By – Dt. Disha Grover

The COVID-19 pandemic has begun to spread across the world and even the most powerful nations’ strategies seem to be struggling to contain the spread. The severity is such that if not controlled, the mortality rate could be even higher than what it was during World War I & II.

While governments and healthcare systems are doing everything possible to curtail the pandemic, the two strongest tools to fight the outbreak are following adequate health/hygiene measures and practicing social distancing appears. With a national lock-down in effect, it is imperative that we all take it seriously and practice all possible precautions to cut down the exposure to the virus & to keep our immune system working at its best.

What can we as individuals do to help the efforts? Here are some simple steps we can all take –

Stay at home

•Take every possible measure to stay at home. Plan your meals and try to minimize your trips to the nearby local market during the lockdown.

•Shopsmart- While there is no need for panic buying, it makes good sense to stockup on nutrition-packed foods that do not perish easily and have a longer shelf life.

•Spices- Stock up on ready masalas instead of individual ingredients. Cooking will be easier, and you will avoid the risk of running out of one specific ingredient.

Basics – Depending on your family size, you can store 10-15 kgs of flour, some Maida for those days when you want to indulge, and besan (gram flour) for the rainy evenings. Stock a lot of Dals which can be your big source of protein, both as dals and as sprouts. Do not buy anything loose!

•Milk- Stock up on Tetra Pak milk cartons that can be stored for as long as 6 months without refrigeration till opened. All your favorite brands like Amul, Nestle, Parag etc are available and you do not need to worry about running out of fridge space.

•Fruits & Vegetables – Fresh fruits & vegetables, dried fruits, fruit juices, low-sodium canned or sun-dried vegetables all can be stocked up.

•Juices – If you have children at home and love fruit juices, buy the ‘100% juice’ versions from any of the leading brands. Check the label on the carton to make sure they are preservative free.

•Purees & sauces-Tomato purees, Pasta sauce, salsa in cans, or carton packages could make up for your weekend menu plans during the lockdown.

•Make yourself a shopping list – Make a list of pantry essentials you need to stock up. Try to cut down junk and load up on healthy snacking options like dry fruits, home-made protein bars, especially for your kids.

Avoid Outside Meals

•The idea of lockdown is to keep the contact you have with others at its minimum, so try to have home-made meals for the next few days. If at all you are ordering, then make sure to choose the right eatery that complies with all the necessary hygiene practices and protocols. And opt for no-contact delivery that is being offered by many delivery services now.

Make time for physical activity

The COVID-19 outbreak is massive. Analyzing the figures daily only makes things worse. Hence, it is essential to stay fit both mentally as well as physically. Physical activity releases happy hormones that help in keeping stress and anxiety under control and promotes sound sleep. So, make sure to include 30-40 minutes of physical activity & meditation in your daily routine & promote well-being. Dance to a dance-fitness video on the internet or create a virtual fitness group with your friends and stick to a regime. For every 40 mins of sitting down, stand up or walk around for at least 10 mins.

And finally, make the best out of this time to do things that you always wanted to but couldn’t make time for. Connect with your family members, have age-old conversations with them and take this time to reflect. Take the help of virtual tools and connect with friends and family with whom you haven’t connected in a long time.

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