Maintain healthy eating habits while in quarantine: Three tips for families

The novel coronavirus pandemic has caused a big shift in our daily routines.

Many grocery store shelves are low on goods you use and need regularly. Unemployment levels are up and families are facing greater financial pressures. School doors are closed, and for many children, this means their food access has been greatly reduced.

During this challenging time, how can families continue to access healthy food and maintain good eating habits?

#1: Know your options.

There are many local resources that can help families struggling to pay for food.

The Oregon Food Bank has four locations across the state and has increased cleaning and provided changes in service to help maintain social distancing.

Many Portland-area schools are offering breakfast and lunch services for students during the week. Reach out to your local school district website for more information on meal availability.

Your local farmer’s market is another great option for fresh, healthy food — with the added bonus of supporting area farmers and vendors. Like many other markets around the region, the Hollywood Farmer’s Market has taken added precautions to help ensure your market experience is safe and healthy.

Some market vendors also offer CSAs (community supported agriculture), which deliver fresh produce to your door on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. There are a number of CSAs and local farms serving the Portland metro area. Many of these organizations offer meat, cheese, eggs and other farm products.

#2: Grow a garden.

It only takes a small space to grow delicious vegetables, fruit or herbs. Spring is the perfect time to plant seeds and start a garden. Planter boxes or an in-ground garden may be easier to set-up than you think.

Even growing a few food items can be a cost-effective option for families — and a great way to engage kids in meal planning. Some of the easiest produce items to grow include green beans, herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, and strawberries.

Aren’t sure how to get started? Through May 27, Oregon State University is offering their vegetable gardening course and intro to master gardener course for free.

#3: Plan ahead.

A meal plan will allow you to stock-up on pantry staples and minimize your trips to the grocery store. Plan a week or two weeks at a time and schedule your grocery store visits accordingly.

While pantry essentials like cereal, rice, beans, canned soup and pasta can be ordered online and have a much longer shelf life — be sure to stock up on perishable items while at the grocery store or when ordering from your CSA.

We know this is a challenging time for many families. Our team at Broadway Medical Clinic takes your nutrition seriously, especially during this time of high stress.

If you have questions about how you can better manage your health, we’re here to help. Call us today to schedule an in-clinic or virtual visit with your provider.