Is it ok to eat from the same plate or share food with other people?
Avoid sharing utensils or food from the same plate to avoid spreading the virus. Make sure everybody in your family has properly washed their hands before eating to avoid spreading the virus from shared serving utensils and dishes.
Is it safe to eat fresh produce?
Continuing to eat nutrient dense foods like fruits and vegetables is helpful for maintaining good health and a strong immune system. It is safe to eat fresh produce and proper food safety should always be practiced. Going to the grocery store does place individuals at higher risk because of increased direct human contact, the predominant way the virus is spread. There are things you can do to help protect yourself and minimize risk such as:
- Wash your hands before and after a trip to the grocery store and avoid touching your face. Wash your hands again after unpacking groceries.
- Go to stores that have safety precautions in place - sanitary wipes to wipe down the cart handles, allowing a certain number of people in the store at a time to social distance, or designated hours for those at higher risk
- Stock up on dried and frozen foods that could last for 1 month to minimize the number of trips to the store.
- Wipe down surfaces such as your steering wheel and door handles.
- Use a contactless delivery (Instacart, CSA’s, Walmart) service or drive through pick-up,
- Ask a family member or friend to go to the store for you
I’ve stocked up on dried and frozen foods, what can I make?
Luckily many plant-based ingredients can be purchased in bulk like beans and whole grains. Frozen fruits and vegetables can be used as a substitute for fresh produce. Dried herbs can replace fresh herbs and combined with spices to add flavor to any meal. There are many recipes in the app that can be made with bulk or frozen ingredients.
- Chia pudding - substitute frozen berries or another favorite fruit
- Apple pie oatmeal
- Nutty almond butter toast - smashed frozen berries can be used instead of a banana or dried fruit like raisins or cranberries
- Creamy berry banana smoothie or green and blue smoothie - use frozen spinach or peas
- Spiced sweet potato stew -sweet potatoes have a long shelf life, cayenne can be replaced for jalapeno or left out
- Kidney bean burgers
- Rainbow minestrone soup - replace kale with frozen spinach or peas
- Hearty green & red pasta - replace the swiss chard with a frozen green like spinach, brussel sprouts, or broccoli
- African veggie comfort bowl - use frozen cauliflower, spinach, brussel sprouts or green beans.
- Asian green bean stir fry - use frozen green beans and carrots. Use dried mushrooms or replace with a bean
What plant-based foods should I stock up on?
There are many plant-based ingredients that can be purchased in bulk and have a longer shelf life. Many of the recipes in the app can be made with bulk or frozen ingredients.
- Dried or canned beans - black, kidney, pinto, white, garbanzo. Look for a low-sodium variety if you are buying canned and thoroughly rinse until the water is clear to reduce bloating and gas.
- Red/yellow/brown lentils, split peas
- Whole grains - brown rice, quinoa, barley, farro, wild rice, amaranth, steel cut oats, oat groats
- Frozen fruits and veggies - choose a colorful variety such as berries, mango, spinach, kale broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach, peas & carrots, and squash.
Can I contract the virus from food at the grocery store?
Transmission of the virus has not been shown to occur through eating, but, as always, practice general food safety. Recent studies have shown that the virus may remain infectious on surfaces or objects for up to 72 hours, but most virus on the surface of common materials becomes inactive (noninfectious) after the first 24 hours.
There are things you can do during and after shopping to prevent viral spread. People over age 65 and those with chronic medical conditions should ask someone else to do their shopping, or if that’s not possible, shop during special hours for older adults.
- Grocery cart handles have been shown to harbor germs, so disinfect shopping carts and baskets.
- Make sure your own hands are clean before handling the food you are purchasing.
- Keep a 6 foot distance between yourself and other shoppers.
- Wash or sanitize your hands again after leaving the store.
- After putting groceries away, throw away disposable bags, wash hands, and disinfect countertops and other surfaces.
- Although not a formal recommendation, it’s reasonable to let non-perishable items remain in their bags out of the kitchen area for 24 - 72 hours to allow time for virus particles to become inactive.
Refer to the CDC for more ways to protect your home.
Is it safe to eat out in a restaurant?
As always, it’s good to minimize exposure to other people and crowded indoor spaces to reduce your chance of contracting COVID-19. If you are planning to eat out, the CDC recommends taking certain precautions to minimize your risk:
- Research the safety precautions at various restaurants and favor those that reduce risk including restaurants that offer outdoor seating, require mask wearing, have an electronic menu option or menu sanitization practice in place and have distanced the tables
- Wear a mask when you’re not eating
- Maintain physical distance from those around you
- Order items that are not self serve to reduce the amount of people who may come into contact with surfaces you may be touching
- Wash your hands when entering and exiting the restaurant
Here is additional information from the CDC about the airborne transmission of COVID-19 that you may also find relevant.
Here are some additional articles on COVID-19 that you may find helpful:
- General FAQs about COVID-19
- COVID-19: Managing stress and challenging emotions
- COVID-19: Managing sleep
- COVID-19: Maintaining social connections
- COVID-19: FAQs about exercise