These are scary times for all of us! But is it possible to stick with healthy eating during a global pandemic. Yes, public events have been cancelled, travel is halted, schools have closed, businesses are struggling, and an economic recession is lurking. But, social distancing seems to be the only power we have right now to battle this invisible viral force that threatens life as we have known it.
Keep Calm and Cook
Mass panic is starting to set in! This is especially evident as we go grocery shopping for essentials like food, paper goods, and personal products. I understand it is human nature to stock pile in times of uncertainty, but it is not rational and certainly selfish. Ask yourself, do you really need 144 rolls of toilet paper?
Those of us with chronic and auto-immune diseases know our best defense against COVID-19 is self-care. This starts with social distancing and good personal hygiene and healthy eating during this pandemic.
But, despite the disruption, we must maintain a diet of real whole foods and nutrition. Also, we must be sure get adequate exercise, good quality sleep, and do our best to manage stress and get along.
Four Tips to Stick to Healthy Eating During a Pandemic.
1. Focus on what you have. This is critical because when we see the big picture of what we already have, we can feel empowered during these times. Gratitude eases the anxiety tempting us, this includes intangible blessings such as health, economic, and support system status. A short journal entry can solidify these gifts and I try to look at it every day.
2. Make a list and prioritize. Before you rush out to the store in a hording frenzy (or get click happy with your online cart), take a thorough inventory of what you have in stock and available to you now. Make the list, spend about 20 -30 minutes to take a complete inventory. I promise you will be better positioned to make clear-minded decisions about what you really need at the store. After you have it in writing, then prioritize what you are lacking on your list so you know what you need now.
3. Create a 2 week meal plan. Considering what you have on hand create a list of 2 week’s worth of meals/snacks. This is the meal plan will then last you 3 weeks, because you can double it and freeze, freeze, freeze. I eat mostly a whole foods plant based diet. But now, I am allowing myself flexibility in times of emergency to also include the less real food options (processed foods), usually for my children.
4. . Include your family and loved ones. Buy-in and communication is very important during times of crisis, especially with children. It is good for them to know that you are preparing, and that they have some say in the list. Also, they need to understand the importance of having health food in stock, so as a family you can all stay healthy and do what we can to avoid illness.
Control What You Can
To minimize exposure, look into online grocery ordering either to pick up at your local store. Or better yet, have it shipped to you. If that’s not and option, it would be best to go to the store early in the morning or late at night. Also, it might also be helpful to ask the store ahead of time when they expect shipments of certain items (i.e. product or paper goods), to ensure it is not a wasted trip.
Preparedness is Power During a Pandemic
Say that 5 times fast …. Preparedness is subjective and based on ones’ individual needs (and wants). Your neighbor may have a large family and feel they need 144 rolls of toilet paper. But you may know that you are fine with 60 rolls for the month. This applies to food as well.
I know for me and my family, chronic health concerns are at the heart of every choice I am making these days. Ensuring we have adequate real food (meeting my list needs) enables a calmer response during this pandemic. Knowledge is power and your list is your ticket to real food preparedness!
We will get through this alone time, together.
Here is a little about me and my journey to eating a real foods diet.