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Staying Sane During Your COVID-19 Home Quarantine

With many Americans stuck at home during the COVID-19 outbreak, it can be tricky to stick to your health and fitness routines. Here are some tips to keep you and your family’s healthy eating goals on track and to stay active while minimizing exposure and preventing the spread of the virus.

Order your groceries online

Save time and minimize your exposure by ordering your groceries online. Use Zipongo’s drag-and-drop meal planner to generate a digital grocery list, and then have those groceries delivered through Instacart or AmazonFresh. You’ll have a fully stocked fridge and pantry without ever setting foot outside; plus, you won’t be tempted to grab those less healthy foods that aren’t on your list.

Stick to healthy, plant-based whole foods

There’s no need to stock up on saltines and canned chili. While canned foods have a very long shelf life, they also tend to be more processed and can be very high in sodium. Load up on dry staples like whole grains–they’re packed with fiber and can be used as a base in breakfasts, lunches and dinners. For recipe inspiration, check out these six recipes for whole grain salads that can last you all week.

Dried beans and pulses are another excellent shelf-stable choice; they’re high in both protein and fiber and can be added to soups, stews, spreads, dips, and even as a topping on toast. For produce, choose a mix of fresh and frozen fruits and veggies: spinach, berries, peas, edamame, mango, and pineapple are all excellent choices for the freezer, while cruciferous veggies, carrots, peppers, and onions are better choices for your crisper drawer. Remember: frozen produce contains just as many–if not more–nutrients as its fresh counterparts, so load up on what’s on sale.

Canned fish is another great shelf-stable option for when you want to stretch your time between grocery store deliveries or visits. Packed with both protein and healthy fats, they’re a convenient choice for salads and toast or crudité toppers. For a fast, healthy lunch, try our Quick Canned Salmon Salad.

Nut and seed butters can be used on more than just toast. Bulk up a smoothie with almond or peanut butter, or try using peanut butter or tahini in sauces for salads, stir-fries, and noodles; our Roasted Tofu & Peanut Noodle Salad is a member favorite.

Rework your food storage to make your groceries last longer

If you don’t have a few sets of airtight containers and other kitchen storage essentials, now is the time. Investing in smart organizational and storage strategies can mean all the difference in extending the shelf life of your food.

  • Store your grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and flours in a set of stackable airtight containers; they’ll protect them from moisture and other odors.
  • Storage tips for produce varies depending on the type, but make sure to keep ethylene-producing fruits like apples, apricots, honeydew melon, avocados, peaches, and pears away from vegetables–the gas they produce speeds the ripening process, which can make vegetables like leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables spoil faster. Check out our spring and early summer produce guides for more life-lengthening storage tips!
  • Keep fresh meat wrapped tightly in plastic and, if possible, the butcher paper it came wrapped in. If you use only a portion of the meat, re-wrap the meat tightly in plastic wrap and then seal it in a Ziploc bag. Freeze meat while it’s still fresh, ideally when you still have a few days left before it hits its “use by” date — this gives you a little flexibility when you decide to use the meat and need to thaw it. Just remember: never re-freeze meat! In addition to exposing it to more pathogens, its texture and quality will rapidly decline.

Stick to simple recipes

When you’re planning out your meals for the week, stick to simpler recipes that won’t require multiple trips to different grocery stores and markets. Search our database of recipes with under 7 ingredients or dive into our freezer-friendly meals, which are great options for using up extra produce and for making a few extra batches for the future. Speaking of minimizing waste and using up extra ingredients, use our CookItNow feature to find recipes using ingredients you already have in your pantry. If you’re working from home, take a look at our slow-cooker meals–dump all your ingredients in a slow cooker and you’ll have a warm dinner waiting for you when you sign off. And if you simply don’t have time to grocery shop or cook from scratch, order meal kits or prepared meals straight to your door.

Turn to virtual fitness and apps to get moving

Getting in a good workout at your gym or at a workout class is actually beneficial for fighting off colds and infections, but avoiding crowded gyms and classes might be the healthier option right now. However, that doesn’t mean quitting exercise altogether: heading outside for a run, bike ride, or hike is a great option for boosting your heartbeat and beating stress (and for getting out of the house if you’re feeling cooped up!). If you’re looking for a more high intensity workout, head to your driveway with a jump rope and any free weights or kettlebells you have; check out our other tips to building a resistance workout.

If you’re craving the guidance or atmosphere of your favorite workout class, head to the app store and check out the many options for virtual fitness: Nike Training Club offers a range of classes led by celebrity trainers and athletes; FitMo pairs you with a real trainer; and DailyYoga offers over 100 focused classes at all levels. If you do decide to hit the gym anyway, take extra precautions to protect yourself and others: wash your hands before and after your workout, wipe down any machines or weights you use with sanitizing wipes, and avoid peak gym hours (early morning and evening, right before and after work).

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