Eating right is a must even before the pandemic started, but it’s even more important now when we need to be in good health to better our chances to weather through this situation. We may have gotten used to the ready-to-eat processed foods when we were constantly on the go, but this quarantine may actually provide us with the opportunity to try eating healthier for a change.
To help you get started on eating right in quarantine, here are some tips on proper meal preparation and some suggestions for meals.
Prepare Your Meals the Safe Way
This may seem like a no-brainer but while there’s no evidence that the coronavirus can be transmitted via food, it’s still recommended that we practice proper food safety procedures carefully. Bacteria like salmonella can contaminate our food, and getting food poisoning in the middle of a pandemic is something we all want to avoid.
- Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds before and after food preparation and eating.
- Wash fresh produce carefully before cooking or consumption.
- Make sure that raw food and cooked food are not stored or placed together.
- Cook foods at proper cooking temperatures: 160°F for ground meat and eggs, 165°F for poultry, and 145°F for fresh meat steaks, roasts, and chops.
- Disinfect the cooking area before and after use.
Healthy Meals to Try Out
Being in quarantine means that we’re not rushing to go to places and so we have more time to plan and prepare healthier meals. During this time, try to 1) limit your salt, sugar, and fat intake, 2) consume more fiber, fruits, and vegetables, and 3) drink more water. For healthy meals throughout the day, here are our suggestions:
Instead of eating just bread or cereals, go for healthy carbs or protein-rich foods like eggs. Try baked eggs, which is basically eggs enriched with cheese, cream, and butter, or egg bites for which you can use leftover meat and vegetables. You can also go for simple oatmeal recipes topped with fruits and nuts, or chia pudding with Greek yogurt, honey, and milk.
For lunch, you can make use of that canned tuna in your cupboard to prepare a tuna salad, or a sandwich stuffed with greens. If you have pita bread handy, why not try making a pita pizza topped with cheese, meat, and vegetables? And if you have a surplus of canned chickpeas and beans, you may want to try making hummus, which you can use for your sandwiches and wraps.
Some favorite easy-to-cook dinner recipes include lentil soup, which makes for a hearty and filling meal that’s also high in protein. If you have rice in your pantry, now is maybe a good time to try those fried rice recipes. A personal favorite is the kimchi fried rice, which has spicy fermented cabbage and, if you want to go for the meatier option, bacon or Spam. Chili recipes are also in, as they can easily be modified to include meat or not if you’re on a vegetarian diet.
You’re definitely feeling the need for snacks throughout the day and it may be tempting to break out those bags of chips and chomp on them while binge-watching. Before you reach for those chips, why not try snacking on fruits instead? They might not give that salty, cheesy crunch you’re used to, but your body will thank you for it.