It is important that everyone has access to good nutrition, to optimise health, whilst keeping safe during this pandemic.
Our Nutrition and Dietetics have put together the following advice to help you during this time.
The food standards agency advise that it is very unlikely you can catch Covid 19 from food. However, it is really important that you wash your hands regularly throughout the day, after shopping and particularly before preparing and eating food.
Plan ahead for the shopping you need to ensure you get a good balance of nutrients.
Aim for five-a-day fruit and veg – use fresh products first and have a supply in the freezer or cans in the store cupboard to top you up until your next shop. Include protein foods (e.g. meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, pulses, nuts, quorn, soya products) twice daily. Diary foods (milk, cheese and yogurt) or non-dairy alternatives are essential too for providing you with calcium. Remember to take plenty of fluids – it is recommended to have eight cups or glasses per day. If your appetite isn’t great, or you need to build up your weight, try and have milky drinks such as hot chocolate, milkshake, milky coffee or enjoy a glass of full cream milk.
It maybe that you can’t get hold of your favourite foods or ingredients at the moment, but you can still eat well balanced meals. It’s a great opportunity to dust off your old recipe books to try out a new dish, or swap recipe ideas with your friends. Remember to have a few non-perishable items in your cupboards (e.g. tinned stews, curries, rice, pasta, canned veg and fruit, milk puddings, long-life milk and custard) and freezer (e.g. veg, fish, bread) to keep you going until your next shop.
Tips for older adults and vulnerable groups
If you are over 70 or within a vulnerable group, you are advised to ask family, friends or a trusted neighbour to help with shopping. If this is not possible, there are things you can do to access good nutritious food. Here are some top tips for using items from your store cupboard:
- Tinned food can be very nutritious and will keep you going until you are able to get some more fresh groceries. Tinned fish, potatoes, vegetables, fruits are all good and provide essential nutrients. They can be incorporated into many meals and have a long shelf life
- Canned soups, baked beans are useful to make a quick meal when time is of the essence
- Beans and pulses, which are often tinned or dried, can be a good alternative to meat and provide important protein to help maintain strength. Use chickpeas, lentils, any kind of beans available to you with stews, curries and casseroles. One-pot dishes are easy to prepare, helps incorporate more vegetables, provide balanced and nutritious meal served with a portion of starchy carbohydrates like potato, rice or pasta, or other grains
- If your diet is not as varied as usual, consider a vitamin supplement. Look for one which includes vitamin D, as staying inside more may mean our vitamin D levels drop
- For maintaining healthy bones we need calcium and vitamin D. Longer life dairy products (e.g. yogurt & milk) are a good option if you are unable to get a regular groceries shop, they are often fortified in vitamins and minerals. Tinned sardines/tinned salmon are a good way to give your calcium intake a boost as well
- Tinned and frozen fruit and vegetables provide important nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fibre and are a great alternative to fresh fruit and vegetables if you are unable to get any
- Long-life or tinned milk puddings make a great nutritious dessert
For more information on healthy eating in older age or for condition specific dietary advice you can look at: https://www.bda.uk.com/food-health/food-facts/older-adult-food-facts.html
- Try online shopping- it can be challenging to get a delivery slot as the demand for food delivery has increased. Some supermarkets are offering delivery of a meat eaters/ vegetarian food box, which contains a range of items and may be useful to tide you over until you are able to get a bigger shop
- Consider asking your local shops to deliver – give them a call and ask what services they provide
- Visit the supermarket during special opening hours for older adults and the vulnerable. Times may change so it may be useful to check before visiting
Store opening times for priority shopping for older and vulnerable people:
|Asda ||Daily ||8:00am-9:00am |
|Co-op ||Monday-Saturday |
|Iceland ||Monday-Saturday ||8:00am-9:00am |
|Marks and Spencers ||Monday and Thursday ||First hour |
|Sainsbury’s ||Monday, Wednesday, Friday ||8:00am-9:00am |
|Tesco ||Monday, Wednesday, Friday |
|Waitrose ||Daily ||8:00am-9:00am |
- Register online for support if you are extremely vulnerable and required to shield yourself at home for 12 weeks https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable
- Contact the Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council can provide an information on volunteering opportunities and signpost to local services depending on your individual needs.
http://www.wolverhamptonvsc.org.uk/covid19/ or call 01902 773761
- If you live in Staffordshire contact Support Staffordshire Covid-19 Support https://www.supportstaffordshire.org.uk/covid-19-support or if you or a family member are in isolation and don't have local family, friends or neighbours to call upon but require urgent support call 0300 111 8050
- If money is tight then there is some useful information on eating well on a budget on these websites:
There are also a number of local food banks
Keeping active is another important way to maintain health and strength. Physical activity can help manage stress, improve your immune system and improve energy levels. If you are able to go for a walk or do another activity to maintain your fitness then that is great. If you are unable to get out, or want to something in your home then look online for some exercise for seniors or armchair exercises. Every bit of activity you do helps to maintain your strength and fitness.
Thank you to Katy, Magda & Jenny at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust for preparing this advice. If you follow specific dietary advice to treat a medical condition, please contact your local dietitian for advice tailored to you.
Basic Store Cupboard Ideas
Malnutrition: Food Fact Sheet
Fluid (water and drinks): Food Fact Sheet