Here's how people are still eating healthy under social distancing (Infographic)

Since 2015, U.S. restaurant sales have exceeded grocery sales, but as COVID-19 causes restaurants across the country to shut down, how we eat may have to change. On average, American households spend $4,400 on food, but in some places, it’s far more. In Seattle, the average household’s monthly grocery bill is $516, $432 in San Francisco, and $314 in Atlanta. On top of grocery shopping, Americans go on to eat out 5.9 times per week. Still, 40% of food is wasted every year, which totals to $165 billion in food waste. As consumers stockpile canned foods, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and bottled water amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, consumer-retail engagement is up. Given our health crisis, purchasing healthy foods and practicing safe shopping habits is more important than ever.

Adapting to eating with social distancing can be challenging. In fact, grocers, retailers, and restaurants are still adapting - making changes to daily operations to accommodate their customers’ shifting purchasing and dining behaviors. Recently, Amazon announced it will prioritize shipping and delivering household supplies, medical supplies, and other products that are high in-demand. This will be especially helpful as medical mask sales are up 360% and bath & shower wipes are up 10%. Additionally, Amazon will hire 100,000 new fulfillment center and distribution network workers. They will also increase the base pay extended to their workers from $15 to $17 to compensate for the rush.

However, Amazon isn’t the only company taking action. Many national retail chains such as Whole Foods, Walmart, Dollar General, and Target are getting involved. Several have announced early morning, senior-only shopping hours and have increased overnight cleaning - all to protect their shoppers.

Other food-giants such as Postmates, Uber Eats, and Grubhub have started encouraging online orders and curbside pickup by waiving fees. Many have also implemented no-contact delivery features, typically cost-free to the consumer.

Nonprofit food companies have also found creative solutions to lend a hand in the economical food rush. For example, the No Kid Hungry foundation sent emergency grants to food banks and local community groups and diverted resources to feed kids in the hardest-hit communities in America. Citymeals on Wheels is feeding homebound elderly New Yorkers, and God’s Love We Deliver has been delivering medically tailored meals to individuals with illnesses. MusiciallyFed has also expressed their concerns by donating 24,000 meals for shelters and missions - made from food intended for events at L.A.’s Staples Center. They’ve also collected and distributed food from the L.A. Convention Center to local students.

By taking simple precautions, we can keep our refrigerators and pantries stocked while reducing our risk of infection. Here are the best tips for staying fed and safe.

Choose foods and ingredients wisely. Carefully consider what should be included on your grocery shopping list to limit the number of times you’ll need to expose yourself to the grocery store and public areas. When you do step out, take note that most bread, cheese, and deli meat will keep well in the freezer until you need them. In other words, stock up on canned foods, grains, snacks, beverages, and frozen food.

While grocery shopping, maintain 6 feet away from others, keep your phone tucked away to prevent catching and spreading germs, use wipes to open refrigerator doors, avoid peak shopping times, and send a friend or family member to shop for you if you’re of a vulnerable demographic.

However, these aren’t the only approaches you can take. There are many ways you can still engage in ordering food, getting your groceries delivered, and cook at home - all while being safe and creative. Read below for more information on healthy eating under a quarantine.

Infographic: Healthy Eating Under Quarantine

Read next: Is A Plant-Based Diet The Best For You? (infographic)
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