Healthy eating during COVID-19

Created with the Heart Foundation
Man cutting vegetables on a chopping board

Living through a global pandemic has been a great reminder of the importance of staying healthy – and following a heart healthy eating pattern is a great place to start. This means eating the variety of foods required to support your immune system. The Heart Foundation’s 5-step guide to healthy eating can get you on your way:

  1. Plenty of vegetables, fruits and wholegrains.
  2. A variety of healthy protein sources, especially fish and seafood, legumes (such as beans and lentils), nuts and seeds, as well as eggs and lean poultry. If you’re choosing red meat, make sure the meat is lean and limit your consumption to 1-3 times a week. 
  3. Unflavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese (choose reduced fat varieties if you have high blood cholesterol)
  4. Healthy fat choices such as nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils for cooking. 
  5. Herbs and spices – use these to flavour foods instead of adding salt. 

Staying hydrated is important too, so make sure you drink plenty of water.

 

Making your shopping list

Before you head to Coles for your weekly shop, make a detailed shopping list. As well as reducing the time you spend at the supermarket, a list can help you limit food wastage at home.  

Fresh fruit and veg is key to a healthy diet, so make these items key to your shop. You’ll also find a range of healthy items with long shelf lives in our stores. 

These include:

  • canned or frozen vegetables (for canned products, choose those with no added salt or with the lowest sodium content per 100g – check the nutrition information panel on the back of the can)
  • canned or dried legumes, such as beans, chickpeas and lentils 
  • pasta, rice, oats quinoa and couscous (wholemeal versions are best) 
  • canned fish, including tuna, salmon and sardines 
  • unflavoured long-life milk (UHT milk, milk powder) 
  • unsalted nuts and seeds and/or nut butters 
  • dried herbs and spices.  

And remember – there’s no reason to panic buy or stockpile food, so only buy what you need.

 

A little bit of meal planning goes a long way

Lockdowns, working from home and other interruptions to our normal routines can make eating well during COVID-19 a bit more challenging than normal. Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy approach to food:

  • Try setting new routines for mealtimes and snacks – this can help you avoid constant grazing.  
  • Plan your meals for the week. If you’re prepped and ready to go with recipe ideas and ingredients, you’re less likely to fall back on takeaways or unhealthy options. 
  • Limit the amount of unhealthy foods you have on hand.  Having these foods occasionally is fine, but keeping large quantities of chocolate, lollies, biscuits, chips, soft drink or other unhealthy food and drinks in the pantry can be hard to resist.  

Lunching at home? Get creative! If you’ve got lots of basic ingredients in the pantry, try some of the new recipes we’ve developed in partnership with the Heart Foundation. 

An apple a day – does it keep COVID away?

Unfortunately, there’s no single food, supplement or natural food product that can prevent you from getting coronavirus (this includes alcoholic drinks!), so stick with a healthy eating plan in line with the Heart Foundation’s 5-step guide. If you develop COVID-19, follow advice from your doctor or health care professional, keep eating regular meals (even if you don’t have much appetite) and stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.


Coles has partnered with the Heart Foundation to provide this content to you and help Australians live healthier and happier lives.

For personalised heart health information and support, contact the Heart Foundation Helpline 13 11 12.

 

Discover more tips & expert advice at the Health Hub