Topic: Fitness & Nutrition

Children are out of school, social distancing is the new norm, and so is uncertainty as we all deal with the coronavirus outbreak. Add this to the usual life responsibilities of work, paying bills and preparing meals…and you get stress. If you have children at home, include them when planning and preparing meals and snacks. Here are some tips to help you cope with planning meals and eating well:

  1. Stock your pantry with canned foods. Canned tuna, canned meats, soups, beans and vegetables are great to have available for times you can’t get to the store.
  2. Keep staples on-hand. Nut butters, rice, pasta and dried beans give you a lot of options for creating meals and can help bulk-up many dishes.
  3. Breakfast is a must! Whole grain cereals, granola and oatmeal with fresh or dried fruit are good for breakfast and snacks. Serve with yogurt, kefir or milk. Kefir is like yogurt, as it has probiotics that are beneficial to the digestive system. Powdered milk is another option that is easy to mix and add to many foods.
  4. Get creative with spices. Some of my favorites are garlic, vanilla, chili powder, Italian seasoning and smoked paprika. Adding different spices to your dishes will help you to feel like you have more flavor variety in your foods.
  5. Don’t forget the produce! Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables provide many of the nutrients, including fiber and vitamins, that your body needs. This includes oranges, bananas, berries, leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, cauliflower, and more. Fresh fruit can last several weeks in the refrigerator, but you should eat your fresh vegetables within a week.

Karen Hawkins is a registered dietitian with Military Community and Family Policy.