Last updated: 01 Jun, 2020

You can use the resources on this page to encourage healthy eating during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Key messages

Frequently asked questions

Useful tools

Videos

 

Key messages

HOW TO REDUCE RISK OF INFECTION:

Victorians should act now to reduce the risk of infection from coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The situation is changing rapidly so please visit the Department of Health and Human Services website regularly for updated information.

 

Current measures on physical distancing:

 
  • The message people need to hear: if you can stay at home – you must stay at home.

  • The only five reasons you should leave home are: 

    • To shop for food and supplies,

    • To exercise or for recreation, 

    • For medical care (or to assist someone else with their care),

    • Or to go to work or study (if you can’t do this from home),

    • Visiting friends and family – if you really need to.

  • Some restrictions have been cautiously eased so people can look after their own and others’ health, wellbeing and social connection. From 11.59pm on Sunday 31 May Victorians  are able to:

    • Have up to 20 family and friends at your home. For example, if you are a household of five people, you can 15 visitors.

     

    • Outdoor gatherings of up to  20 people can happen for non-contact sport and recreation in public settings, such as National, State and public parks. The 20 person limit is inclusive of your household. That means for a family of five, you can be in a group with 15 people from outside your household.

    • Small gatherings of up to 20  people can occur at some indoor facilities such as places of worship and community centres – along with those required to run the facilities. The four-square metre rule applies in these settings. 

    •  And we must keep at least 1.5 metres from other people and practise good hand hygiene.  If you feel unwell, even if you have tested negative for coronavirus, you must stay home.

    • Gather with up to ten people outdoors for non-contact sport and recreation in public settings, such as National, State and public parks.

 

 

Tips

  • Eat a healthy balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables

  • Keep ultra-processed and sugary foods (eg biscuits, muesli bars, sugary cereals) to a minimum.

  • Don’t panic if you can’t find a food item at the supermarket – get creative. Pasta and rice can often be replaced with potato, bread or wraps. Mince can be replaced with mushrooms, lentils, chickpeas or tofu.

  • Choose high-fibre foods, such as fruit and vegetables and wholegrain cereal and bread, to keep your digestive system regular.

  • Try to stick to a normal eating pattern and avoid too much snacking from the cupboard now you’re working at home (eg three meals a day plus two snacks).


Frequently asked questions

Visit the Department of Health and Human Services for more answers to frequently asked questions.

 

Should I go out for dinner?

  • No. All restaurants and cafes are now closed.
  • You can still get takeaway or home delivery but maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from others and practice good hand hygiene.
  • Now is not the time to visit friends for dinner. Stay home and have a virtual dinner party via Skype or Facetime instead?

 

 

How safe is take-away food? Can the virus stay on the packaging your food comes in?

  • Our advice is to get your food out of its packaging, pop it on your plate or in your bowl then wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds before eating.

 

 

Should I stock up on groceries?

  • It’s sensible to have a couple of extra provisions on hand in case you need to self-isolate – this does not mean panic buying.

  • It’s critical vulnerable people can also get supplies – think before you take something off the shelf if someone else might need that more than you.

 

 

What if I can’t buy healthy food at the supermarket?

  • At the moment we understand it can be challenging to find certain items at the supermarkets.

  • It’s important not to panic – most of our food is made in Australia and suppliers are working hard to meet demands.

  • If supermarkets don’t have what you need try smaller outlets such as fruit and vegetable grocers, butchers and delis to get the produce you need.

 

 

Where can I access food reliefin my local area?

 
  • Large organisations such as FoodBank, SecondBite and Oz Harvest don’t distribute food directly to people.Instead, these organisastions distribute food to local community food relief agencies. 

  • Contact your local council or visit the Ask Izzy website to helpfind out where you can access food relief services in your local area.

 

 

How do I access food relief during self-quarantine?

  • For Victorians that have been directed to undertake mandatory self-quarantine and have limited access to food and support networks (i.e.your pantry is empty and you have no family or friends close by to purchase groceries for you) ,emergency food relief packages are available at no cost. 

  • Call the Coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398 to find out more information and access the two-week supply of food staples. 

  • All requests are assessed on need and urgency, prioritising those in greatest need. More information is available here: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-public-coronavirus-disease-covid-19#what-are-the-relief-packages

 

 

What foods can help prevent or treat the Coronavirus?

 

 

Should I wash my fruits and vegetables with soap?

  • Washing fruit and vegetables with soap or detergent is not recommended. They are not designed for use on food and any residue can cause nausea and stomach upset.
  • Instead, wash your produce in cold water as you normally would, and if you like, use a vegetable brush on hard produce such as apples or potatoes.


Resource

Institution

Description

WHO/Europe

Guide on how to eat healthily during Coronavirus, containing general tips, a list of best food buys and examples of recipes for inspiration.

No Money No Time

Collection of recipes which may be filtered according to your ingredients on hand, meal preferences, dietary requirements and kitchen appliances available.

No Money No Time

Simple food swaps to help extend a recipe, prevent an unnecessary trip to the supermarket, prevent food waste and save money.

Heart Foundation

Tips for heart healthy eating during home isolation.

UNICEF

Easy, affordable and healthy eating tips during the Coronavirus pandemic.

ABC Life

Dietitian Professor Clare Collins discusses canned/tinned food – how nutritious they are, what to avoid, and what to do about damaged and dented cans.

The Conversation

All the reasons to cook with your kids.

Melbourne Food Hub

Beginners guide with basic tips on how to start growing food at home, including planting seeds, looking after seedlings and transplanting.

Open Food Network

Purchase fresh produce directly from Victorian farmers online.

Nutrition factsheets about food and immunity and choosing healthy convenience meals Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute Factsheets with useful tips on making healthy food choices.
 Promoting healthy eating during coronavirus Healthy Eating Advisory Service  Resources and updates to help promote healthy eating.

 

VicHealth has teamed up with Victorian comedians Rhys Nicholson and Becky Lucas to help deliver coronavirus wellbeing tips with their unique voices, to engage with younger audiences on social media. For all official coronavirus advice, please refer to the Department of Health and Human Services. 

 

 

 

More information

The videos below provide tips on nutrition, shopping, meal planning and other healthy eating topics.