Worried your eating is out of control? These tips – from Mary Ellen Camire, a professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Maine, and Debbie Pepper-Dougherty, a registered dietician in Cumberland Foreside – can help you manage shopping and eating during the pandemic.

Think about what you eat and plan your meals. Planning often leads to a more healthful diet. Learn what you like, what your body needs, and how to put a meal together.

Drink more water. “If you’re well lubricated, it does help your immune system,” Camire said. “If you’re inside with the heat on, you’re going to get dried out, and that might make you more susceptible to getting infected. Water will also fill you up.”

Vitamins A and D are important for a healthy immune system, and to a lesser extent, vitamin C, Camire said. Vitamins A and D can be found in common dairy products. If you don’t drink cow’s milk, look for an alternative fortified with these vitamins.

Keep carrots, celery and onions on hand to dice and add to tomato sauce, chicken dishes, soups and stews. (Chefs call this mix mirepoix.) It’s a good way to sneak more vegetables into your diet.

Mix things up. For a good source of protein, mix quinoa into rice. Or, for added interest (especially if you have children), choose a different shape of squash, use purple potatoes, or buy rainbow carrots. Experiment with a cuisine you haven’t tried before.

If you’re having trouble finding oil or butter – or if you want to cut back on those – use apple sauce in baked goods instead.

If you feel the need to splurge, order takeout. You’ll be helping small businesses at the same time. Camire and her family get takeout once a week, rotating their business to different restaurants.

Exercise regularly. Should you get infected with the virus and become bedridden, Camire said, you will lose muscle, so stay active now to build muscle mass.

This is not the time for food shaming. “Eat what you want, but get a good balance,” Pepper-Dougherty said. “If you’re going to eat the macaroni and cheese, how are you going to get the four or five cups of vegetables in that day? It doesn’t have to be at that meal. It can be snacking. It can be incorporating it into another meal.”

Use that instant pot and air fryer you got for Christmas to make more healthful dishes.

When you find a good-for-you recipe you really like, practice making it while you’re stuck in the house. If you master the recipe, you’ll be more likely to make it a part of your routine when things get back to normal.

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