Good nutrition is crucial for our health at a time when our immune system may need to fight back. Our eating practices have been challenged as we continue staying home to contain the spread of COVID-19. We’ve been asked to buy our food online, to buy only what we need and to continue practicing good food hygiene. We were also told that we may have limited access to fresh and other healthy foods.

Buying food online has been difficult for most of us and we had to resort to making our weekly trip to the grocery store. It is mainly good news for the rest. Grocery stores have made efforts to keep us safe. We are no longer finding empty shelves and there is no shortage of fresh products.

Become a smart grocery shopper

Even though there is no real evidence that the disease can be spread through contact with the food purchased I recommend we keep doing your part and continue practicing good food hygiene.

Wear a mask -and gloves- and go with a clear list so you know exactly you are looking for so you can minimize your time at the store. You should also bring disinfecting wipes so you can wipe down the cart handles.

Remember, the biggest risk when it comes to grocery shopping is being in the store itself with other people because you don’t know if they’re infected or not. So, this shouldn’t be a leisure trip, you are going in and out, moving fast, making your stay at the store as short as possible. Don’t bring your kids or double up with your spouse; just one adult member of the household at a time. Maintain social distance while you are in the store. While at the store be sure not to touch your eyes, nose or your face until you can wash your hands again.

Prioritize fresh foods like fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products over non-perishables. Consider adding frozen alternatives as they last longer and have a similar nutritional profile.

When you get home, wipe down all the packaged groceries -you can use Clorox wipes- and rinse all fresh fruit and vegetables with plain water. Not everyone feels this is necessary as most experts maintain that the risk of getting infected with any virus particles that might be on your packages is very small, but it will probably make you feel better. We know that very little virus is detectable on most surfaces after 24 hours and probably none after three days. 

Does is sound too much? It probably is, but who can complain about going the extra mile to preserve the health of your family!

Follow the principles for healthy eating

Next is to enjoy home-cooked meals with our family -something you didn’t have the time before!

But, now more than ever you should follow the principles for healthy eating.

Pay attention to portion sizes, limit your intake of fats, sugar, and salt and consume enough fiber. Avoid adding extra salt when cooking and to meals at the table. If you crave something sweet go for fresh or canned fruit. Avoid frying and choose healthy fats like fish and nuts. Consume enough fiber. Aim to include vegetables, fruit, and wholegrain foods (oats, brown pasta and rice, quinoa and whole-wheat bread), rather than refined grain foods such as white pasta, rice, and white bread. 

You can even add snacks into your healthy lifestyle. Stock the kitchen with healthy, low-calorie options, such as low-fat whole-grain crackers, whole wheat bread, raw vegetables, vegetable soups, fresh and dried fruits, canned tuna or salmon, and low- or nonfat yogurt.

Drink water regularly and avoid excess alcohol use. If you follow those principles and find ways to stay physically active, you’ll be able to maintain a healthy weight! This is important because overweight people get more severe coronary virus disease.

You can do it!