Is it possible to maintain a healthy household under a global pandemic? Cabin fever aside, factors like mandatory lockdowns and personal self-isolation might put some types of foodies in a pickle, ourselves included.
Sheltering in place might leave you with fewer fresh ingredients than you’re used to, but that doesn’t mean you can’t whip up a nourishing, sustaining meal. If you and your family are quarantined for any reason, these tips will help you all stay healthy and keep your spirits high.
1. Plan ahead
You don’t necessarily need to clear out your local grocery store to stay prepared—come up with a weekly menu, write a grocery list, and you’ll be guaranteed to have everything you want and need for each meal. Pantry meals are also a fine skill to hone; you might be surprised by what you’re able to come up with on a whim with what you have.
Meal planning reduces food waste, and you won’t be left without something vital right before dinner. Mise en place? In place. What’s next?
2. Cook in bulk
This is the ultimate strategy when making something labor-intensive that your family loves. You only have to do the dishes once, and you’ll have a few frozen meals ready to go in a pinch.
It doesn’t have to be all frozen casseroles, either. Things like meatballs, baked goods, and fried cutlets can all be reheated and further enhanced with more cheese, new toppings, and any soup or sauce du jour in the picture.
3. Avoid processed food
Tip #2 absolves you of the age-old quandary: what should you feed yourself and your family when all you have is junk? You don’t need to ban your favorite brands from your home entirely. Instead, enjoy these things in moderation, in between healthier snacks like fruit, yogurt bowls, or the eternal PB&J.
When sheltering in place, many find themselves with tons of free time that they didn’t have before. In our opinions, that time is the perfect resource to capitalize on. It’s so much fun to cook for the ones you love—easy breadsticks, homemade granola bars, or even a simple crudité platter are some of the best healthy snacks to keep on-hand. Why go for the Cheetos when grabbing any of these is just as convenient?
4. Eat together as often as possible
Eating together not only reduces the likelihood of obesity in young people. It’s also been shown to improve the temperament, disposition, and behavior of children, improving their moods daily and keeping them connected with you and your partner.
It shouldn’t start at the table, either. Cooking together is one of the most joyful activities that you can share with your kids. Get the whole family involved—suddenly, sheltering in place doesn’t seem so bad.
How to stay healthy in quarantine: home is where the heart is
Staying prepared means you won’t ever have to sacrifice your family’s well-being while trying to make things stretch. Find new ways to keep things interesting at the dinner table, drink lots of water, and stay as active as possible with your squad, even if only on your own turf.
The truth is that you have everything you need in your kitchen and in your heart. Take a step back, and always be willing to roll with the punc