Nutrition During the Pandemic

During the current pandemic, our routines have shifted and “normal” days have started to blend together. Is it Monday or Thursday?  For many, school has started, helping to restore a little more routine but in order to limit the spread of disease life is different than how we’ve known it.  Among these are limiting sports activities and social gatherings which often include food. This increase of spare time and decrease of social activities have left many wondering: How can I stay social, active, and engaged, without putting myself at risk of contracting COVID-19?

In addition to news outlets, the discussion of health and healthiness has been constant on social media. Specifically, Instagram has been inundated with tricks and tips on how to stay healthy. Influencers boast solutions to staying healthy during a pandemic such as apple cider vinegar tonics, eating cloves of garlic, special work out routines and even limiting the intake of certain foods. And while these might sound great and like an easy solution, the reality is that none of these claims are based on scientific research. On the contrary, nutrition and health researchers have been trying their best to send one consistent message: the key to staying healthy during this pandemic is by wearing a mask, staying socially distant, and washing your hands frequently. While having a balanced and satisfying diet, combined with mindful movement, are evidence-based approaches to health, no dietary supplement or specific food will prevent COVID-19 transmission.

So, back to our original question…How can I stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic? The best way to stay healthy during the pandemic is to take care of yourself! This is an emotional and stressful time, and taking care of our basic needs is the first step towards wellbeing.  If you didn’t know, one of the best ways to manage stress is by taking care of your nutritional needs. So, what does this look like in practice?

  • Eating every meal (yes, this means breakfast even after sleeping in!)
  • Trying your best to incorporate every food group at each meal- that means fruits and/or veggies, grains, protein, and fat.
  • Drinking adequate water
  • Eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full

The best nutrition advice during the pandemic is to follow the above mentioned steps, ignore Influencers who claim to be “experts”, and remember to wear a mask and stay socially distant!

-Dietitian Kelsey