Food-Related Changes During COVID-19

COVID-19 has impacted every area of life for most people, and changes to meeting basic needs are no exception. COVID-19 has impacted the availability of foods, grocery shopping, cooking, meal planning, dining out, and with whom you eat. Adapting to all of these changes has been a big adjustment, especially because most of these changes are likely here to stay. Here are some tips to adapt to these changes and reduce your daily stress.

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Food Availability

  • Find recipes to make foods, if you can’t find premade versions in the store.
  • Get creative with recipe substitutions.
  • Take the opportunity to try new foods you haven’t had a chance to try.
  • Plant a garden so you can grow some of your own food supply! Even one tomato plant can help and be a great project for kids.

Grocery Shopping

  • Make a thorough list before you go shopping to avoid going more often then you have to.
  • Try to limit how many people accompany you to the store.
  • Use grocery store pick up or grocery delivery, if available.
  • Look for well-stocked items and try to use those in your meal planning.
  • Avoid buying in excess.


  • Use free resources to boost your cooking skills.
  • Take the opportunity to learn new culinary skills.
  • Try more difficult or time-consuming recipes that you’ve never had time to try.
  • Include other people when you cook—share the work and the fun!

Meal Planning

  • Try to plan meals in advance prior to shopping to reduce shopping frequency.
  • Be prepared with additional meal ideas, if ingredients are not available.
  • Keep a two-week supply of shelf-stable meal ingredients in the pantry in the event that you and your household need to quarantine for 14 days.
  • Stock your freezer with frozen meats, fruits, and vegetables to have on hand.

Dining Out

  • Patronize your favorite restaurants in a way you feel comfortable such as, getting take-out, dining outside, or ordering delivery.
  • Learn how to reduce dependence on restaurant foods by finding easy meals to make at home.
  • Purchase gift cards for future use.
  • Enjoy the extra money in your budget from eating out less frequently.

Who You Dine With

  • Enjoy the slower pace of life and capitalize on the opportunity for family meals.
  • Start a new tradition during mealtimes like, using question cards or playing a game.
  • Connect with people you miss by sharing a meal on a video chat.
  • Resist the temptation to eat in from of the TV or while scrolling, even if alone.
Courtney Lee Headshot

Courtney Lee, MS, RDN, CDN, CLT, CFCS consults locally with Dietitians On Demand and also has a virtual private practice, Kitchen Nutrition, LLC. Courtney enjoys equipping dietitians and dietetic interns with the tools they need for professional success so they don’t have to learn the hard way. Courtney enjoys baking, running, and hosting friends and family in her home.
Find her on Instagram @yourkitchennutrition.

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