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Eating Wisely During COVID-19

Registered Dietitian shares some tips for eating well in isolation
By: Bonte Minnema
April 27, 2020
A photo of Michelle Jaelin in the kitchen chopping french onion s on a cutting board.

Michelle Jaelin, Nutrition and Food ’13, shares her advice for eating wisely during COVID-19. Photography by Katherine Holland.  

Michelle Jaelin (Nutrition and Food ’13) calls herself the ‘Nutrition Artist.’ The Ryerson graduate began her training in visual arts and teaching and then came to food as a way to bring people together. Jaelin is a regular on CHCH TV, external link and brings her artistic background to life in her career as a dietitian and educator.

Self-kindness

“My first piece of advice to people at this time is self-kindness,” said Jaelin, “coping with stress and change is real, and if people are snacking a little bit more, or stress-eating right now, I’m not too worried about that. The alternative is to be out and possibly catching the virus, so it’s important to be kind to ourselves in this period of change. Weight gain from boredom or stress eating is not a problem.”  

Moving online

Jaelin understands the challenges of our new reality. Like all of us, she has canceled events and focused her business to online formats, in particular, Instagram, external link and TikTok, external link. The creative thinking that she brings to her content creation comes to life now more online. “This is a great time to turn to learning,” she says, “I find that at times when we have less control over what is happening in our world people like to have something to focus their minds on, like cooking and baking. And when we feel limited in our ability to make the world better, we can at least work on improving something we make.”  

Doing more with less

She has a number of tips to help people do more with less, have fun and make food last a little longer. “Make and bring a list to the grocery store,” she says “it is a small thing but it will make a difference. Buy more food but shop less often. Be sure you want something you are reaching for at the store to limit touching and maintain store safety.” Her videos show how to make fresh items last longer by pickling, external link them or freezing them. “Remember it can go both ways - food preparation can be a great way to fill your day. Likewise, if you are busy I suggest making a little extra so you can cook once and eat twice.” Find her sourdough starter here , external linkand tips on turning fruit into sauce here, external link.

Her final piece of advice is to keep a regular schedule. “For me, every day is different as an entrepreneur, but I have to manage my deadlines and goals so routine is really important to me to stay on track.”