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Food and healthy eating during COVID-19
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Food and healthy eating during COVID-19

Healthy eating and COVID-19 FAQ

During the COVID-19 pandemic, which foods can help to keep my heart healthy?  

Now, more than ever, it's important to stay as healthy as possible; eating nutritious food is a great starting point. Following a heart-healthy eating pattern means you are eating the variety of foods needed to support your immune system. 

You can follow a Heart-Healthy Eating Pattern by eating:  

  1. Plenty of vegetables, fruits and wholegrains. 
  2. A variety of healthy protein sources, especially fish and seafood, legumes (such as beans and lentils), nuts and seeds. Smaller amounts of eggs and lean poultry can also be included in a heart-healthy diet. If choosing red meat, make sure the meat is lean and limit to 1-3 times a week. 
  3. Unflavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese. Those with high blood cholesterol should choose reduced fat varieties. 
  4. Healthy fat choices with nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils for cooking. 
  5. Herbs and spices to flavour foods, instead of adding salt. 

It’s also important to stay hydrated, so be sure to drink plenty of water. 

What food items should I stock up on from the supermarket? 

Stocking up on a few extra food staples is sensible. But, it’s important to remember there is no need to hoard foods.  

Plan and make a list of the items you need for meals for the week to reduce the time you spend at the supermarket and limit food wastage at home. 

Some healthy items that have a longer shelf life include: 

  • Canned or frozen vegetables (when buying canned vegetables, choose the products with no added salt) 
  • Canned or dried legumes, such as beans, chickpeas and lentils 
  • Pasta, rice, oats quinoa and cous cous (wholemeal versions are best) 
  • Canned fish, including tuna, salmon and sardines 
  • Unflavoured long life milk (UHT milk, milk powder) 
  • Unsalted nuts and seeds and/or nut butters 
  • Dried herbs and spices  

What are some other tips for eating healthy during COVID-19? 

During our normal routines are interrupted and this can be challenge for eating well. Try setting new routines for mealtimes and snacks to keep work and play separate.   

Take some time to plan your meals for the week, this helps to be prepared and limits temptations to fall back on takeaways or unhealthy options.   

Also, limit the amount of unhealthy foods you have at home.  An occasional treat is fine, but having large amounts of chocolate, lollies, biscuits, chips, soft drink or other unhealthy food and drinks in the pantry can be hard to resist.  

Lunching from home? Our latest recipe booklet is full of heart-healthy recipes for weekday lunches at home.

Download breakfast recipe booklet

Download heart healthy lunches booklet

Sign up to the Heart-Healthy Dinner Plan

What can I do with all the basic ingredients I stocked up on?  

Spending more time at home creates a new opportunity to learn to cook or to try cooking something new.  If you are low on time, don’t worry, there are many healthy meals that can be made quickly and easily. 

Are you looking for tips on what to cook with ingredients that you have at home? Discover our heart-healthy delicious recipes.

Are there any supplements or superfoods that can help protect me from COVID-19?

There is no single food, supplement or natural food product that will protect you from COVID-19. This includes alcoholic drinks. You can read the Heart Foundation’s advice on COVID-19 and heart disease here

I have COVID-19 and heart disease. Which nutrition advice should I follow? 

There is no single food or supplement that can protect against or treat COVID-19. You should continue to eat a heart-healthy diet and to follow any specific existing nutrition recommendations from your doctor or healthcare professional.

Keep eating regular meals (even if you are experiencing loss of appetite), stay hydrated by drinking water through the day and follow your heart-healthy eating pattern. 

Get heart health information and support 

Get free, personalised information and support from the Heart Foundation Helpline. Translation and interpreter service is available.  

Call 13 11 12 or email health@heartfoundation.org.au 

For more information on COVID-19, visit the Department of Health website.  

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