Accessing healthy food during Coronavirus

Healthy food during Coronavirus

Australia is able to grow enough food to supply our population and much of our food its home grown. In recent weeks there has been unprecedented levels of stockpiling causing some shortages of goods.

This guide offers information on: contactless delivery, food and care packages, growing your own food, safe food handling and sourcing food and goods locally.

Supermarkets

Coles, Woolworths and Riches IGA are offering priority access and online orders (click and collect) where vulnerable customers are prioritised for delivery services.  

For more details please see the links below:

Alternatives to shopping at the supermarket

Major supermarkets are not the only option when food shopping.  On the Mornington Peninsula we are fortunate to have local food growers.

Great local places to buy healthy food from include:

Many cafes and restaurants across the Mornington Peninsula are now offering takeaway, delivery and discount meals for vulnerable community members.  The Shire has created a Support Local Business Directory.The directory lists local restaurants and cafes with information about their offerings and operations during Coronavirus.  You can search by business name or category (e.g. – home delivery).

Other helpful websites:

Emergency Food Relief

Victorians in mandatory self-isolation running short on food and unable to have any dropped off to them may be eligible for a Victorian Government funded food and personal care package.

The Shire is offering free Caring for Our Community Packages  to the most vulnerable, disadvantaged and isolated community members to address the impacts of Coronavirus on the Peninsula. 

The Shire’s Food and other Help Guide(PDF, 3MB) has a range of additional information and contact details.

Three Community Information and Support Centres are open across the Mornington Peninsula based in Hastings, Mornington and Rosebud providing a number of programs and services to assist vulnerable individuals, couples and families. 

Services provided include fresh food parcels, personal hygiene products and food vouchers. There is also support available for people experiencing financial difficulties and referral information is provided to other health and community agencies.

Other useful links include:

Grow your own food

In Australia we are able to grow a lot of fruits and vegetables, even if you don’t have a big garden (or any garden at all). Learn more about growing your own food from the links below:

What to do with excess food?

If you suddenly find yourself with excess food, don’t let it go to waste!  There are many options available that will ensure you have plenty of food that can be safely stored and used as needed.

Preserving

Preserving excess food is a simple way to extend the storage life of fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables and meat.  There are many ways to preserve food including:

  • Drying and dehydration
  • Freezing
  • Fermentation
  • Pickling
  • Olive oil

To learn more about the ways you can preserve food please click the links below:

Bulk Cook-ups

A great option if you have the freezer space is to plan a bulk cook-up.  Bulk cook-ups are great for those days where you don’t have time to prepare a meal.  It saves time when you are busy – you can just grab some out of the freezer and reduces food waste.  More great tips are available in the links below:

Healthy Recipes

It is an important time to look after your health and wellbeing.  Eating healthy is a great start.  Below are links to healthy recipes:

Swap and Share

You may have trouble finding the foods or ingredients you usually buy, there are alternatives available.  Ensuring social distancing measures check if your neighbours have the ingredients you need and arrange a swap.  You could also consider working with your neighbours by growing complementary items.

 There are a number of local online groups supporting communities to grow, share and swap food:

Food Handling and Safety

Although the spread of Coronavirus through food is very unlikely you should always practice good hygiene when handling and preparing food.  Food Safety Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) has provided the following advice when handling and preparing food:

  • Wash your hands between handling raw and cooked foods.
  • Thoroughly cook all meat products
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze
  • Avoid close contact with people showing symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing and sneezing
  • Avoid preparing food for others if you have symptoms or respiratory illness.

Other useful links:

Take away and home delivery meals

Practice social distancing: Avoid meeting food couriers in person.  It is possible to let them know online where they can safely leave your food.  This is usually done in the delivery instructions section of your order.

Clean your hands: Clean your hands before and after touching packaging and eating.

Contactless food and other items delivery: When eating delivered food it is best to use your own plates and cutlery.  Do not eat out of the container and clean your counter and table before and after eating.  Throw away the packaging the food came in and wash your hands as soon as possible.  There are options for contactless delivery for essential items, medicine and food. 

Acknowledgement: This information was adapted from the Central West Gippsland Primary Care Partnership Fact Sheet and Finding Food in Casey, Cardinia and Greater Dandenong.