Healthy eating that nourishes our bodies has always been important! However, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen many people turn to food nutrition to maintain their health and boost their immune systems.
Eating fruits and vegetables is a wonderful way to stay healthy but also enjoy a diverse and flavourful diet! Produce is powerful. It is packed full of important nutrients, vitamins and minerals that help fuel your body for working from home or attending online classes. Keep reading our blog to discover more of the health benefits of eating fresh produce.
What to Eat During the Pandemic
Food nutrition is so important in these difficult times! Setting yourself up for success by following the helpful nutrition tips offered on the Government of Canada website is one of the best ways to eat consistently healthy, filling and nutritious meals. We’ve got some of the top suggestions for fruits, vegetables and herbs right here, so you can eat wholesome, enjoyable food that keeps you and your family healthy.
Fruits and Vegetables
Produce is good for you in so many ways, and can be enjoyed all year round! With so much variety and so many different ways to prepare fruits and vegetables, it can be fun to find produce and recipes you enjoy. Here are just a few fruit and vegetable groups to try while exploring nutrition during the pandemic:
This can include produce like: Spinach, Kale, Collard Greens, Bok Choy, Arugula and Leaf Lettuce. These leafy greens are full of vitamins like vitamin A, B9, C and K, and are often great sources of fibre and potassium! Many leafy greens can help reduce the risk of eye disorders and heart disease.
Leafy greens are often enjoyed fresh in salads, on sandwiches and wraps or as tasty garnishes on soups, flatbreads and even pastas! Some leafy greens are also delicious when sauteed, steamed or creamed. Spinach, Bok Choy and Collard Greens are delicious when cooked in a variety of ways and can be especially hearty and filling during these cold winter months.
Citrus fruits can include: Oranges, Limes, Grapefruits, and Lemons. Citrus fruits are not only fragrant, tasty and beautifully bright in colour, they also have many excellent nutritional qualities that will help you stay healthy. Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin A, B6 and C, as well as calcium, magnesium and fibre. Citrus is also often considered immune-boosting and can provide energy and fuel to your body for a long day of work!
Citrus is as versatile as it is delicious. Many people enjoy eating oranges and grapefruits for a healthy breakfast or a midday snack, but they are also delicious in savoury dishes or baked in desserts. Citrus fruits are excellent for boosting the flavour profile of salad dressings and marinades and also taste great when freshly juiced for smoothies or cocktails.
This list can include: Sweet Potatoes, Fennel, Beets, Turnips, Radishes, Carrots, Potatoes, and even things like Ginger and Tumeric! With such a wide variety, it’s easy to find a favourite root vegetable to enjoy during the holiday season and beyond. Root vegetables are often high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, calcium and potassium. They also are often anti-inflammatory and low in calories, making them a great addition to any meal.
Root vegetables are very diverse and that means you can be equally creative when preparing them for a meal! Roasting root vegetables is a classic method for preparing potatoes, yams, beets and carrots, while using fresh radishes or fennel in salads is a nice and easy way to enjoy some crunch! Soups, stews, curries and casseroles are also delicious with root vegetables inside.
Berry options can include: Strawberries, Raspberries, Cranberries, Blackberries, Acai Berries, Blueberries and even Grapes! Berries are delicious and also very nutritious, which is great news for you and your health. Berries are full of vitamin C and K, antioxidants and fibre. They also help to reduce the risk of heart disease, inflammation, and boost heart and brain health. Berries are a favourite for all ages, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get your whole family on board with eating them.
Berries are often enjoyed fresh for breakfast, as a snack or even as a healthy dessert, but they can be incorporated into many other delicious dishes as well! Fresh berries are tasty in salads or wraps, and can be added into dressings and marinades for an extra touch of flavour. Frozen berries make healthy smoothies for anyone on the go in the morning and, of course, make delicious desserts and baked goods.
Nutrition Tip for Kids
Are you trying to get the kids in your household eating more fruit or veggies? Try getting them involved in choosing their snacks! By laying out several healthy options whether it is putting out fresh cut vegetables and fruit, or keeping a designated ‘snack drawer’ full in the fridge, they’ll have the power to choose their favourite snack and you’ll know they are getting the proper nutrients.
Nutrition Tip for Seniors
If you have elderly relatives who don’t have as much of an appetite for large meals with lots of fruits and vegetables, suggest smoothies! A simple, tasty smoothie can pack in all the goodness of fruits and vegetables and even be supplemented with other nutrients in powder form so your loved ones stay healthy and nourished without needing to cook a big meal.
The most important part of enjoying fruits and vegetables is keeping a healthy variety on your plate so your body gets all the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients it needs to stay healthy during the pandemic and beyond! Make sure to switch things up so you and your taste buds don’t get too bored. Regularly look up new recipes for produce that you love and don’t forget to try new fruits and vegetables as they come into season. You may have a new favourite and just not know it yet!