As people find themselves at home with not a lot to do and very fully pantries, snacking is more tempting than ever.
By the middle of March, popcorn sales rose almost 48%, pretzel sales were up 47%, and potato chips sales rose 30% compared to last year.
Grocery stores around the country also see surging demand for soup, cookies, crackers, macaroni and cheese, breakfast foods, potatoes, and canned, dried, and fresh meat.
Lisa Young, a registered dietitian in New York and the author of “Finally Full, Finally Slim,” was not shocked when she found out the data.
“When people are stressed, they tend to fall back on lazy patterns, letting the vigilance with the food go. And it’s comfort food — it’s feel-good food, it keeps them full,” Young said.
Young shared some tips on how to stay on the nutritional track during this crisis.
Young said that people may feel out of place by staying at home all the time, and the most essential thing to do is to set up a plan for the day.
“You don’t just want to nibble on seven mini-meals. You want to set structured meals for yourself,” she said.
While preparing meals, people should set time to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Young advised people to stick to a routine and avoid snacking in between.
Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, said there is good evidence that healthy diets improve the immune system.
“We have to try to make ourselves healthier,” Mozaffarian said. "COVID-19 is a reminder that healthy eating remains important.”
Another tip Young gave is to make sure the pantry and fridge are stocked strategically.
—Frozen and canned vegetables
—Canned soups — as long as they’re the non-creamy and low-sodium variety, like a tomato-based soup, split pea or lentil
She also mentioned trying portion control to limit how much you are eating.