As countries take tougher measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, self-quarantine and temporary business closures may affect normal eating practices. Healthy people, as well as those with symptoms of acute respiratory illness, are urged to stay at home.
Good nutrition is crucial for health, especially at a time when the immune system may need to fight back. Limited access to fresh food can compromise the opportunities to continue to eat a healthy and varied diet. It can also potentially lead to increased consumption of highly processed foods, which tend to be high in fats, sugars, and salt. Nevertheless, even with few and limited ingredients, one can continue to eat a diet that promotes good health.
In order to help individuals eat healthy during self-quarantine and isolation, here is a set of general tips, a list of “best food buys” and some examples of inspirational recipes.
Take only what you need
There have been many cases of overbought. Panic buying behavior can have negative consequences, such as increased food prices, overconsumption of food and uneven distribution of products. It is therefore important to consider your own needs, as well as those of others. Evaluate what you already have at home and plan your consumption. You might feel the urge to purchase large amounts of food, but be sure to consider and use what is already in your pantry, as well as foods with shorter shelf lives. This way, you can avoid food waste and allow others to access the food they need.
Favor fresh products
Use fresh ingredients first and those with a shorter shelf life. If fresh produce, especially low-fat fruits, vegetables and dairy products, continue to be available, choose them over non-perishable foods. Frozen fruits and vegetables can also be used for longer periods of time and often have a similar nutritional profile to fresh foods. To avoid food waste, you can consider freezing leftovers for another meal.
Prepare homemade dishes
In the course of normal daily life, many people often do not have time to prepare meals at home. Spending longer periods of time at home can now provide the opportunity to make those recipes that you didn’t have time to make before. Many healthy and delicious recipes can be found online.
Be aware of portion sizes
Getting the right portion sizes can be difficult, especially when you’re cooking from scratch. Being at home for long periods of time, especially without company or with limited activities, can also lead to overeating. Seek advice in your national food-based dietary guidelines on what constitutes healthy serving sizes for adults, and keep in mind that young children will need smaller portions.