For safety concerns, we are told to self-quarantine until further notice. This is not a drill. I repeat: this is not a drill. At SuperKids Nutrition, we stand by the safety recommendations and encourage people to act responsibly. While it may be difficult, it’s important not to panic. Your home is more prepared than you think for the Coronavirus quarantine.
First thing’s first — it’s important to be aware of the food that you have in both your fridge and freezer. Make a list of your items and take note of their expiration dates. Then, keep this handy list in mind as you meal prep. While you may have been excited to dig into your carrots, they will last much longer than your fresh spinach. During the lockdown, get in the habit of minimizing waste and maximizing your food supply.
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Fundamental nutrition starts with basic ingredients. In the event of a Coronavirus quarantine, you may want to prioritize the following items in your home.
A true plant-based powerhouse! Legumes are not only a source of complex carbohydrates but protein as well. These fibrous foods are also loaded with vitamins, minerals, and immune-boosting phytonutrients (compounds that give plants their colors). For creative ways to use legumes, don’t forget to check out “5 ways to use lentils.”
Everyone’s ole, reliable go-to lunch for generations. But times have evolved from the classic tuna-fish sandwich. There are now a ton of nutrient-rich, canned fish products for you and your family to explore: Salmon. Sardines. Anchovies. Trout. Clams. Oysters. Herring. The list goes on!
Whole grains are a vital carbohydrate source that feeds both the body and the brain. They also promote digestive health and serve as a main source of energy. Opt for high-fiber varieties such as whole wheat, quinoa, barley, oats, buckwheat, and more. While some of these grains may be unfamiliar, this is a wonderful opportunity to introduce new foods into your children’s lives. Perhaps switch up spaghetti night with a more fibrous and nutrient-dense quinoa pasta! Even food clubs now sell precooked, vacuum-packed whole-grain mixtures that can easily be added to salad or burrito bowls.
Packed with vitamins and minerals, canned fruits and veggies are both inexpensive and convenient. These brilliant colors can brighten up even the gloomiest of days in confinement. Select low-sodium or unseasoned options for a heart-healthy and nutritious choice for the whole family. But, before you dive into a hearty can of beans, be sure to inspect the state of its packaging. Is it in good condition? Don’t use any can that is cracked, leaking, bulging, heavily dented, or rusted. If the structure of the can has been compromised, bacteria may enter and make the product unsafe to eat. Also, make sure that your cans are always stored in a dry place that is below 85 degrees F. Avoid storing your pantry goods in cabinets above the stove, or areas that may contribute to food spoilage like a hot garage. (1) The last thing you need under quarantine is a food safety issue. See our guides Food Expiration Dates -Guidelines and Charts or When to Toss It? Food Expiration Guidelines!
Tip: If low-sodium options are unavailable, it’s okay! You can rinse your canned vegetables to remove the excess salt. In fact, rinsing canned vegetables can remove about 40% of its sodium contents. Say goodbye to unnecessary salt. Also, you can buy canned fruit in its own juices. No need to rinse. Freeze the leftover natural juice for popsicles or a tasty slushy. Just because resources are limited does not mean that nutrition needs to be compromised.
Health Staple: With every color comes different vitamins and phytonutrients, all with their own unique role in your health! The key is to diversify your fruits and vegetables. Don’t discriminate! Use your time in Coronavirus quarantine to explore new flavor profiles. Keep the immune system strong by loading up on fruits (RDA: 2 servings/day) and vegetables (RDA: 3 servings/day).
Long-lasting fresh produce
Everyone wants to avoid a crowded grocery store right now. So, you’re going to want to be strategic with which fresh fruits and vegetables you should buy. The trick is to buy long-lasting produce and to avoid a fridge full of wilted greens. Luckily, this type of produce comes in all colors. Don’t forget to make your grocery basket as vibrant as possible so that you maximize your phytonutrient intake.
If strategically selected and maintained under adequate storing conditions, it’s possible to maintain fresh produce for a longer period of time. (6)
Pro Nutrition Storage Tips: While some produce may be more long-lasting than others, it’s still suggested to date all of your food items. Eat in the order of the nearest expiration dates, so as to minimize food waste and maximize your grocery dollars. If you have produce-saving storage bags, now is also the time to use them. Also, don’t store potatoes next to onions, the gases that they each emit will cause the degradation of both vegetables.
It’s easy to rely on your favorite junk food while stuck at home. But, if you are looking for a nutrient-dense snack, consider swapping the handful of chips for nuts. Almonds. Peanuts. Cashews. Pistachios. Walnuts. Sunflower seeds. The possibilities are endless. Feel free to enjoy them whole or as a spread. Add nuts and seeds for a boost of healthy fats and savory goodness to Greek yogurt, oatmeal, or your favorite whole-grain toast. If someone in the family has a nut allergy, stick to using sunflower, flax, or chia seeds. Also, a hearty cracker topped with almond butter, banana slices, and a few chocolate chips can really stave off a sweet craving when there are no sweets at home. Check out our Nut and Bolts of Nut and Seed Butters.
In a way, if you’re fortunate enough to be able to stay at home, make the best of it. If you decide to get the house organized -see our tips on how to declutter your kitchen and what you forgot to spring clean. In the end, this situation can be both overwhelming and stressful. But with the appropriate preparation, you can ensure the safety and well-being of your family. Utilize these staple resources and try to find comfort in this new normal. As isolating as this Coronavirus quarantine may feel, you are not alone. Gain some insights into maintaining your well-being during COVID19.
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