Pediatric Associates of the NW Blogs

Tips for Grocery Shopping and Eating Well During the Pandemic

Connie Liakos, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD
April 03, 2020 05:00PM

Most Oregonians are staying home and many are worried about shrinking budgets for healthy food. With schools closed, children are also now eating all their meals at home. In some cases, certain food items may be difficult to find too. Below are a few tips to help with family meals during this time.

  • If you are worried about having money to buy food, you can access information on over 1000  different food programs in Oregon and SW Washington by calling “211” or visiting the https://www.211info.org/food site.
  • A great delicious, free cookbook that you can download is “Good and Cheap” by Leanne Brown. Check it out at https://books.leannebrown.com/good-and-cheap.pdf
  • Low cost fresh vegetables that have a long shelf life include carrots and potatoes. Carrots are a great source of beta-carotene and fiber and one of the most affordable nutrient-rich vegetables. Fresh potatoes (with the skin left on) are an important source of potassium, vitamin C and many other nutrients.
  • Apples, oranges and dried fruit also have longer shelf lives and are healthy options for including more fruit in the diet.
  • Frozen vegetables and fruits have the same (or even higher) nutrient levels as fresh produce. So when families have the opportunity to stock up at a supermarket, they can purchase frozen foods, which will also cut down on spoilage and waste. Canned foods are another nutritious option, especially the varieties that do not have excessive salt or sugar added.
  • A true "super food," dried beans, lentils and split peas are underrated and under-utilized. In fact, beans are such a nutrient powerhouse, they are recognized in two food groups – vegetables and protein. Besides being rich in protein, fiber, iron, potassium and a whole host of nutrients, they are extremely affordable and versatile.
  • At around ten cents per serving when purchased in a canister, oatmeal is a nutritious, high fiber whole grain that makes an ideal breakfast, especially when combined with milk, yogurt, and toppings such as nuts, seeds and dried or frozen fruit.
  • If you have space, now is a great time to start cool weather vegetables in your garden or containers. Arugula is easy to grow and particularly cold-hardy. April is also a great month to start snap peas, carrots and beets. A great resource for gardening in Oregon is Oregon State University master gardeners. Check it out online at https://extension.oregonstate.edu/program/all/mg/local-programs

 

Most importantly, don’t be so hard on yourself! We are all doing our best and during these trying times, getting any food on the table is an accomplishment. Remember to take care of each other and enjoy the shared time around the family table.