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Staying Well During COVID-19: Eating Well by GPA
To avoid the spread of Coronavirus, we are all doing our part to stay home. This means we are relying on our own culinary skills instead of going out to eat. Well here’s the good news you can still maintain a healthy, affordable and versatile diet all from the comfort of your own kitchen. By eating well and increasing your consumption of foods high in nutrients and antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables, you can improve your immune system and ability to fight off sickness. See tips below to maintaining a healthy, yet affordable diet.
Budget Friendly Tips for Eating Right
- Choose affordable protein options like beans, lentils, quinoa, nut butters, ground turkey and chicken.
- Avoid recipes that need expensive or special ingredients. Look for substitutions or stick with simple recipes.
- Make soups or other combination meals to stretch your ingredients. Try a chicken vegetable soup in the crockpot or a ground turkey stir fry over rice.
- Stock up on canned and frozen vegetables to add to dishes and use as sides.
- If possible, plan meals around items that are on sale and buy items in bulk.
- Do an inventory of your pantry, refrigerator and freezer before shopping. Make a list of these items and look for recipes that include these ingredients. Use what you have before buying more.
- Buy less packaged snack items and include more vegetables and fruit – even if these are frozen or canned.
- Plan at least one meatless meal a week and plan to use leftovers for lunches.
- Keep meals simple (think egg whites, whole wheat toast and a side of blueberries for breakfast) and be flexible, as stores are seeing high demand and many items are out of stock.
- ChooseMyPlate.gov offers a list of budget-friendly recipes.
Grocery Shopping Accommodations
Grocery stores vary by region, but many stores are offering special accommodations during this difficult time. Due to high demand, many items are out of stock. For this reason, place your order in advance but order only enough food for the following week. This will allow stores to better control supply and demand. See options below for how you can get your groceries, but still maintain social distancing.
Food Delivery, Pickup, and Curb-side:
- Walmart – delivery, pickup, and curb-side
- Amazon Fresh – delivery
- Target – same day delivery and pickup
- Sam’s and Costco – grocery pickup and delivery
- Local Grocery Stores – call or visit your local grocery store’s website for delivery and pick up options
- Elderly Hours – many stores across the nation are opening their doors early to those over 65. Check your local store to see if they are offering special hours for seniors.
- Adjusted Store Hours – be sure to check store hours before heading to the store, as many are altering their hours to adjust for inventory stocking and sanitation.
Include Supplements & Immune Boosting Foods
The supplements we take and the food we eat influences our bodies immune response to infection. Some important nutrients that are essential to boost our immune response are Probiotics, Vitamin C and Vitamin D.
- Foods high in probiotics are yogurt, kefir, and fermented foods like kombucha, miso, tempe.
- Foods high in Vitamin C are strawberries, guava, cantaloupe, brussels sprouts, green bell peppers, oranges, kale, broccoli, papaya, and pineapple.
- Vitamin D is fortified in some foods like milk, oatmeal and cereals. It is also found in fish like salmon, sardines and other seafood. To get adequate vitamin D it is important to get out in the sun for a few minutes a day as well as take a daily supplement. Ask your physician about testing your vitamin D levels to see how much you should be taking.
Additional Food Resources During COVID-19
During this difficult time, it may be hard to find the foods that you want, or to afford the foods that you need. If you are currently on a strict budget, but need extra food, below are some resources you may find helpful:
- Public Schools – many public school districts are offering curb-side/to-go meals for children while school is on hold. Check with your local district to see where, when, and who these are available to as it may vary for each district.
- 211 – Dial “211” on your phone or visit their website to receive help. This website offers information on food assistance, Mental Health during the crisis, and a variety of additional resources specific to your location.
- The government has set-up Benefits.gov, that provides various options for benefits and relief during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Feeding America has a search tool to find local food banks.
- USDA National Hunger Hotline – call the USDA National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273). Information is available in English and Spanish. The hotline operates Monday through Friday, 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM Eastern Time.
- Burger King – In response to what’s going on, Burger King is giving out two free kids meals with the purchase of an adult meal. The offer will be available through mobile and online ordering services.
- Ask for help – if you have family members or friends that can assist, I am sure they would be willing to help if they can during this time of crisis.
Let’s all provide a helping hand to those struggling during this difficult time through one of the below avenues:
- Donate to Feeding America, No Kid Hungry, Meals on Wheels, your Local Foodbank or your favorite charity of religious organization.
- Give your elderly neighbors a call to ensure they are taken care of and have what they need to get through the next week or two.
- MOST IMPORTANT – play your part in social distancing to ensure you do not spread the disease. Use online shopping options as much as possible.
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