Fiona Beltran, Nutrition Outreach Worker
Let’s talk about Covid-19. Not the virus itself, but how it has changed our lives. Living in the Covid era, there’s little to do. We can do outdoor activities, sit 6 feet away from our friends, make small talk over Zoom and experience all of the excruciating, awkward silence when no one speaks, but where does food fit in?
Grabbing a socially distanced meal or a cup of coffee with a friend is one of the essential activities we can still do in the Covid 19 era. I’ve never looked forward to buying something as simple as a 99 cent Frosty through the drive-through window quite as much as I do now!
Covid has changed our view of food. The highlight of my week now is the walk I take to get a cappuccino in the morning or my weekly lunch date with a friend. Sometimes when I’m stir crazy I decide to run out and grab a snack, thankful for the change of scenery and fresh face as I order, pay, and enjoy. Looking forward to food dates with friends and family or impulsive drive through runs is a new, but a regular part of our lives now. With food taking an unexpected more prominent role, and an unintentional lack of exercise accompanying it due to work from home and online school, food feels different. It’s easy to feel overindulged, or easily full. Waking up 2 minutes before a morning lecture is great, but sometimes we skip breakfast and then satisfy our hunger too readily at lunch and feel bloated and uncomfortable.
It’s easy to think in the Covid era that we don’t need as much food as we do. With less movement and exercise in our daily lives, we can feel like we haven’t expended any energy at all! While food is still important to fuel our bodies and recharge our souls, how our bodies feel while sheltering in place is undeniably different. Our state of mind drastically influences our food intake, but also our feelings about food. How do we find the line between not enough food and overindulgence, and avoid needless shame and guilt?
I’ve questioned myself before, wondering if I deserve to buy a latte, especially when I’m by myself, and only walking to a coffee shop to kill some time. First, it’s important to recognize food is not a reward or a punishment, but an enjoyable part of our lives that is also a necessity. While food can and sometimes should be enjoyed communally, it doesn’t always have to be! Food is an experience, and one of the few ones we have left to enjoy due to Covid. Our mentality towards food won’t change overnight, or from reading one blog, but I encourage you to think about the new roles food has taken on in your life. Think of ways to see food in a new light, whether it’s celebratory, communal, comfort, or anything! In times like these, we should all enjoy food for what it does for us, but also for the joy it brings to us.