Healthy Eating During the Coronavirus, COVID-19, Crisis: Things to Keep in Mind
by, Taryn McPherson
We are living in stressful times right now with coronavirus and all the anxieties surrounding this crisis. When life gets stressful, either on a national/global level or a personal one, trying to figure out what to eat can feel overwhelming. You may also be concerned about your ability to go out and get the food you need during the coronavirus, COVID-19, crisis. This brings entire other stress and certainly not one unique to this moment for some.
I wanted to share some tips that will hopefully help to decrease some of the anxiety that may be coming up around food at this moment.
Remember the basics.
Well-rounded meals should have carbohydrates, protein, a source of fat, and some kind of fruit or vegetable. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated.
Here are foods that count as fruits and vegetables:
Canned fruits and vegetables
Frozen fruit and vegetables
100% fruit juice
V8 and other vegetable juices
Vegetables in soups
Pickles and other pickled vegetables
All of these options provide the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) we think of when we think of fresh produce. Most of them, except the juices, also provide fiber.
Not every meal has to be balanced or well rounded. Eating is better than not eating. It is important to give your body the energy it needs so it can function and keep your immune system strong. Do your best to have some fruits and vegetables each day. Try to get protein at every meal. Carbohydrates are key to keeping your energy up.
Any food that you have available to you is good food for you to eat.
Depending on what was available the last time you went to the store, the food currently in your home might look different than what you typically buy.
Here is a list of easy meals that were great ideas a month ago and are great ideas today:
Spaghetti with tomato sauce and meatballs
Rice, beans, salsa, and cheese
Tuna salad sandwich and an orange
Stir fry vegetables and protein over rice
Oatmeal with nuts and frozen fruit
Cottage cheese with jam mixed in and a side of buttered toast
Pasta with steamed broccoli, diced chicken, and a drizzle of olive oil
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich with carrot sticks and dip
Obviously this is not an exhaustive list, but all of these are well balanced, nutrient-rich meals you can use as go-to options if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Don’t forget that food does more than nourish our bodies.
Food fosters connection. Food allows us to care for and love one another through cooking and eating together. These aspects of food don’t have to be lost during times of social distancing. While you may not be able to physically have friends and family over for meals right now, we’re fortunate to have the technology available that can help us connect. I have a friend that has been live-streaming her dinner every night on Facebook and conversing with people as they comment on the stream. For something a little less public, you could FaceTime with friends or family members while both of you enjoy meals at home. Remember, food is a wonderful way to gain connection, especially at a time where we are having to stay so far apart.
Most importantly, practice self-compassion.
If you’ve struggled with an eating disorder or disordered eating you may find yourself falling back on old behaviors. This is a time of high stress and anxiety, it’s understandable to fall back on coping skills you’ve used in the past. Reach out for help if you need it. At Mindfulpath we offer telehealth, virtual groups, and individual services, including therapy, dietitian services, yoga, meditation, and case-management and we are here to help.
Take care and stay safe,