While there are no specific foods or supplements that have been proven to reduce the risk of acute infections like COVID-19 we do know that eating a healthy diet is vital to a strong immune system. Below are tips and resources to help you eat healthfully and safely during this difficult time. Incorporate what you can and remember to be extra kind to yourself as we navigate this unprecedented period.
- Make healthy choices. Focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and oils. Limit processed foods high in salt, fat, or sugar. Explore MyPlate for more guidance on food choices and portion sizes.
- Include plenty of immune supporting nutrients such as Beta Carotene, vitamin C, Zinc, vitamin D, probiotics, and protein. Learn more about these nutrients and how to keep your immune-system-healthy.
- Maintain a regular eating routine. Typically, this will include 3 meals and 1-3 snacks each day. Take a break to eat and dine away from your primary workspace.
- Plan out meals for the week. Make a list for everything you’ll need for at least a week. “Shop” from your cupboard, fridge and freezer first. Try to buy everything you need in one trip to minimize exposure. Getting groceries during quarantine offers additional suggestions.
- Choose wisely when ordering takeout or delivery. It will cost less and you will likely eat healthier by preparing foods at home, however we can all use a break from cooking on occasion. Use these tips for ordering takeout/delivery for recommendations.
- Consider sharing meal ideas, recipes or even cooking virtually via Skype, Zoom, or Facetime with friends and family. Create a cooking challenge using only ingredients in your home.
- Drink plenty of water vs. sodas, juices, and sports drinks. Be aware it is common to reach for food when you might be thirsty.
- Set your environment up for success. If you are working in your kitchen, perhaps find a space further away from food. Consider keeping certain foods out of the house, especially if you feel out of control when you eat them.
- Check in with your body before grabbing a snack. Ask yourself “Do I want to eat because I’m hungry or am I bored, stressed, annoyed or lonely? Prep healthy snacks ahead of time to keep on hand. Pair a fruit or vegetable with a protein source such as raw veggies with hummus or dates with nut butter.
Find additional information and resources by visiting the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website: Nutrition articles, tips, video and activities.