We're all facing many changes to our eating habits while COVID-19 affects our community. Changes to the availability of ingredients, access to groceries and fresh food, and our ability to eat out means many of us are spending more time cooking at home.

These changes might take some getting used to but you're not alone – many people are adjusting to new daily eating habits and working out how to continue eating well.

Healthy eating may look a little different during COVID-19. Here are some things to keep in mind to keep eating well. Remember, it's all about doing the best you can!

We recommend you keep up-to-date with official information and advice on COVID-19 on the NSW Government website.

Rethinking cooking and shopping habits

You're probably already doing things a little differently when it comes to shopping, cooking and eating. Here are some habits you could consider incorporating in your daily routine to help you keep mealtimes healthy. You may like to try one new habit each week and find what works best for your family.

DOH8475_websize.jpg

  • Involve kids in meal preparation – check out our tips for cooking at all ages
  • Learn a new healthy recipe each week
  • Plan ahead – write and stick to your shopping list and have back-ups in mind in case some ingredients are not available
  • Cook meals that freeze well so there's always a healthy option on hand
  • Buy frozen vegetables if available or try freezing your own fresh ones
  • Have water bottles handy so you remember to drink regularly or use a fun chart to keep track
  • Try moving unhealthy snacks out of sight and have healthy alternatives available
  • Grocery delivery is available for vulnerable groups in many areas – check the website of your local supermarkets for details
  • Remember to follow proper food hygiene measures to make sure it's stored and prepared safely

What to eat to stay healthy during isolation

Food alone cannot "boost" your immune system. Maintaining a healthy body and mind is important to keep your body functioning at its best. A healthy diet, regular exercise, managing stress, and getting plenty of sleep, are all important ways to keep your immune system strong.

During the COVID-19 pandemic the basics of healthy eating still apply. Limited access to fresh food might make it difficult to continue eating the variety of healthy food that you may be used to. You should also be trying to limit your trips to the supermarket. Here are some things to keep in mind during these difficult times.

  • Try to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to get the nutrition you need. If you can't get fresh, frozen vegetables and tinned fruit and vegetables (fruit should be tinned in juice) are great options.

  • Choose foods high in fibre – fruits, vegetables, wholegrains (brown rice, oats, wholemeal products), legumes and beans. Fibre helps keep you feel fuller for longer, can help with blood sugars and cholesterol, and helps to support gut health.

  • Use up fresh ingredients with a shorter shelf life first – prioritise fruits, vegetables and dairy/meat products. Keep your canned and packaged food for when you need it. If you can't use it, try freezing it.

  • Limit unhealthy snacks and drinks – these are often high in sugar, unhealthy fats, salt, and kilojoules. This leaves less space for the healthy foods you need to boost your mood, energy levels, digestion, and sleep. Take a look at our weekly menu planner for healthy snack ideas.

  • Stay hydrated – drinking plenty of water is essential for your body to function normally. It's also kind to your teeth and waistline. 

  • Be mindful of your alcohol consumption, especially during this time of change

  • If you're getting takeaway or delivery, take the time to make informed choices by checking portion size, cooking methods and choosing healthier sides.

  • Be mindful of tinned food high in salt. Too much sodium (the main ingredient in salt) can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems.

For infants, breastfeeding is still recommended if you’re able. Advice is available from The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists about COVID-19 and breastfeeding.

Make your food go further

Check out our tips for extending the life of fresh food and choosing healthy long-life staples.