How to maintain a healthy plant-based diet during the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Will your plant-based diet keep you safe from catching the Coronavirus? Of course not, but it might help you fight it. It has been almost a month since the Coronavirus containment measures took place where I live. My life has changed a lot and so has my diet. I’m on a mission to get as much nutrition as possible by taking as many measures to flatten the curve as possible. That means visiting all public places like the grocery store as little as possible.

coronavirus curve
Flattening the curve of Coronavirus cases, source CNBC.

How my diet changed during the Coronavirus Pandemic

I’m on a whole food plant-based diet and I intend to keep it that way during the Coronavirus pandemic as well. But nevertheless, I had to make some changes. Here are my thoughts simply written down. What I’m doing might be helpful to you as well or it might not work for you at all. I have made a plan to visit the grocery store only once every 14 days, and that is why I had to make some modifications to my diet. I live in a small apartment which I share with other people. That means I have very limited space too.

So if you find yourself in any or all of these statements, this article might be useful to you:

  • you want to visit the store as little as possible (once every 14+ days)
  • you want as much nutrition as possible (by nutrition I mean you want to eat enough food, get all you macros, as well as vitamins and minerals)
  • you don’t want for the food to go bad and you certainly don’t want to throw away food
  • you live in an apartment and have little space
  • you don’t have a garden and you buy all or most of your food

I wrote these statements by simply describing all the statements that are true for me. Here is what I have learned.

Fresh produce is a luxury

I started this whole thing by stocking up on fresh produce. But as it turns out, I don’t have enough space to stock all these fresh fruit and vegetables, and they started going bad pretty quickly as well. This is why I have decided to enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables only the first few days after going to the store, and that I have to find other solutions for the days that follow.

plant-based diet during the coronavirus pandemic
Fresh produce takes up a lot of space, and goes bad pretty quickly.

Frozen food is pretty cool

See what I did there? Frozen is cool? I’m so entertaining. All jokes aside, I rediscovered frozen food. Turns out most of my favorite vegetables are sold frozen as well. They don’t go bad and they are very convenient too. I decided to buy broccoli, brussels sprouts, peas, and spinach. I also keep some frozen berries to put into my smoothies, porridge, and pancakes. I decided to freeze some bananas as well. That way I can still have a refreshing smoothie any time. Fresh produce is a huge part of a plant-based diet, but during this Coronavirus Pandemic, frozen produce might be the next best thing.

plant-based diet during the coronavirus pandemic
Many vegetables are sold frozen as well.

Canned food makes a comeback

We were always joking that it’s good to have some canned food in case of a war. And who would have thought, we would all live up to see that war. Canned tomato is the first thing that comes to mind. I also keep some pickled vegetables but I don’t buy canned beans, as they take up much more space than dry beans. If you have space to keep canned beans or you don’t want to cook your own beans, then by any means, stock up on those beans! Beans are one of nature’s finest treasures. They are cheap, delicious and incredibly nutritious. Beans contain large amounts of protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Eating legumes is one of the easiest ways to meet your nutritional needs.

plant-based diet during the coronavirus pandemic
Canned food in case of a war… or a pandemic?

Dry food to the rescue

The thing with dry food is that it has a very long shelf life and that it takes up very little space. Just imagine, half a cup of dried soybeans makes more than 5 cups of soy milk, and one cup of dried beans makes 3 cups of cooked beans! I stocked up on dry beans, chickpeas, and lentils, as well as rice, pasta, and oats. Also, don’t forget about dry fruit like dates, nuts, and seeds. I also keep some whole grain flour to make pancakes, pizza, and bread.

plant-based diet during the coronavirus pandemic
Dry food has a long shelf life and takes up very little space.

Fresh food from the counter

Did you know you could grow fresh produce from the comfort of your own home? Of course, I’m talking about sprouting! It takes up very little space and in just a matter of days, you get a full jar of nutritious, crunchy sprouts. I eat sprouts where I would normally eat salad or greens. With the main meals, in wraps, sandwiches, and even on pizza. Don’t know how to sprout? Here is my beginner’s guide to sprouting.

plant-based diet during the coronavirus pandemic
Sprouting – fresh vitamins and minerals in the comfort of your own home.

DIY FTW

There has never been a better time to take up cooking. “Do it yourself” is a good strategy “for the win”. Learn how to make hummus, pizza dough, bread, granola, plant-based milk, plant-based cheese… Don’t be afraid to try out new things. Learn to make things from scratch! Try to make all these things you used to say you don’t have time for. It might turn out they aren’t so complicated at all.

plant-based diet during the coronavirus pandemic
Learn to make things from scratch.

When you do get a chance to get fresh produce

When you do get a chance to get your hands on some fresh produce, use it wisely! Choose foods that don’t go bad quickly and take nutrient density into consideration. I choose foods like kale, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, sweet potato, and capsicums. These foods will give you lots of nutrition and stored properly, will keep for more than a week. And of course, make sure you clean it very well, even the parts you don’t eat! If you’re not sure how to clean your fruit and vegetables, check out my The best way to wash your fruits and vegetable article.

nutrition density during coronavirus
Top 20 most nutritionally dense foods by Dr. Fuhrman.

How do you make it work?

As I said, these are the modifications I made to make it work for me, and it might not work for you. What are the modifications you made? How are you making it work for you? Share your thoughts, they might help others as well!

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2 thoughts on “How to maintain a healthy plant-based diet during the Coronavirus Pandemic?”

  • Zana, your website is definitely my favorite, and though I get several emails weekly on whole food, plant based eating, I feel yours has the most valuable content. So thank you! I use your superior method for cooking chopped onion to begin a pot of soup or whatever and it works so well, adding a depth of flavor over cooking with oil or water. I look forward to your posts!

    This social isolating has been difficult here in Houston, Texas, because while I am in good health, I am in my mid-60’s so trying to be conscientious about staying home. I miss fresh berries and fruit! But your suggestions are great and I will adopt those.

    • Hi Tussy, thank you so much for your comment! I’m really glad you are enjoying my website and that you find my content useful!
      I hope this whole thing will be over soon… Stay safe!
      Kind Regards,
      Zana

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