cauliflower lentil tacos.
Before you get the wrong impression that everything’s going swimmingly at my house, it’s not. But as a registered dietician and a mom, I’m noticing a few noteworthy patterns amid the pandemic, both in my own family and in what my clients report every day.
Some of these food-related behavior changes have the potential to become new habits with long-term benefits. Here are five eating-related behaviors I hope endure beyond the pandemic.
1. Eating family meals together
better self-esteem, more success in school, and lower risk of depression and substance use disorders.
Finding time for family meals isn’t always possible or easy, but hopefully people will continue to prioritize eating together whenever they’re able. And remember, it isn’t only dinner that counts. Even eating a quick snack together or family breakfast is valuable.
2. Kids learning to cook
were eating more vegetables, less fast food and more family meals a decade later.
Learning to cook can be fascinating for kids but exhausting for overworked parents. Don’t lose heart if it seems every kid but yours can whisk and sauté. Ignite the basics by letting your child arrange simple snacks on a plate. It’s never too little, too early or too late to start giving kids some autonomy in the kitchen.
3. Eating more plant-based proteins
homemade veggie burgers and finding out that, with the right recipes, these foods can be delicious.
health of individuals and our planet. This doesn’t mean you need to become vegetarian, but you can start thinking about meat differently. Make it less of a main dish and more like a condiment. For example, instead of grilling a whole pack of chicken breasts for dinner try making vegetable kebabs using smaller or fewer pieces of chicken on the skewers. Or make a colorful dinner salad with grilled salmon crumbled on top.
4. Buying food locally and lending a hand in the hunger crisis
dumped fresh milk down drains. Problems in the food supply chain that have been magnified by the pandemic have prompted people to seek local sources of food.
regionally milled flour,
sustainably caught fish and
community-supported agriculture programs have skyrocketed. I hope this trend continues long after the pandemic ends and deepens our appreciation for who and what it takes to bring food to our table.
a number that has grown daily amid the coronavirus pandemic. With increasing awareness of the hunger problem, people are stepping forward to help. Like my friend who’s decided to donate the produce from her garden to help other families in need. One critical thing we can do is
advocate for policies that expand access to quality food and health care.
5. Changing mindsets about wellness to include self-compassion
Eating is one of the most basic ways we take care of ourselves, and disruptions in food and activity routines have people rethinking how they define wellness.
improves many aspects of well-being, including self-worth and body appreciation. One of the most important things I hope people maintain after the pandemic is more friendliness toward themselves as eaters.
People have come home to roost around food in these unprecedented times, discovering new habits and insights about what it means to truly nourish themselves.
benefits health and personal relationships.
Stephanie Meyers is a registered dietitian and nutritionist. Meyers was an instructor in nutrition at Boston University in Massachusetts when she wrote this article. She does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.