A woman wears a mask while shopping in a grocery store. AP
Staying healthy during this COVID-19 pandemic should be high on your list of priorities. Since we have all been directed to stay home and not go out unnecessarily, shopping for essentials for the next few weeks is stressing everyone out.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. Here are some easy tips you can follow:
1. Don’t buy in bulk
First of all, and most importantly, take care to not over purchase and maintain your weekly, or monthly, grocery routine. Only purchase things that you commonly use and the ones that you know you will use within two weeks.
2. Make a list
Double check the pantry, fridge and freezer and make a list of food that you need and that will last long. Ever loaded your cart with snacks and chocolates you didn’t need only to realise you forgot to pick up that essential item that you actually needed? We have all been there.
3. Consider the alternatives
While dairy and fresh produce are staples for many households, don’t forget shelf-stable alternatives or frozen options. Go for powdered milk, for example, and frozen or canned fruits and vegetables. These items are convenient to have on hand.
4. Check expiration dates
As you are shopping, look for items you can use in multiple ways. Fresh milk, for instance, is good for up to four days while long life milk will last longer.
5. Think of a new routine for you and your family
Your kids and spouse are home now so you might want to have extra ingredients on hand for when they want to snack on something, like peanut butter and jelly for sandwiches, or flour and sugar for when you want to bake with your kids.
6. Don’t forget freezer bags
Remember, certain food, especially if you won’t use it immediately, also can be stored in the freezer. Berries and bananas can be frozen to be used for fruit smoothies later on. Protein, like beef and chicken, can last for about four months in the freezer. Fish, cheese and bread also freeze well. Make sure, when it’s time to use it, you defrost it safely. You need to continue to clean and disinfect your food prep station to avoid contamination.
7. Exercise at least four days a week
Gyms may be closed, but there are still plenty of options to get in a good workout at home. All you need is a yoga mat, some dumbbells, a skipping rope and YouTube. Your gym might even be hosting free classes on social media.
8. Take a nap
During times of uncertainty and stress, sleep is crucial to allow the body to rest and heal. Try to go to bed at the same time every night, maybe sleep in a little bit later than you normally would because you’re not rushing to get to the office. Aim to get between seven and nine hours of sleep, which is what most adults need.
One way to help promote sleep is through meditation. A lot of studies suggest that meditation can improve sleep and help you better cope with stress and anxiety.
Maintaining a healthy diet is always important, but even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic. With more time on your hands and fewer options to dine out, this could be a good time to try some dietary changes to make a difference in your overall health. Try eating more whole foods, reducing your processed foods, sugar and junk food intake.
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