By Brittany Nelson, Corporate Wellness Supervisor
Cooking for your family can be challenging on a good day, let alone while social distancing. While your trips to the grocery store may be fewer and far between, here are some tips to help keep your family nourished and happy at mealtime.
Dispose of old food to make room for essentials. Clean out your pantry and throw out expired food or food you or your family will not be eating. This will help make space for more important staples in your pantry. Don’t forget to check your refrigerator and freezer as well—you may have items you’ve forgotten about that you can still use!
Focus on the staples and nutritious food.
- Protein: Canned fish, low-sodium beans, frozen meat, eggs, fresh meat when possible (this can be frozen as well).
- Veggies: Frozen or canned (low sodium). Some ideas include tomatoes, peas, green beans, carrots or low sodium vegetable soups.
- Fruit: Frozen or packaged (without added syrup/sugar, look for “in water”).
- Grains: Whole wheat pastas, quinoa, brown rice, oats, whole wheat bread, bagels.
- Dairy: Milk, powdered milk, Greek yogurt, ice cream.
- Healthy Fats: Olive oil, canola oil, various nuts, nut butter (i.e. peanut or almond butter).
Utilize any free time by trying a new recipe or preparing large batches of food to freeze. Make family favorites like chili, pasta, meatballs or soup. You can store leftovers in the freezer, giving you more options to choose from later. This will help mix things up and keep meals interesting as you rotate stored options.
Buy fresh produce (if you’re not quarantined). Buy and use fresh fruit and veggies if you’re still able to go to the store. Be sure to eat these items first—before packaged, frozen or canned items—so nothing goes to waste!
Drink plenty of water and electrolytes. Tap water or bottled water is great for staying hydrated. Ideally, you should try to drink at least 64 oz. of water per day. It may also be helpful to buy a few low sugar sports drinks as well in case someone becomes ill.
Don’t forget to include your children. If your children are old enough, include them in the food prepping process. This is a great opportunity for them to watch and learn.
Make the most of mealtimes. While social distancing may have its downfalls, never forget that this can also be a special time with your family. Try to eat your meals together at the table—something that surely will help create some positive memories during a difficult time.