COVID-19 has changed the way we buy groceries and make meals. Data suggests that we are eating more at home, shop for groceries online more and are more concerned about preparing foods that support our immunity.

A survey for Kroger found 51 percent of respondents are cooking and baking more often than before the crisis; 40 percent say they are eating more comfort and indulgent foods; 40 percent say they’ve bought more packaged foods than they usually do; and 46 percent say they are snacking more throughout the day.

In a survey commissioned by the California Prune Board in May, similar results were found.

Some 47.6 percent of us are showing greater preference for packaged products. Another 33.9 percent believe they are making healthier food decisions. Some 44 percent are more interested in food as medicine, and another 52.4 percent say they are more interested in overall wellness routines — exercise, yoga, meditation — than before the crisis.

All of us are eating out less, which means we have more control over the fat, sugar and sodium in our diet.

In the midst of all the bad news about COVID-19, there are some silver linings.

» Eating together as a family is helping our kids have better self-esteem, more success in school and a lower risk of depression.

» Kids are learning to cook and, as a result, will be more likely to eat healthier as adults.

» We are eating more plant-based proteins.

» We are eating more local foods.

» Disruptions in our food and activity routines have us rethinking how we define wellness.

The bottom line is we can use this COVID-19 season to focus on healthier eating, learning new cuisines and committing to an exercise routine.


Q: What is A2 milk? I see it in the grocery store.

A: A2 milk comes from dairy cows that naturally produce only the A2 milk protein and no A1 milk protein. That’s important for people who may have stomach discomfort when they drink milk. That discomfort may be a sensitivity to the protein type rather than being lactose intolerant.

Both goat’s milk and sheep’s milk largely contain only the A2 protein, as does milk from cows that naturally only produce the A2 protein. That is determined with a simple DNA test.

Research has found that a third of dairy cows in a herd produce A2/A2 milk; a third produce A1/A1 milk; and a third produce A1/A2 milk.

For those who want to try it, it’s best to gradually increase the A2 milk. Start with a few tablespoons, and then gradually work up over a week to have a cup of A2 milk, and see if symptoms disappear.

Cuban Pork Adobo Salad

The start of fall means back to schedules, even if it’s a different schedule than we’re used to. Here’s a tasty salad with plenty of protein for a quick lunch or dinner.


» 4 New York (top loin) pork chops, ¾-inch thick

» ⅔ cup lime juice

» 3 cloves garlic, minced

» 1 teaspoon ground cumin

» ½ to 1 teaspoon salt

» ¼ teaspoon black pepper

» 4½-inch-thick slices fresh pineapple, cored

» 5 ounces arugula, watercress or assorted baby greens

» 1 (14½-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

» ½ small red onion, cut into slivers

» 3 tablespoons olive oil

» 1 teaspoon honey


For the dressing-marinade mixture, in a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Reserve ¼ cup of the mixture for the dressing in the refrigerator.

For the marinade, transfer remaining mixture to a plastic bag. Add chops, and seal the bag. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours.

Prepare a medium-hot fire with charcoal or gas grill. Lightly oil grill grate. Remove chops from marinade, discarding marinade from the bag. Grill chops and pineapple directly over heat, turning once, until pork reaches 145-160 degrees, about 8 to 11 minutes, followed by a 3-minute rest.

Plate greens on 4 dinner plates. Divide pineapple, black beans and onion onto plates. Top with pork chops.

For the dressing, whisk the 3 tablespoons of oil and honey into the reserved dressing mixture; drizzle over salads.


Serves 4

Per serving: 490 calories; 48 grams protein; 33 grams carbohydrates; 18 grams fat; 120 milligrams cholesterol; 6 grams fiber; 860 milligrams sodium

— Charlyn Fargo Ware is a registered dietitian with SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, Illinois. Contact her at charfarg@aol.com, or follow her on Twitter: @NutritionRd, or click here for additional columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

Charlyn Fargo Ware is a registered dietitian with SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, Illinois, and the current president of the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Contact her at charfarg@aol.com, and follow her on Twitter: @NutritionRd. The opinions expressed are her own.