Skip to content
Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities Home

Plan, Shop, Eat Well during the Pandemic

May 9, 2022

By Ruchika Wadhwa, Diabetes Dietitian

During these unprecedented times of the pandemic, it makes sense to stock up on budget-friendly, non-perishable food items so that you don’t need to go shopping if you are unwell and minimize the risk of exposure to infection.

Firstly, take an inventory of what’s in your cabinets, fridge and freezer. This will help you plan your shopping list. It is easier on the supply chain and your available finances to gradually build up on your household stores instead of making large-scale purchases all at once. To do this, you can add a few extra items to the grocery cart every time you shop.

Some tips and advice to follow when doing groceries:

  1. Shop the perimeter, the healthiest options are all around the perimeter.
  2. Got a few minutes? Browse the produce section more than you normally would, spend time looking at produce and buy the unbruised ones. Look for washed and bagged salads, baby carrots, cabbage in your grocery store.
  3. Buy fresh produce in varying degrees of ripeness to allow for some ripening towards the end of the week.
  4. Don’t shop when you’re hungry and always carry a list when you shop. You’ll be more likely to stick to your budget and nutritious food choices.
  5. If you’re cooking that day, try buying manager’s special items or “unattractive” produce. They may be reduced for quick sale but still make a great addition to soups and stews.
  6. Use store flyers to help you find specials.

Non-perishable foods that are a good option include:
Dried or canned beans and lentils (like chickpeas, kidney beans and lentils)
Peanut butter, canned tuna, liquid egg whites
Frozen vegetables and fruits
Canned tomatoes : crushed, diced
Dried pasta , rice
Evaporated milk
Unsalted nuts

Shopping list

If resources to buy food are a challenge, there are community supports available. Please phone them and check your eligibility.
Scarborough Food Access

SCHC Food Bank
4100 Lawrence Avenue East, Scarborough, M1E 2R9, 416-847-4147
Christ Church 155 Markham Road,


Scarborough Food Security Initiative: Response To COVID-19

Community Hamper Support (East, Central and West GTA)

Canadian Muslim Response Network
Sadaf Jafri,


Good Neighbour Project GTA

5N2 Kitchens-Food for All
2050 Ellesmere Rd Unit 7b, Scarborough, M1H 3A9


GTA Food Access
UHN Friendly Neighbour hotline – For seniors living in TCHC:

Online Help and Community Supports: Facebook Groups
The following is a list of Facebook groups where you can post to connect with others in the community to receive help.There are a lot of people offering to bring food to folks who can’t leave their house or who are having financial difficulty food and supplies at this time.

• CareMongering-TO: TO Community Response to COVID19
• PALZ Trading Zone
• PALZ Helping Zone
• Homes for Queers
• Queer Exchange Toronto

Chalmers Bot 24/7

A web/phone app that uses your current location to find the closest free meal/drop-in/clothing resource/etc

Good nutrition and hydration are vital even more so now during the times of the pandemic. A well-balanced diet helps to strengthen immunity and lower risk of chronic illnesses and infectious diseases. So one should eat a variety of fresh and unprocessed foods and drink enough water daily.

​It is important to receive information from credible, trustworthy sources during this time. Dietitians are a regulated health profession committed to providing evidence-based advice and information that is tailored to your personal needs and challenges. Call SCHC at 416-642-9445 to book an appointment with a dietitian.