The Coronavirus has caused many wheelchair users, many of who are at risk for coronavirus , much anxiety and stress. Due to coronavirus stay-at-home orders by governors, many people have less or limited assistance from their outside caregivers. Many of us with disabilities will be able to use our natural creative ability, resiliency and learned adaptive independence at this equally challenging moment.
We are already very used to using technology to communicate with others in our daily lives. Some disabled folks already take advantage of telehealth services with either their trusted primary care doctor. We can use this to get a referral to a registered dietitian for their healthy living goals, especially related to proper nutrition education and accessing healthy food during this extraordinary time.
Many registered dietitians advocate meal planning. While it may be more difficult and stressful to plan meals during this perplexing time. Meal planning is more crucial than ever though, because it will help wheelchair users to know how to plan their online food orders. Many health experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that American with and without disabilities only make a meal plan for two weeks at a time, so that American lessen the risk of hoarding food and possibly contribute to lessening food waste, especially if they order online.
Consumers can take the time to learn about basic nutrition online before they consider making a meal plan, that includes meals and snacks. You can find cooks who are disabled and social media influencers and possibly share their favorite simple skillet and mug recipes that are usually very accessible and adaptable.
Inventive and creative cooks reduce food waste if they focus on making meals based on what is already on hand in the household pantry, refrigerator or freezer. Focus on sale prices online for any grocery store in your local area. Try not to pressure yourself to practice new recipes each day. It is just fine to alternate recipes of oatmeal with different toppings as well as scrambled eggs with a variety of toppings in a mug for days on end just to make daily life a little easier. Also, you can prepare casseroles or skillet meals one time tice a unique variety of recipes. It and make enough to use leftovers multiple times in one week.
There are many myths about the health benefits of canned foods. Canned fruits, vegetables, and beans are as nutritious as fresh, but have a longer shelf life and never need to be refrigerated. The United States Department of Agriculture says high-acid canned goods, like tomatoes and citrus fruits, will keep for up to 1½ years. Low-acid canned goods that’s pretty much everything else, including vegetables, meat, and fish will last for up to 5 years. It is crucial that wheelchair users get enough sources of fiber from canned veggies, fruits and beans.
Torey Armul, MS, RDN, LD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics like to promote that people who are wheelchair users might want to plan recipes that use the same ingredients within a typical week during this odd time. For example, if you like black beans, order them online, then plan to use black beans two or three times; once in enchiladas or quesadillas, once in a tasty soup and consider using black bean in an omelet. This is an idea of how to use up foods and canned goods which saves cooking time when wheelchair users may want to save personal physical energy.
Food Safety During the Pandemic
Some of us may be cooking for ourselves for the first time during the pandemic. All registered dietitians and chefs like to promote food safety guidelines. Brand new cooks may not know the food safety rules , especially if they do not have an accessible sink or kitchen.
It is not always safe for foods to thaw out food, especially meat at room temperature. It is a much more secure choice to use a cold-water bath, changing the water every 30 minutes. Every cook should try to clean their hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before, during or after food preparation. Hand sanitizer should only be used if a sink is not accessible. Focus on keeping kitchen surfaces clean. Try to use two cutting boards to prevent cross contamination; one for protein sources and the other for fresh fruits and veggies. Attempt to use different kitchen tools to prevent cross contamination. Purchase a reliable food thermometer, either for their refrigerator or to be stuck into any meat to verify it is being cooked to proper temperature. It is crucial to refrigerate meals two hours from preparing meals. It is much easier to follow food safety guidelines as long as new cooks always have an accessible kitchen.
Food Waste During the Pandemic
The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that 40% of all perishable food produced in the America is unconsumed, with the average family of four gets rid of $1,484 worth of food. Food waste may be a bigger problem now, due to the pandemic, because some people may make the mistake of hoarding food. We need to order food online to keep ourselves safe and to help ourselves only purchase what is needed to stop from hoarding.
Many consumers can keep their produce at an accessible level at a proper temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Fruits that ripen quickly in a tasty smoothie in a blender with large buttons, in case consumers have problems with their hand function. It might be better to use shelf stable dried herbs to reduce food waste during this pandemic time period. It may be the best time to try creative recipes, like pureeing fruits into smoothies or veggies into a more flavorful hummus. Another creative option is to mash fruit to create fresh jam or a tasty pancake topping. Consumers can sauté cut up veggies and toss with pasta or sprinkle atop pizza. Consumers can find an accessible way to roast veggies and stuff them into a burrito or sandwich wrap.
Torey Armul likes to promote to all consumers that is important to understand what each label date means. Over 90% of Americans may be prematurely tossing food because they misinterpret expiration dates, according to an independent 2013 study released by Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Natural Resource Defense Council. All consumers can misread food labels. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics likes to promote understanding dates on cans and food labels. The “sell by” date is the last day that the grocery store can safely sell the product. It is safe to consume foods a few days past the date. The “use by” date is the last date that anyone could use any food product. The “best by” is the suggested date for ideal taste and texture. It is crucial for all Americans to work together to limit food waste, while also limiting hoarding.
Ordering Takeout and Delivery During the Pandemic
Some consumers may be worried about their health and nutrition, but it is hard to reduce their amount of takeout or delivery during this challenging time of the pandemic. Takeout and delivery from a family owned restaurant is the only way family owned restaurants can be saved during the pandemic.
Torey Armul likes to promote that her clients may want to order a meal heavy on veggies, so that wheelchair users have meals with added fiber to help prevent constipation, as long as people drink enough fluids. We want to choose healthy fats and whole grains to promote weight maintenance as well as heart health.To maintain weight, focus on portion sizes. Consider replating their meal on their personal dishware at home so they can visualize an appropriate serving and not spreading the coronavirus.
Remember to put the leftovers in the fridge before we choose to sit down to eat. Some registered dietitians appreciate that many people start the movement and awareness of mindful eating. During this time in life, it is very enticing eating on the couch while reading, having a video call with friends and watching TV. These activities can cause people to miss elusive fullness signals.
Many consumers should limit eating fried food served in heavy and creamy sauces. It is crucial to increasing the consumption of baked or grilled protein sources, while increasing consumption of roasted or steamed veggies. A nutritious choice may be to ask for added sauces or dressings on the side. Another positive choice might be to choose more water, low-fat or fat-free milk, or unsweetened tea and use less sugar in coffee.
Nutrition and food safety are crucial components to avoiding the spread of coronavirus and causing more health problems for wheelchair users and other disabled folks during quarantine time.
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