't. If you can't, think of ways you can cook once and repurpose what you have. For example, for dinner tonight we're having a whole chicken. Tomorrow any leftovers will be used for chicken salad sandwiches for lunch and chicken soup for dinner. That way we're using up everything we cooked, but not eating the same thing.

6. Find fun ways to be active 

With everything closed, you likely can't move your body in the way that you're used to. This may be the perfect time to try something new - get out for a walk, do an at-home workout, have a dance party in your living room. Don't feel pressured to do what others are doing. If you need a rest, take a rest.

This is a strange time for everyone. Listen to your body, give yourself some compassion and permission to eat a bit differently than usual.

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