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COVID-19 Q-A on food and nutrition

Food is essential and unites us all. You may have some questions about how to eat, prepare and shop for food during these uncertain times. Here are top five COVID-19 related food and nutrition Questions and Answers  to help you manage. Dietitians are registered health professionals who translate the science to deliver reliable life-changing advice.  What’s your food and nutrition question?  Send them to us here or via social media Twitter/Instagram @Nutrition4NonN   

  • Q 1: Can I get sick with COVID-19 from touching food or food packaging?
    A: Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19.  Like other viruses, it is possible that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on surfaces or objects. For that reason, please be mindful when shopping. If you touch it you buy it!  Also continue to follow general food safety advice including these:
    1.  Wash hands thoroughly after handling shopping bags and before preparing food.
    2.  Clean food preparation surfaces with soap and water.
    3. Wash fresh food well before eating it, especially if you eat the skin and are not cooking it.
    4. Cook meat thoroughly and separate cooked and uncooked foods.
    5.  Refrigerate cooked food within 2 hours and at eat leftovers within 3 days or put in freezer for later use.
  • Q 2: Can I boost my immune system through my diet?
    A: Simply put, you cannot “boost” your immune system through diet, and no specific food or supplement will prevent you catching COVID-19/Coronavirus. Good hygiene practice remains the best means of avoiding infection.  Many nutrients are involved in the workings of a healthy immune system and dietary recommendations are to eat a variety of healthy foods each day to support the body’s immune function.
  • Q 3: Can eating garlic help prevent infection?
    A: Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties, however, there is NO evidence that garlic protects people from  COVID19 infection.
  • Q4: How do I wash my hands properly?
    A: With soap and water (warm and cold are both OK). Take your time…20 seconds and use the WHO approved techniques shown in this image:
  • Q 5: What could I do to prepare for Covid-19 food-wise?
    At this time, it makes sense to stock up on non-perishable food items so that you do not need to go shopping if you become sick, but avoid panic buying.  Add a few extra items with a long shelf life to your grocery cart that are easy-to-prepare foods you already enjoy.
    1. Veggies & Fruit – any of fresh, frozen, canned are OK. Fresh carrots, potatoes, onions, squash, beets and cabbage tend to last longer at room temperature.
    2. Grains – dried pasta, rice, oatmeal, popcorn
    3. Protein – canned or dried beans, canned fish, meat, powdered milk or shelf stable milk alternatives.
    4. Ready to eat, heat and serve foods are OK. Veggie soups, ready to eat frozen meals can help fill the gap.
    5. You can still ENJOY your meals; COOK more often, EAT TOGETHER in your home as much as possible while practicing social distancing.

Keep well and remember it is important to get information from credible, trustworthy sources during this time. Dietitians are regulated health professionals committed to providing evidence-based advice and information that is tailored to your personal needs and challenges. For the latest and most up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit Health Canada at  www.canada.ca/coronavirus

 

Is your food making you sick? Check out our top 5 tips to prevent food poisoning!

1 in 8 get food poisoning N4NN July 2017

One in eight Canadians get food poisoning each year according to a recent report by The Public Health Agency of Canada. So let’s brush up on food safety with our 5 top tips that can help protect you and your family from getting sick.

  1. CLEAN – Wash your hands, and we mean really wash your hands for 20 seconds using hot water and soap. This is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illness! Remember to use hot water and soap to clean cutting boards, cooking utensils and counter surfaces
  2. SEPARATE – Don’t cross-contaminate ready to eat food. Keep fresh fruit and veggies separate from raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs in your fridge and when preparing food.
  3. COOK – You can NOT tell if a food is cooked by looking at it! The best way to tell if your food is cooked properly is to use a food thermometer. Look for these safe internal cooking temperatures:
    • medium rare steak 63 C (145 F)
    • your sausage or burger is done at 71 C (160 F)
    • chicken pieces 74 C (165 F)
    • whole poultry 85 C (185 F)
  4. CHILL – Keep cold foods cold at or below 4 C (40F). Storing your food properly is one of the key things you can do to protect yourself from food poisoning.
  5. MIND THE DANGER ZONE which is between 4 C (40 F) and 60 C (140 F). This is where most bacteria grow well. Toss out perishable foods that have been in the ‘danger zone’ for 4 hours or more. Perishable foods include (but are not limited to) fresh meat, poultry, fish, deli meats, dairy, eggs, all cooked foods, cut up fruit and vegetables.

Want to learn more about safe food handling practices? Contact us! We offer basic and advanced food safety training courses that can earn you a government approved certificate.