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How to Survive Quarantine Without a Meal Plan

The times have changed since the beginning of the spring semester with the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19. Before, it was so convenient for VCU students to walk to a nearby restaurant to grab a meal before class, but now since classes are online, many students have chosen to quarantine in their apartment to prevent themselves from getting infected. It may also be difficult to make grocery store runs every week, especially if you don’t have a car on campus. Here are some of my tips that I believe will help you survive quarantine without a meal plan.

*Disclaimer: You do not need to have expert cooking skills

Stock up on Foods That Can be Frozen

I am definitely not a fan of frozen meals, but when in quarantine, you may not be able to go to the grocery store as often as you’d like, so it’s important to buy foods in bulk, that way, you have enough ingredients to cook with. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to stock up on “Lean Cuisine” for an easy meal. There are so many other options available. For instance, you can freeze vegetables, poultry, bread, soup and cooked pasta—the list goes on! This way, you don’t have to make multiple visits to the grocery store. 

Don’t Forget to Purchase a Whole Grain

When I say whole grain, I am particularly referring to quinoa, rice or oats, but there are a variety of other foods that you can choose from! Whole grains fill you up for a longer period of time and don’t expire quickly, so they’re a great choice for a nutritious meal. They can be purchased and delivered through Amazon for as low as $5, and that way, you don’t have to even step out of the house! 

Pots, Pans and cooking utensils

I have found that these three items are by far the most important when it comes to cooking because you can make particularly any dish with a pot or pan. You can purchase them online or at a local grocery store, but they will make your food taste so much better rather than using a microwave. 

Spinach, Chickpea and Quinoa Salad

This is a recipe that I thought was easy to prepare and did not require a lot of ingredients. You don’t have to add spinach or chickpeas to your dish if you don’t want to. Instead, you can add broccoli, chicken or anything else you have in your pantry. I love garlic powder and lemon juice in my quinoa salad, but if that doesn’t suit your taste buds then feel free to use simple ingredients such as black pepper, chili powder or even cinnamon. You can customize it however you want, there are no rules.

I understand that it can be overwhelming to focus on school, have a nutritious diet and also quarantine to avoid contamination. These were some tips that really helped me prepare healthy and filling foods at home. You may have to make a trip to the grocery store every two weeks or so but at the end of the day, you’re preventing yourself from the virus and eating nutritious foods at a low cost. 

Rea is a senior majoring in Biological Sciences on the Pre-Medicine track at VCU! Her favorite things include binge watching Netflix, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family! She is an advocate for women's health with hopes of becoming a physician in the future.
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