COVID-19: Healthy eating during confinement

“During this complicated period you may learn how to cook again”

17 March 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is continuing to spread in France. The latest figures, released March 16, show that 148 people have now died from the virus and 6,600 have been infected since January 24.

As the French government takes the extraordinary step of a partial lockdown and a home confinement order for all residents from midday today, people have rushed to supermarkets to stock up on products such as pasta.

Here are some recommendations on what to buy and eat during this time.

Food shops will remain open and people are allowed to go out to shop for essential food.

“Often people think of having pasta, rice and wheat but they are not varied ingredients. Instead, for carbohydrates, you should consider using wholegrain pasta. You can swap potatoes with lentils, semolina or quinoa,” Florence Foucault, a nutritionist and dietician told Le Point magazine.

She also recommends buying canned vegetables such as green beans, peas and carrots.

According to Ms Foucaut, we should buy “tomato sauce or peeled tomatoes which we can use for soups, sauces or pizzas.”

“Soups are a necessary supply of vegetables to make for the whole family.”

This is the leek season and it’s a very good idea to make soups or ratatouille, which you can also find in cans.

For protein, buy eggs, a few cans of tuna fish, mackerel, sardines, etc. If you want some quick dinners, buy tinned chilli, cassoulet, duck confit, ravioli, etc.

For fruit, make compotes. Even if cooked fruit can still provide vitamins, she says.

If you prefer fresh fruit, apples keep the longest. Freshly squeezed orange juice also provides vitamin C. Beware of fruits in syrup which are very sugary.

For those with a sweet tooth, buy cakes and dark chocolate. “But rather than buying cakes, get some flour, eggs and milk and you can make lots of dishes yourself like cakes, pancakes, pizza dough”, suggests Ms Foucaut.

“During this complicated period you may learn how to cook again. It is also an opportunity to share with your children and family,” she adds.

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