STUTTGART, Germany – Whether you’re trying to reduce trips to the grocery store or you have been asked to quarantine in your home, staying on track with healthy eating may look a little different in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stephaine Troxell, a registered dietitian with the U.S. Army Health Clinic Stuttgart, provides some helpful tips to maintain a healthy diet when you are quarantined or in isolation.
Plan ahead whenever possible. This will take some time upfront, but try to ensure that you have at least a rough plan in place for what you plan to eat for meals or snacks. Planning ahead helps prevent over buying and reduces food waste because you have a plan for how you’ll use everything on your grocery list.
Use a meal planning app or simply take a pen to paper to map out what you’re going to eat for meals and snacks over the next few weeks. Then use this meal plan to compile a list of groceries you’ll need. Now you won’t forget anything you need!
Include healthy kitchen staples. For those with more limited fridge and freezer space, here are some healthy shelf-stable pantry staples to include on your shopping list:
· Canned vegetables (choose no-salt-added or rinse well under water before eating)
· Canned fruits (choose fruits packed in juice, not heavy syrup)
· Tuna, salmon, or sardines in cans or pouches
· Dry or canned beans
· Whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, canned corn, etc.)
· Nuts and nut butters
· Liquid cooking oils (like olive or canola oil)
· Dried herbs & spices
You can also purchase longer-lasting produce including:
· Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes
Combatting boredom and stress eating. After your home is fully stocked of nutritious food for yourself and your family, we want to make sure it lasts until the quarantine is over.
It is normal to want to eat due to reasons outside of true hunger. Stress and boredom are two tempting reasons to browse the fridge. However, before you go for another snack, stop and ask yourself if you are truly hungry.
If you are not truly hungry, find an alternate solution:
· Call a friend or family member
· A quick home workout
· Do something with your hands like a craft or puzzle
Mindfulness meditation can also help you to better hone in on those subtle hunger-fullness cues you may experience, adds Troxell.
Good nutrition is the foundation for a healthy immune system. With some careful planning it is absolutely possible to maintain a healthy diet while being quarantined.