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As we are all aware, every person in the world is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in some way or shape. Housebound individuals following “Shelter-in-Place” orders are currently finding themselves wondering how they will be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle during this chaotic time. Not only is there increased anxiety and uncertainty, but boredom is bound to ensue. This can elicit emotional eating habits that lead to making poor dietary choices.
In Dr. Venuturupalli’s last COVID-19 video, he emphasizes that making healthful food choices can foster a healthy immune system, which – now more than ever – is crucial. Though we do not have control over much in this present moment, we still do have a say in what we choose to put in our bodies.
In this article, Attune Health’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Natalie Fortune discusses some tips and tricks you can implement into your lifestyle to keep on track with your dietary goals.
GROCERY SHOPPING DURING A PANDEMIC
I went around to a few grocery stores this weekend to assess the situation and what I found was that most grocery stores in the Los Angeles area are stepping up in response to this pandemic. Here are some of my observations:
WHAT KIND OF FOOD IS AVAILABLE?
I know that when the first wave of uncertainty and panic hit, many people rushed to the grocery store and grabbed whatever food they could. Things seemed to have settled down since then, at least a bit. At this time, grocery stores still have their supply chain available and are getting regular shipments of fresh food items.
This is good news for anyone following an anti-inflammatory diet, because, even though everyone’s best food choices will differ from one person to the next, an anti-inflammatory diet is always surrounded around “Whole Foods.” This term includes food that have not been processed or refined and are free from additives or other artificial substances. As the current situation evolves, every day is different. But for the most part, in Los Angeles at least, fresh foods are available.
WHAT IF I CAN’T GET TO A GROCERY STORE?
At this time, there are still services delivering groceries, so if you are not able to go to the store for any reason, this is an option. Also, asking a family member or friend to go for you is a route you could take. A lot of stores offer pick up, so you could put in a detailed order and then a friend or family member could just pick it up!
I’M INSIDE THE GROCERY STORE. WHAT CAN I DO TO PROTECT MYSELF FROM COVID-19?
For most, grocery shopping is a mindless task; people have their routines and they stick to them. With this pandemic, however, your approach should be altered to best protect yourself and your loved ones.
Travel light! The less you bring into the grocery store, the better.
Go to the grocery store with the right equipment!
Wear the right clothes.
Practice social distancing in the grocery store. When checking out, go for the self-checkout if the store has it, and be mindful of keeping 6 feet between yourself and fellow shoppers.
When loading your groceries into your car, designate one place for exposure. Ideally, this should be the trunk to limit exposure. Disinfect that area when you get home.
WHAT KINDS OF FOOD SHOULD I PURCHASE?
When you do make it into the grocery store, you need to go in with a plan. Plan to get two weeks of groceries, if you can. The less you go to the store, the better. I suggest making a meal plan for you and your family. A few basic steps of meal planning include:
Other tips for meal planning include:
HOW DO I KEEP FROM SNACKING WHEN I’M HOME AND BORED ALL THE TIME?
Being in a state of boredom and anxiety – given the current circumstances – is bound to lead anyone to start snacking, more than they normally would. A few tips to avoid mindless snacking include:
Everyone, including myself, is trying to figure out the best ways to stay healthy during this unique situation. Obviously, this is a crazy time, and we are all learning how to live in this new world. But, these habits and practices will be helpful when we go back to “normal” life. Taking a little time to plan ahead will help you to achieve and maintain your health goals.