By: Rainie Robinson, pediatric nutritionist
Having the entire family home all day during the COVID-19 pandemic can present many challenges. One of those challenges is maintaining a healthy diet. Eating fruits and vegetables is crucial to ensure our bodies are getting needed vitamins, minerals and fiber.
In some cases, fresh fruits and vegetables may be a little more difficult to find in stores. When they are available, remember to use those items first before they spoil. You can also freeze most fresh fruits and vegetables in an airtight container for approximately three months. In addition to fresh produce, frozen and canned vegetables can also provide the nutrition that we need.
If fresh produce is not available, frozen is a great option because items are frozen at peak freshness. When buying frozen produce, be sure to check the ingredients list below the nutrition facts label. Choose items that only list the fruit or vegetable to avoid added sugars and salt.
Canned items like meat or vegetables can also be good options. Just remember to look for no added salt or reduced sodium versions. Draining and rinsing canned food items can remove up to 40% of sodium. When choosing canned meat, try to use fresher varieties like chicken or tuna and avoid potted meat types like Vienna sausages as they are higher in preservatives.
Additionally, try to avoid junk foods like chips and snack cakes. These items can be appealing because of their long shelf life but are devoid of nutrition and have large amounts of salt, sugar and preservatives that can make you feel sluggish.
In the end, remember that there are no good or bad foods. Sometimes creating a balanced meal means relying on what your family has available. Give yourself grace during trying times and know that you are doing what you can to feed your family well!