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6 Budget-Friendly Nutrition Tips and Free Food Program Resources to Thrive during COVID-19 Pandemic

San Diego CA— Food insecurity is higher than ever in San Diego due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In recent years, more than 360,000 people in San Diego County are food insecure.  That is 1 in 8 people.  120,360 children in San Diego County, which is 1 in 6 children, do not know where their next meal comes from, according to Feeding America.  That estimated annual meal gap for Feeding San Diego’s service area is more than 61 million meals.

“Children and their families should not have to suffer from hunger because they are not able to afford a meal,” says Cheryl McMahen, Director of Community Engagement with TrueCare.  “National Nutrition Month throughout March serves as a kind reminder of the importance of nutrition and food security during the COVID-19 pandemic. TrueCare is here to serve our communities and patient’s needs beyond just healthcare.”

TrueCare™, a nonprofit health care provider, helps connect the underserved population in North San Diego and South Riverside Counties to several food service programs including Women, Infant, Children (WIC) programs, CalFresh enrollment, free food distributions, and lunch distributions for kids.

Free Food Distribution to the public is available:

  • 1st and 3rd Wednesdays in San Marcos – at 332 E. Olive St., San Marcos, CA 92069
  • 2nd and 4th Tuesdays in Oceanside at Melba Bishop Community Recreation Center, 5306 N River Rd, Oceanside CA 92057

“As your health-first partner, our services extend beyond treating medical conditions. Our ongoing commitment to greater health includes programs designed to meet the needs of our community,” says Amy Matthews, a TrueCare registered dietitian with WIC.  “We love connecting people with information and tools that will help them choose healthy foods.  Eating healthy should be part of our overall lifestyle because of its many benefits.”

Here are 6 budget-friendly tips to help get the proper nutrition, especially through the COVID pandemic:

  1. Planning Menus and Grocery lists before shopping. Check to see what foods you already have and make a list for what you need. When you shop with a list, you will be less likely to buy things that are not on the list.
  2. Cook more, eat out less. Many foods can be prepared at home for less money and it can be healthier than alternative food choices. Even pre-packaged foods, like frozen dinners, packaged pasta or rice dishes can all add up when you look at cost per serving.
  3. Decide on how much to make or buy. Doubling recipes saves money and time in the kitchen in the long run. Extra portions can be used for lunches or freeze for later. Plus purchasing ingredients in bulk is less expensive.
  4. Determine where to shop for the best deals. Look for stores with sales and coupons especially for meat and seafood, which can be expensive.
  5. Shop for foods that are in season. They are easier to get and usually less expensive. Frozen and canned are always good options too.
  6. Watch portion sizes. Eating too much of even lower-cost foods and beverages can add up to extra dollars and calories.

For more nutrition tips, watch this video interview with TrueCare’s registered dietitian Amy Matthews: https://fb.watch/4bp80Iol8R/

“We highly encourage the public to reach out for food service and healthcare support if you are in a position where you think you want to know more about nutrition, breastfeeding and how your family may qualify for these food programs,” adds Matthews. “Our comprehensive programs, holistic approach and extensive TrueCare resources provide the help and services you need to get and stay healthy.”

Get more information about food service programs and community resources at https://truecare.org/programs-resources/

For more healthcare services and appointments, call or text (760) 736-6767 to schedule an appointment today at any TrueCare Health Center. Their bilingual staff speak English and Spanish, and also offers translation services for more than a dozen languages.

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