Quarantining in the Kitchen

The coronavirus has affected our lives and communities in many ways. One positive outlook from the quarantine is it made a lot of us become creative in our homes, especially our kitchens!

Here in the Nutrition department, we are managing an increase in phone calls from clients and prospective clients, an increase in referrals from hospitals, dialysis centers, doctors’ offices, and insurance companies, several remote nutrition counseling appointments, and the occasional kitchen shift.

In order to balance out some of our more hectic workdays, we have been extra creative in the kitchen when we get home. We would like to share some of our creations with you, along with 3 nutrition tips during this peculiar time. We hope that this sparks some creativity in your kitchens!

  1. No matter how little you are moving, your body still needs nutrition

As people on the internet are warning us against the “quarantine fifteen”, the pressure to stay fit is at an all time high. Remember that you do not have to do a push-up challenge, find a new hiking spot, or run a 5k to be healthy. You might find yourself moving your body much less. That is ok! You decide what works best for you.

No matter what, we need nutrition every day and throughout the day—regardless of whether that nutrition comes from a box, a can, or a bag. During a global pandemic, your brain has enough to think about. Try not to put added pressure on yourself by stressing over your food and exercise routines, or a lack thereof.

See some of our favorite recipes using non-perishable ingredients: Dietitian Emma’s sweet potato/black bean chili, Intake Specialist Kaitlan’s mac and cheese, Nutrition and Client Services Manager Tonya’s turkey tacos with canned veggies, and Nutritionist Addie’s homemade granola

      2. Have fun with your food!

You may be limiting your trips to the grocery store amidst the pandemic. You might have to rely more on non-perishable ingredients instead of fresh fruits and veggies. When you get to the store, your options may be limited. Or, you may rush through the store and forget a few items on your list.

This is your opportunity to recreate an episode of Chopped with the few ingredients that you have! Involve your kids in the kitchen. Have a “theme” night with the family — taco night, make your own pizza night, breakfast for dinner, appetizers for dinner. Have a child put their own recipe together, or participate in a “cook off”. Film a recipe video! 

Check out Client Services Coordinator Max’s homemade pizza night, Addie’s fruit and vegan cheese spread, Emma’s taco night, and Kaitlan’s breakfast tacos:

     3. Avoid judgment around food

Everybody has a different style of eating that works best for them. Some people may be stress eaters, while others lose their appetites with stress. Some people are relying mostly on convenience foods as their main source of nutrition. Some may not be able to afford much variety in their diets. Many of our clients are taking medications that make them nauseous, making crackers and dry toast staples in their diets. Some people are taking care of children all day and may serve frozen chicken nuggets for dinner 3 nights in a row.

This rule applies to life after coronavirus, but it is especially important now. We encourage you to give yourself and others permission to eat in a way that feels right to you. We are all in this together!

Here are some of our meals that have brought us comfort–Max’s cinnamon buns, Kaitlan’s (and Rutabaga’s) soup and grilled cheese, and Emma’s chocolate chip pancakes

If you’re looking to make some of these recipes at home, here are a few of them:

Addie’s Granola: https://www.thekitchn.com/granola-recipe-258376

Emma’s Black Bean & Sweet Potato Veggie Chili: https://www.eatingonadime.com/crock-pot-sweet-potato-black-bean-chili-recipe/

Kaitlan’s Breakfast Tacos: https://houseofyumm.com/breakfast-tacos/

Max’s Cinnamon Buns: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/molasses-pecan-sticky-buns/

Tonya’s Taco’s with canned vegetables https://www.thesimpledollar.com/save-money/eight-cheap-and-tasty-taco-recipes/