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Eating Healthy During Quarantine

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

We are living in strange and unprecedented times. The world has come to somewhat of a standstill, and for the first time in a long time, we’ve all been forced to change routines and habits. For many of us who were following healthy habits, it’s a tough change of pace. For others looking to improve their habits, this time of solitude could be the chance to do so. 

Regardless of where you started, now more than ever, our health must come first. There are many components that make up one’s “health,” but nutrition is arguably the most important. It may seem a bit cliche, but you really are what you eat. When you put good things into your body, you are rewarded with lots of energy, a great mood and good health. 

While quarantine may present some obstacles to healthy living, follow these tips for staying on track and eating well while staying at home. 

1. Support Local

It’s a tough time for everyone financially, whether your business is closed temporarily or you’re unable to come to work for health reasons, we all need a little support during this tough time. Supporting your local farms, shops and neighbors can be a great way to do so. Rather than getting meat, eggs, fresh produce and dairy from the grocery store, why not buy from the struggling small businesses around you? It’s a double whammy, you get the freshest of the fresh to feed yourself and your family, while at the same time helping out another’s business, which helps their family! I love Copper Penny Farm in MD and Cultivate the City in D.C.

2. Explore the social and cultural aspects of food

While it’s true that food is fuel for your body, it has the power to be so much more. Food is a commonality that everyone on earth shares, yet the food we eat is so extremely different from culture to culture and family to family. Food can be a huge part of our personal and familial identity so use this time to rediscover those bonds and unite the family around the dinner table (no phones or devices allowed). Explore some of the foods from your family’s culture, maybe even borrow some recipes from another. Experiment with new dishes, get creative and remember to have FUN in the kitchen! 

3. Use safe food handling practices

This is more important now than it ever has been. Making sure the food you ingest, the counter you cook on and the containers you store your groceries in are sanitized and healthy. Watch out for cross-contamination, be sure to thoroughly clean all surfaces with raw meat, or egg residue. Ensure you cook your meats to correct internal temperature to avoid contracting any illness or parasite. Watch out for mold on the food in the back of your fridge. Minimize time in the temperature danger zone of 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, (i.e. make sure food is either in the fridge or steaming hot). Check out USDA’s website for more info.

4. Limit Food Waste

As a society, we waste a fairly large amount of food. However, long lines and empty shelves  means we must find ways to repurpose what we already have. There are lots of wonderful tips and tricks online (Check out the Stop Wasting Food Movement online) for using parts of fruits and veggies that you didn’t even know were edible! Did you know you can saute the stringy tops of carrots? Or roast the leaves from the bottom of the cauliflower? Being sure to use all the available food resources we have is an important skill for quarantine and beneficial for an environmentally conscious future. 

5. “Shop” in your pantry

Many of us have heaps of wonderfully healthy, shelf-stable foods at our disposal, yet often only opt for the fresh foods from the store. Quarantine is the perfect time to finally clean out your pantry shelves and use up some of that saved food. Things like canned beans and vegetables, pastas, grains, stocks, nuts, and seeds can all be fantastic parts of your next meal. I’m all about simplicity, so making something like a slow-cooked soup or chili in your crock-pot can be a great way to make a hearty meal and use up lots of those different shelf-stable ingredients. Here is a delicious recipe from for a bean and veggie soup.

6. Prioritize Fresh over frozen

If you’re able to make it to the store or local farm and have fresh meat, eggs, dairy and produce, don’t forget to use those up first. There’s nothing worse than spoilt milk or rotten eggs, especially now when food is harder to get than normal. Be sure to keep the freshest items at the front of your refrigerator or counter so you remember to use it first. 

7. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

While it’s true that many of us are struggling financially, there are lots of amazing resources (local and national) to help. I’ve seen everything from Facebook groups, to neighbors donating food to each other, to food pantry deliveries, to school lunches being dropped off by bus drivers. If you’re struggling to feed yourself or your family, you aren’t alone and you shouldn’t be ashamed. The kindness of others is stronger than ever right now, don’t be scared to utilize it! Check out this website to find a food pantry near you! 

**This blog was written for and published by Got Your Back Foundation Non-Profit. See original link below:

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