With the Coronavirus crisis, frequenting places that may contain clusters of people has become restricted. In this case, purchasing ultra-processed foods seems to be the only possible way out, as they can be purchased in larger quantities without the risk of spoiling quickly.
But don’t fall for it! It is possible to maintain an adequate and healthy diet, composed of real foods, in an easy and practical way. To be successful, organization and planning are the lifeblood of the business.
To ensure your healthy and safe eating routine, we have separated some steps that your ingredients need to go through to reach the table. All of this without giving up the taste.
By acquiring this behavior now, in pandemic times, you can take it forward when all this is over, facilitating and increasing the quality of your diet on a daily basis.
During the pandemic, do not give up the minimum distance of 2 meters between you and other people, wash your hands well after shopping and make use of gel alcohol after handling the purchased products, objects and equipment.
When shopping, give preference to fresh food. Give preference to buying vegetables, fruits and seasonal fruits, as it is during this period that these foods are most nutritious and cheap.
Also make sure that all items are in good condition. Observe the appearance, color, presence of fungi, etc. Fruits and vegetables should not be consumed if their parts are spoiled, decomposing, moldy or have a different color and texture.
guidelines for those who are going to buy them:
They must be refrigerated and have well-adhered scales or intact leather, pink gills and shiny, transparent eyes.
They must be properly packaged and kept at appropriate temperatures. Avoid purchasing those that have water or ice accumulation on the packaging, as they may have been defrosted and frozen again.
White and red meats:
Pay attention to the appearance. They should not be purchased if they have a darker or greenish color, an unpleasant smell or altered consistency. Fresh meats have a firm texture, well-adhered fat and a light color. Regarding the color, the red meat must have a bright red color. In the case of poultry, the meat must be light in color.
Must be within the expiration date. The packaging must be sealed and free of dents, holes or puffed areas, and the contents must not show changes in color, smell or consistency.
How to clean? Where to store?
Now that you’ve bought everything you need, it’s time to clean and save. The care with the hygiene of fresh foods, such as fruits, vegetables and legumes, is important for the elimination of possible impurities in the place where it was purchased, of microbes and parasites that may also be present in these foods.
Even packaged food needs to be sanitized, especially during the pandemic, which requires extra care. So, whenever the packaging allows, it is good to wash them before storing. When it is not possible, do the external cleaning.
The washing can be with water and detergent and the cleaning with 70% alcohol, diluted sanitary solution or even with multipurpose cleaning product. Washing or sanitizing packaged products before use is essential, as it avoids contamination of the food being prepared.
Most foods of plant origin, such as those already mentioned, spoil more easily and, therefore, should be kept in a refrigerated place. The guidance also applies to meats, cheeses, eggs, butter and cooking preparations saved for the next meal.
Non-perishable foods, on the other hand, such as rice, corn, beans, flour in general, oils, sugar, salt, powdered milk and some types of fruits and vegetables, should be stored in a dry and ventilated place, at room temperature and far away of solar rays.
Getting your hands dirty!
This is the time to take the recipes out of the drawer and venture out into the kitchen. It is worth having a lot of creativity in the preparation of food, always respecting the particularities of each one and, of course, based on the preparations in natura or minimally processed ingredients.
Some vitamins in these foods can be lost at high temperatures or even by contact with light.
In this case, it is recommended to eat them raw, in the form of salads or steamed, which guarantees a lesser loss of nutrients when compared to cooking in boiling water.
But to enjoy the food even more, be sure to consume the vegetables in their entirety. The parts that are often discarded concentrate large amounts of vitamins, minerals and fiber, essential nutrients for health and disease prevention.
Can you freeze?
Yes, you can, including the vegetables so that they do not spoil so fast and you have to repeat all the previous steps. But for this, there is a method called bleaching, which is essential for the freezing process.
The method consists of placing the vegetables, already clean and sanitized, in boiling water for about 2 to 3 minutes and after draining, place them in a container with ice to cool and finish cooking. The bleaching is done with the pan uncapped and preserves the bright color and nutrients for the preparation of the dishes.
Fruits can also be frozen for use in future preparations, such as juices and vitamins. Just sanitize them correctly and store them already chopped and in a suitable container. In addition, beans cooked in greater quantities in a single day can be stored in the freezer for use in preparations made throughout the week. The important thing is to wait for the food to cool before going to the freezer.
Always remember not to defrost food at room temperature. Use the microwave oven if you are going to prepare it immediately or remove it from the freezer and leave the food in the refrigerator until it thaws. Small portions can be cooked directly, without prior defrosting.
Another important point:
When a food is frozen and then thawed, it must not be frozen again, as in addition to interfering with quality, this increases the risk of contamination by bacteria and other microorganisms. For packaging, choose transparent jars with a lid and never forget to put labels with the name and date of freezing.