As the COVID-pandemic continues to spread across the United States, millions of Americans are following the stay-at-home orders in most states. Such compliance is of particular importance to high-risk populations as identified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These include older adults (60 years old and up), people with serious chronic health issues, and people with compromised or weakened immune systems.
If you have a family member or a friend who live in another house, you may want to have delivered to him. This way, you’re providing assistance in a thoughtful manner, particularly in reducing his risks for exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
But don’t just ring on his doorbell and deliver the food either! You have to think about his safety and health, too, especially when he has compromised physical ability or with a compromised immune system. Here are a few things to remember when deciding on the what, when and how of food delivery to persons in quarantine.
Choose Healthy Food
The SARS-CoV-2 virus attacks the respiratory system with symptoms like dry cough, difficulty in breathing and fever. The importance of strengthening the body in general and the immune system in particular in light of these symptoms cannot be overemphasized! And among the best ways to do so is through the regular and proper consumption of healthy food.
Thus, the first thing you have to decide on is the type of healthy food you can have delivered to a vulnerable person complying with stay-at-home orders. Chips, cakes, and cookies are so easy to buy but these aren’t exactly recommended because of their high sugar and salt content.
In addition to choosing healthy foods, you should also research the prices of your favorite restaurants on websites such as PriceListo so that you do not overpay. Many restaurants are increasing prices at these times because they know customers are vulnerable and have limited options.
The best meal ideas are:
- Canned tuna and other ingredients, such as herbs and vegetables, for a tuna casserole. You may also make a few batches of tuna casserole for freezing and reheating later. Canned or frozen peas are also a great addition.
- Chili and soups, which are comfort foods, contain vitamins and minerals. Plus, these are easy to divide in separate containers, freeze and then reheat in the microwave.
- Pulled chicken or pork as well as meatloaf are easy to prepare even for a geriatric person.
You can also order salads and ramen noodles from restaurants like Wagamama, which specialize in Asian and Japanese cuisines and have them delivered to your relative or friend. Your recipient then won’t have to prepare food, a thoughtful gift for a senior person.
Get Easy-to-prepare Food Items
Your food recipient will also appreciate a few items that can be cooked or prepared for a home-cooked meal. Older people particularly like simple food that can be prepared with a minimum of steps and ingredients.
A few examples include:
- Bread, preferably the healthier options like whole wheat bread, since it’s easy to freeze and reheat, too.
- Fruits that last long in the fridge are a great option. Examples include apples and oranges, which are also filled with vitamins and minerals.
- Canned pumpkin, dried apricots and carrots are rich in beta-carotene that boost the immune system.
- Lentils and beans, either canned or dried, have high levels of zinc, a mineral known to boost immunity.
- Almonds and spinach are rich in magnesium, a mineral that aids in better sleep and stress management.
And don’t forget to ask your food recipient about his allergies and special dietary needs. Not all healthy food are good for your recipient so it pays to ask.
Skip These Food Items
You may have good intentions but if the food delivered to your recipient’s home aren’t good for them, then you may as well stopped the delivery. Keep in mind that you want your recipient to be able to use the food in the near future instead of worrying about spoilage.
With this in mind, these food items are best kept in your fridge:
- Fragile produce that perish fast even when stored in the fridge. These include berries, avocados and lettuce, which cannot be frozen anyway.
- Sprouts, salads with mayo and eggs, and unpasteurized soft cheeses are a no-no! You don’t want your recipient to suffer from food poisoning so don’t give them.
- Packaged donuts, cookies and cakes are filled with carbs and sugar that will only compromise your recipient’s immunity.
Think of it this way: If the food you’re giving isn’t good for your health, then it isn’t good for your recipient who has compromised immunity. Choose food that you yourself will eat for good health.
You should also be thoughtful about the details that come with the food. Examples include using individual serving dishes that can be placed in the microwave for reheating and canned foods with pull-top lids. You should also think about small add-ons, such as whole wheat crackers to the soup, which will make a complete meal.
During these difficult times, being there for your family and friends even when you aren’t in the same household is always welcome and appreciated. Start about making food deliveries, either through a food delivery service or your personal delivery.