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Alessia Gadoua

McGill School of Human Nutrition's Student


How containment has had consequences on our food habits


These past few months have been destabilizing and scary. The pandemic has definitely had an impact on many lives globally. More than ever, the world is united in the movement to save lives. There is no doubt that our “normal” is no longer “normal”. So, where are we at during this Pandemic? What impact has the quarantine, social distancing and self-isolation had on our lifestyle? Stress during a disease outbreak can include changes in eating and sleeping patterns, in addition to increasing vulnerability for many. 

“Some are eating more. Some are eating less. It depends whether they have access to food, are scared to go out, are bored, have less money, or are now trying to learn and practice home cooking and baking.”  

- Judy, Registered Dietitian and Kitchen Animator at CDP.

Indeed, coping with this state of the world can take many forms; it is an emotional time for all and could definitely complicate the relationship that people have with food. In addition, with the quarantine measures designed to keep communities safe, they are also preventing individuals from going about their active living. Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) highlights, that access to fresh foods is becoming increasingly difficult and more are relying on highly-processed foods, usually meaning more fat, sugar and salt, and less nutrients. Consequently, people around the world are struggling to keep their immune system, their physical and mental health, and their overall well-being at their best. Dietitians of Canada suggest that a healthy and balanced diet, full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and protein foods, along with other healthy lifestyle habits, including adequate sleep, daily movement and stress management, are key actors in supporting our immune system. 

Though it might seem unattainable, through a few simple steps such as menu planning and buying affordable, long-lasting and accessible pantry essentials, cooking at home can be simple and rewarding. Elaine, one of our Kitchen Animators, as well as a home cook and baker, shares one of her secrets:


Cooking does not have to be elaborate; from the most straightforward recipes and the most basic grocery items, one can create the most delicious and nourishing meals.


For most of us, quarantine means more time at home, and therefore less time eating out. Canada’s Food Guide suggests that cooking and preparing foods at home more often can support healthy eating habits. It also provides helpful tips to make cooking faster, easier and part of our daily routine. Our Kitchen Animator, Nadia, expresses how


cooking makes us more aware about what we put into our bodies and, thus, empowers us to take charge of our health. Not to mention, in addition to improving our food skills, cooking can become a fun activity for the entire family. 

“The present crisis has highlighted many weak points in our food system […] But emerging from this crisis is also incredible solidarity: non-profit organizations (food banks, community food centers, food hubs, community and school food programs) are joining farmers and retailers alike in affirming that they will continue to do their best to feed Canadians. Neighbours are reaching out to one another by helping to get groceries. Many  are volunteering to deliver meals to those who must stay at home.” -Food Secure Canada (FSC)

After reading this, remember: Spring brings rain, and colorful sunsets. As the sights go greener and the flowers bloom, we are reminded that change can be beautiful.

For more information on how to stock your pantry and cook with staples during Covid-19 visit our website at


Dietitians of Canada. (2020, April 8). Advice for the general public about COVID-19. Retrieved from 

Food Secure Canada. (2020, March 19). Let’s make sure no one is left behind in this time of crisis. Retrieved from

WHO Regional Office for Europe. (2020, March 27). Food and nutrition during self-quarantine: what to choose and how to eat healthily. Retrieved from 

WHO. (2020, March 27). Be Active during COVID-19. 

Health Canada (2020, January 13). Canada’s Food Guide. Retrieved from

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