fresh grapefruit in green bowl

What to eat during quarantine?

This quarantine has resulted in many shortages on grocery stores shelves, but not everything is empty. I’ve been grateful to find most fresh fruits and veggies fully stocked. While it’s inconvenient to be unable to purchase our usual grocery lists, it’s also the perfect motivation to change our eating and cooking routines. Eating more whole foods and cooking more at home has been on many of our wish lists, so what better time to start than now?

There’s been talk of the many positive changes that could result from this economic shutdown such as a larger acceptance of remote work, increased sick time for corporate America, and higher wages for “essential” employees. We don’t hear as much about potential positive changes to our personal habits such as remembering to reconnect with old friends, being appreciative of our freedoms, or finding ways to reduce consumption.

When this is all over, let’s take away a personal habit that can benefit everyone: eating healthier. With canned, processed, preserved, and salty foods flying off the shelves, it’s the perfect opportunity to try cooking from scratch or snacking on fresh foods. Habit and comfort with our regular routine would normally prevent us from branching out, but these disruptions to our food supply are the ideal catalyst to explore something different.

I’ve been able to come home with bags of apples, oranges, and spinach every time since the lockdown began. I see people rushing by the produce section to beeline for canned and packaged goods, passing up entire stands of perfectly good fresh food. These fresh fruits and veggies are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can power and heal our bodies…why aren’t we turning to them, especially when our usual foods are gone?

orange halves on acacia cutting board

Carrots, grapefruit, and mint also grace my kitchen throughout the week. I like to snack on these plain, and they’re never in short supply. Try it! If you don’t normally eat a lot of fresh food, just pick up one item the next time you go to the store and commit to eating it within 24 hours. There are over 100 different types of produce at most large grocery stores, so walk by and pick something that speaks to you.

One of my daily winners is a juicy red apple. For me, apples provide an ideal boost of energy during the afternoon slump. At work, I normally don’t bother with fresh food unless I remembered to cut and pack it beforehand. But now that I’m working remotely, I can slice up a fresh fruit or veggie whenever I want. There’s really no excuse not to eat fresh food while at home, and I’ve been building it into my new routine.

Cooking at home is pain in my tiny kitchen, but this extra downtime has me thinking about experimenting with new recipes. One of my go-to websites is minimalistbaker.com, because many of the recipes are vegan and paleo. I tried the Grain-Free Berry Crisp and the Spiced Sweet Potato Lentil Soup recently and received good feedback on them. If you aren’t already familiar with this blog, check it out!

These shutdowns are teaching us that we could have the time to cook, if we wanted to. We just need to make cooking a priority. Preparing homemade meals becomes almost effortless with practice, and there’s no better time to do this than now. Start cooking and eating better while you have the time and energy to dedicate to it, and then you’ll be a speedy chef by the time the economy reopens again.

Stay healthy and eat well!