Eating your way through the pandemic

At the pandemic’s start, many of us stumbled into new ways of eating, cooking more at home and maybe snacking more throughout the day since our refrigerators and pantries were close by.

Almost a year in, Consumer Reports reveals more about how the pandemic has changed how we eat and offers some advice on how to get your health back on track.

Eating well is especially vital right now because obesity, heart disease, and diabetes increase the risk of COVID-19 complications.

So this is a good time to evaluate your diet and see which habits you want to keep and which you want to change.

Did you put on the so-called COVID "19?" Maybe it wasn’t 19 pounds, but you’re not alone.

According to a recent survey, 32 percent of people say they’ve gained weight since the start of the pandemic.

When you have less structure in your day and more access to the kitchen, it can lead to more snacking and nibbling, and weight gain.

Make it easy to grab healthy foods by planning out your meals and snacks in advance.

Another trend: Early on in the pandemic, supermarket shortages, hikes in food prices, and stay- at-home orders led many folks to find alternatives to going into the grocery store.

Forty-nine percent of shoppers used a grocery delivery or pick-up service, up from 27 percent before the pandemic.

For many people, this also sparked the question, "Where does my food come from?"

Consumers started to search out local farm stands and community sponsored agriculture programs, and many even started their own gardens.

And some research suggests that gardening can increase mental well-being, something we could all use a little more of right now!

But while some have had too much, others have experienced food insecurity.

According to CR’s survey, 1 in 5 American grocery shoppers has had to turn to a food bank since the start of the pandemic.

If you’re considering giving to a local food bank, Consumer Reports says to prioritize cash over cans.

Food banks welcome most donated food, but monetary donations let them buy food wholesale and in bulk, getting a bigger bang for your donation.

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