We’re in the midst of the holiest time of year — Good Friday and Easter Sunday are just a few days away, Passover started April 8 and ends in the evening of April 16, and it seems the whole world is holding its collective breath as we wait for the next shoe to fall regarding the current COVID-19 state of affairs.
Yet, what I’ve noticed coming out in abundance, along with our spring flowers and sightings of robins and cardinals…is kindness. People helping others, even if it’s through the phone or online. Companies reaching out to first responders or front line workers to offer everything from free meals to virtual hugs. And companies like Walmart Canada and its dedication to helping food banks, even Hershey Chocolate is making sure those utilizing Ronald McDonald House have chocolate Eggies to bring a smile to those in need.
Let’s look forward to crushing the curve together! In the meantime, let’s take life one day at a time, and appreciate the little things for the greatness that they are.
NUTRITION IDEAS FOR LOCKED-DOWN SENIORS
While we’re all safely in our homes, waiting out the pandemic, meal buying and meal planning can bring out the best — or the worst — in everyone. But for seniors who are impacted, the idea of grocery shopping and then cooking and creating can be equally daunting. Nature’s Emporium well-known family-owned health food market with four locations throughout the city, has recently partnered with Ecosparkle to offer free home delivery for seniors 65 plus in order to provide shut-ins with a safe way to get groceries. Company officials say this service has been created as a helping hand to seniors.
“As an essential service provider, we want to keep our seniors safe, and make sure they have a way to get what they need without worrying about their health and well-being,” said company co-founder and president, Joe D’Addario.
Seniors can either order online or, if they don’t have a computer, can call 905-898-1844 to place an order. The delivery person will knock on the door/ring doorbell upon arrival and will then step back 2 metres so that the customer can answer the door, leaving groceries on the doorstep. Customers who require help bringing in groceries can indicate this at time of delivery and are asked to
provide the delivery person two metres of space while groceries are brought in. The delivery teams will be equipped with masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer to ensure deliveries are made as safely as possible Deliveries must fall within a 10 km. radius from one of company’s four locations.
The company is also offering nutritional tips and meal ideas as well. Miranda Malisani, registered nutritionist and director of health and wellness for the company recommends getting these key nutrients into your diet for optimal health and wellbeing:
Quercetin Rich Food: Early clinical research has shown that this plant phytochemical has broad antiviral effects. Reach for more grapes, berries, apples, onions, broccoli, kale, buckwheat and tomatoes.
Vitamin C Rich Foods: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that provides anti-inflammatory, and immune supportive benefits. Reach for more kiwis, red peppers, lemons, Brussel sprouts, papaya,strawberries and oranges.
Nutrient Dense Soups, Stews and Bone Broths: Look for jarred, ready-made offerings with simple ingredients. These are easy warm meals that provide protein along with other vitamins and minerals.
Protein Rich Snacks: Reaching for protein at meals and snacks can help maintain energy levels and support the immune system. Add these protein rich foods. Smoked salmon, nut and seed butter, nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, baru seeds), healthy meat jerky, boiled eggs and a good quality plant-based protein powder.
Vitamin D Supplement: Vitamin D has important immune enhancing effects. Seniors often have suboptimal Vitamin D levels. Low levels have been shown to increase the risk of upper respiratory infections. You can find Vitamin D in oily fish, eggs and liver, but supplementing is recommended especially in cases where seniors are cocooning and not getting any sunlight.
Multivitamin/Multimineral Supplement: Taking a high quality multivitamin/mineral supplement as a nutritional safety net during this time could be a good option to help support senior’s health.
For additional details, check out Naturesemporium.com.
KUDOS TO SECOND HARVEST
As the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic deepens, an unprecedented number of Canadians are worrying for the first time about how they will afford to put food on the table.
Second Harvest, considered Canada’s largest food rescue organization, is rolling out $4.5 million in new funding to community groups who are feeding vulnerable Canadians during this crisis. The beloved organization is connecting small non-profit agencies with large producers of perishable food, providing these grants through their FoodRescue.ca, which is a free donation platform that connects business with food surpluses to charities and non-profits in their own backyard. The new grants will aim to empower local community organizations from across the country to ensure food makes its way to Canadians who need it most.
“Our country needs to fight through this pandemic together. We thank the Government of Canada for helping us on our mission – that no Canadian be left behind,” said Lori Nikkel, CEO of Second Harvest. “We know well-established charities and non-profits can access resources that smaller organizations – local groups, shelters, local meal programs, and others – simply cannot. Money for these groups means food on the tables of hungry families across Canada. Without these groups, we risk whole communities and vulnerable populations falling between the gaps of our social safety net.”
While the organization is working with food donors such as Starbucks, Sysco and Loblaws, “there are other food businesses, for example, farms who need to find a home for their crops, small community stores — we can get them connected within their own communities and they could make a real difference.”
“Food waste is a real issue in our country. During this crisis in particular, when so many people risk going hungry, we can’t afford to let good food go to waste,” said Domenic Padula from MetroWorks Halifax. “FoodRescue.ca allowed us to enhance our weekly care package for community participants by adding quality, healthy food. It also gives a second life to food that could otherwise go to the landfill.”
For additional details, check out FoodRescue.ca, information on Second Harvest check out Secondharvest.ca.
GETTING READY FOR EASTER
Getting ready for Easter is going to be quite different this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate with ourselves, and with family. Here’s a selection of menu tips courtesy of Derry-Anne Perog, head of culinary innovation at M&M Food Market, (mmfoodmarket.com) that can help guide you to the perfect repast.
Top Tips for Easter Meal Prep courtesy M&M Food Market
1. Make it easy: Save on time with online ordering and pick up, so you can shop for your groceries online, schedule a pick-up time, and get back to focusing on other important stuff. Avoiding leaving home? Use delivery.
2. Delight in the small things: We suspect menus and tables will be less full this year, but families can switch things up and consider offering holiday menus buffet-style – no fuss, and still delicious. Consider video-chatting at the table with loved ones who can’t be with you this year.
3. Make it new: With the new normal we’re all living, consider reinventing family favourites, or starting new traditions for these unique times. Consider brunch instead of lunch, breakfast instead of dinner – leftovers are great for the evening.
4. Make it a meal kit: Easy to assemble, easy to cook, bake and create. Consider this year’s meal out on the grill.
5. Play with colour: Give people food options that represent the full spectrum of colour. Think red, orange and yellow veggies, green salads, blue fruits or edible flowers, in addition to the usual pinks, reds and browns of a main course protein.
6. Healthy sides: Green beans and Brussel sprouts, or perhaps a root vegetable medley will make your holiday menu.
7. Plan Ahead: In case you can’t find fresh, fruits and veggies are frozen at peak freshness and they’re easy to buy in advance and use
when you need them. Prep as much of your meal ahead of time.
8. Don’t forget about people’s preferences: Include vegetable and vegan options, as well as those who have dietary issues.
9. Don’t forget the appetizers: The perfect charcuterie board is easier to create than you might think and things like crackers, spreads, cheese and meat are always favourites. Start with a dazzling wooden serving board and build from there with a selection of favourite deli meats with different cheeses at both sides, finished with fruits, nuts and perhaps a frew springs of fresh, edible flowers.