Posted on Apr 02, 2020, 7 p.m.
Even though our routines may have changed dramatically over the past few weeks, and they may continue to do so, the one thing that hasn’t changed is the need to eat healthfully.
Healthy eating is always important, but now there is a pressing reason to do so to support the immune system in fending off invading pathogens such as bacteria and viruses like this COVID-19 outbreak.
However, the current state of emergency during this pandemic makes shopping for groceries a little harder and raises daunting concerns such as how to keep social distancing in place while in a crowded grocery aisle, and concern over when the last time the grocery cart was cleaned.
Millions of Americans are choosing to follow orders and stay home while there are also others at home under quarantine, as such many shops, restaurants and grocery stores are stepping up and offering delivery, online ordering, or some form of curbside pickup.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are typically the best option for eating healthy, but when shopping online this isn’t really an option, and in these uncertain times it may be best to look for items from the frozen food aisle.
Organic veggies such as whole green beans or green peas can provide a good bang for your dollar as they are typically half the price of fresh and retain more vitamin A and vitamin C compared to other frozen veggies. Don’t forget to keep them in an airtight container if you don’t use the whole bag at once.
Organic fruits like whole berries are great for snack and they are a far better choice than dehydrated berries which can lose up to half of their vitamin C content. If you want to eat them thawed, do it in the fridge as the longer frozen fruits are left at room temperature the more nutrients they will lose.
Food safety rules don’t change just because it is frozen, meaning be sure to wash all conventional produce with clean hands to reduce the risk of ingesting pesticides and other possible unwanted contaminants.
Fish contains omega-3 fats that have been found to promote heart and brain health as well as support some immune functions including the destruction of invading pathogens by white blood cells. Ordering fresh fish once more really isn’t an option, once more look to the frozen food section. Frozen fish helps you get the omegas at a reasonable price while avoiding the endocrine disrupting contaminant found in BPA coated cans that can be used to package fish.
Not all meat is equal, organic free range meat and meat raised without unnecessary antibiotics and hormones have fewer antibiotic resistant bacteria. While order fresh is typically hard, once more look to the frozen food section to obtain these selections.
Organic roasted nuts, seeds, and dried beans have a great shelf life and are great sources of protein. It is best to store raw nuts/seeds in the fridge or freezer to help preserve their nutrients and healthy fats such as vitamin E and omega-3 which will help to support the immune system.
Packaged and canned foods can be hard to navigate through the multitude of choices to pick the best nutritional bang, some even have misleading packaging and nutritional labels making it even harder. One of the best rules of thumb to follow here may be “if you aren’t sure you don't get it.” Always check the nutrition labels when it comes to canned/packaged foods for ingredients, GMO-free, BPA-free, organic certification, additives, preservatives, added sugars, sodium, and other items that may or may not be wanted. There are even some databases and apps that offer food scores to help you make healthier choices such as EWG’s Food Scores.
While shopping keep in mind that the President said we will be doing everything possible to keep the food chain open, and the FDA has said that there are currently NO nationwide shortages of food. You may find some items temporarily out of stock, but that is because of people panicking and hoarding. These temporarily out of stock items are not because there is less, it is because people are buying more than normal unnecessarily. As encouraged by the President, please don’t panic and hoard there are no shortages, only purchase what you need for the week or two.
If you are getting delivery ask for your items to be left outside of your door or ask for contact free delivery of groceries and items if available. After picking up your items to bring them inside make sure to wash your hands immediately and avoid touching your face. The CDC highly recommends washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Sanitizer is a good option if soap and water is not available, but this should be followed up with soap and water as soon as possible.
Materials provided by:
Content may be edited for style and length.
This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement