Healthy eating during the COVID-19 pandemic

Healthy eating

You can eat a range of healthy foods every day to feel good and stay healthy, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eating healthy is a good habit to adopt or maintain during this period. Some healthy food choices include:

vegetables and fruits

whole grain foods

protein foods

Limit your intake of highly processed foods . If you choose to eat these types of foods, eat them less often and in small amounts

Healthy eating and the immune system

While healthy eating habits are important for overall good health, no single food or supplement can prevent COVID-19.

Learn more about ways to avoid getting the coronavirus .

Foods to buy during the COVID-19 pandemic

Many people are wondering what foods to buy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Opt for healthy foods like:

  • dried herbs and spices
  • canned chicken with little or no added sodium
  • nuts, seeds, nut butters or nut-free alternatives
  • canned fish (tuna, sardines) with little or no added sodium
  • lean meats and poultry, fish or seafood that can be stored in the freezer
  • eggs, lower-fat, no-sugar-added yogurt, skimmed milk powder, and low-fat milk and cheese
  • dried or canned chickpeas, beans, or lentils with little or no added sodium

Buy foods that have a long shelf life to prevent spoilage.

Check the “best before” date, which tells you the freshness and potential shelf life of the unopened products you buy.

Learn more about how to interpret dates on labels and packaging .

In this COVID-19 pandemic, your food choices at home may be limited. Get creative by using what you have, including leftovers, for meals and snacks.

Adaptation of recipes

Use ingredients that you already have at home or that are sold at a discount. For instance :

If a recipe calls for fresh fruit and you have frozen fruit, substitute it.

If a sandwich is made with chicken and you already have canned tuna, prepare the recipe with the tuna.

If you need lean ground beef for a taco recipe, but you have frozen shrimp, go for the shrimp.

If a pasta sauce recipe calls for fresh tomatoes, but you only have canned diced tomatoes, use those.

If you usually put noodles in a stir-fry but don’t have any, try brown rice, quinoa, or bulgur instead.

If you usually add diced chicken to your salad, but want to save it for another day, try canned chickpeas or beans instead.

Healthy Snack Ideas

For your snacks, try different combinations of foods you have at home:

Vegetable + fruit + nuts or seeds

Lower fat yogurt + fruit + nuts or seeds

Lower fat cheese + whole grain crackers or English muffin + vegetable or fruit

Discover recipes online or learn more about preparing healthy meals and snacks with basic ingredients.

Use of leftovers

To save time when preparing food, use leftovers to create a whole new meal. For instance :

Add steamed, roasted or sautéed vegetables to various meals. Prepare this thin crust pizza by topping it with leftover roasted vegetables. Or incorporate your leftover steamed or sautéed veggies into pasta, like this macaroni and cheese with slivers of veggies , or this veggie frittata recipe .

Use leftover meat (chicken, beef, turkey) in wraps, salads or sandwiches for a simple homemade dinner. Try this turkey and veggie pita recipe using any leftover meat as a topping.

Add leftover cooked or canned beans, lentils and chickpeas to salads or wraps for a simple dinner, or toss them with rice, fresh tomatoes, avocado, salsa and hot sauce to make a quick and easy burrito bowl. You can also add leftover beans or lentils to your next ground meat meal, like this recipe for Shepherd’s Pie .

Shred leftover cooked fish, such as salmon, into fillets and shape into patties or burgers. You can also serve them with rice and vegetables for a balanced meal, or make salmon sandwiches with whole-grain bread. Leftover fish can also be used to make salads. Try this take-out tuna salad wrap recipe , substituting any leftover fish.

Add leftover potatoes to a frittata or salad. Or cut them into slices and sauté them in a pan with a little oil to serve as a side dish.

Heat up leftover whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta) to use in a stir-fry or as a side dish to your next meal.

You can also freeze leftover cooked ingredients, such as vegetables, rice, pasta, chicken, and beans, to use later.

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