Consider a healthier meal plan
We all want to eat healthy, but it isn't easy during this strange time where we're relying on pantry staples and whatever else we can get out hands on. Sourcing foods to support a plant-based diet during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a big issue, says Dr. Pamela Fergusson, plant-based registered dietician and health expert. “I think a lot of people have realized that whether they eat a fully plant-based diet or not, a lot of the ingredients we use in plant-based cooking are great foods to have around when you can’t go to the grocery store very often, like dried beans and lentils, canned tomatoes, and tofu,” comments Fergusson. If you’re used to eating a plant-based diet and find yourself faced with empty shelves, Fergusson suggests making substitutions where possible. For instance, if you’re accustomed to a diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables, frozen fruits and vegetables can be substituted. Frozen vegetables and fruits are almost as nutritious as fresh ones, Fergusson says.
Those with allergies or gluten sensitivities can also be vulnerable to empty shelves, especially those who are immunocompromised. Fergusson encourages these individuals to reach out to their communities for programs that might be able to deliver groceries to them, and to make sure they’re minimizing their risks if they need to venture out. This could also be a time for everyone to experiment—whether or not they normally eat a plant-based diet—with new plant-based recipes, says Fergusson. Also, don't be afraid to play with the ingredients you’re not used to using in your recipes. “If you’re used to using chickpeas in a recipe, you could try lentils or black beans instead, for example,” says Fergusson. "It’s the time to just be a little bit creative with the ingredients you usually buy and try to use what’s on hand.”