Easy ways to discover new recipes during social distancing

Without a doubt, the Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we eat out. Depending on where you live, dining out may not even be possible. Due to social distancing, people are staying home more than ever whether by mandate or personal choice. This has created more interest in nutrition and dining at home.

As a Registered Dietitian and Certified Health and Wellness Coach, I have been asked on numerous occasions what is the best way to eat healthier at home while eating on a budget.  My first answer is to point them in the direction of the Choose My Plate method. This easy way to meal plan replaced the Food Guide Pyramid in 2011. It is exactly what you may think it is – a plate divided into sections based on food groups of protein, starch, fruit, vegetables, and dairy. The protein portion is no longer the star of the plate. The center features vegetables, helping followers focus on garden fare that is higher in antioxidants and fiber. Created by the US Department of Agriculture, visit www.choosemyplate.gov for details. Once you have this as a guide, it is time to find some recipes.

Several sites come to mind that appeal to many different people based on their needs. A great place to start is Pinterest. You can get lost in lovely photos to get your creative juices flowing.  Although there are many “pins”, they do not always link to recipes, so you may have to “Google” for the recipe. I have boards dedicated to restaurant favorites that have been made into at-home versions: salsas, desserts, healthy recipes, and fruit/vegetable infused water. The ideas are endless!

Other websites to explore for more ideas come from my best friend from college, who also happens to be a Registered Dietitian. If you are a parent looking recipes that your family will enjoy, Jenny Rosenstrach at  www.dinneralovestory.com has several recipes to consider. She has a new cookbook coming out called “The Weekday Vegetarians”, which inspired by her family’s desire to eat more vegetables. You will find links for all her cookbooks available for purchase. Deb Perelman can be found at www.smittenkitchen.com. She and her family live in a small apartment in New York City and what she turns out of that tiny kitchen is simply amazing. She has videos and recipes on the website, as well as cooking stories on Instagram. She has a newsletter to keep you up to date. Deb has written two cookbooks available for purchase.

If you are in need of more specialized recipes, such as gluten-free and family friendly, visit Kristin Porter at www.iowagirleats.com. Kristin was diagnosed with Celiac Disease after having her first child, but she used that as a spring board for creating new ways to make old favorites. Her website has a blog, recipes, and an e-book.  Lastly, www.gimmesomeoven.com has a little bit of everything including holiday recipes! Ali and her husband Barclay are Americans living in Barcelona, Spain. She likes to focus on ingredients that are in-season and takes beautiful photos of her dishes. You can sign up for posts via email so you never miss a scrumptious bite.

As we continue to live with this pandemic, I hope that you stay safe and healthy. Good nutrition plays a big part in staying well. I hope that this gives you a little more insight in finding great meal ideas for you and your family.

Regina Galvan-Garcia, ZΣ

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