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Making Smart Food Choices for your Family

Studies are showing that observing public health measures and reducing exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) are required to slow the spread of this disease. But, staying at home during this pandemic has been challenging for everyone. With work and school schedules disrupted, and entire families home together all day, the loss of a daily routine can increase anxiety. One of the drivers for this increase in anxiety seems to be uncertainty, which can throw plans for healthy eating out the window. Increased stress, anxiety and boredom can cause people to abandon their healthy eating habits and snack on whatever is around.

Now, more than ever, healthy eating is especially important for your health and in keeping your immune system in top condition. Here are some steps to help you make smart food choices in these uncertain times.

Make a daily schedule: Life looks significantly different than it did just a couple of months ago. There’s no need to plan every minute of the day but having a daily schedule can help your family get their footing. Knowing approximately when meal and snack times are will ensure that you and your family are not munching all day.

Plan ahead for groceries: Prior to shopping, take time to plan. Check your pantry, refrigerator and freezer and consider how you can use the items that you already have, so your shopping focuses on what you really need and will use. Be realistic about what you need. Don’t panic and purchase too many items. Buy foods you commonly use and that you know your family will eat.

Think nutrition: The healthiest meals emphasize whole grains, vegetables, and fruits—serve them in the greatest amounts. Also, load up on dairy, healthy fats, and lean proteins. It’s okay to enjoy the occasional “comfort food” or “treat” for the family. But try to limit those to once or twice a week instead of daily.

Manage your environment: Buy fewer processed, high-salt and high-sugar snacks when shopping. If candy and cookies are simply not in the pantry, then you can’t eat them.

These are certainly challenging times. But we are all in this together. With a little thought and planning, you can continue to make good food choices for your and your family and maybe even boost your mood and immune system while doing so!

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