A new VicHealth survey has revealed one in two (50 per cent) Victorians started meal planning during the coronavirus pandemic, and almost one in three (28 per cent) have been cooking more dinners, as the financial strain of the pandemic hits home.
The survey of 2,000 Victorians found that almost half (46 per cent) of those cooking more are doing so to save money, and 57 per cent said it’s because they have more time to prepare meals.
With stage three and four restrictions now in place across the state, VicHealth and Nutrition Australia have today unveiled a new website, Cook Well, Eat Well, to ensure Victorians are supported to make easy, affordable and nourishing meals.
VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio said the survey highlights how the pandemic is affecting the eating and spending habits of Victorians.
“The coronavirus pandemic has placed enormous financial strain on many Victorians. Households are adapting by planning their meals and cooking more to save money,” Dr Demaio said.
“To help locals get the most out of their home-cooked meals, we’ve partnered with Nutrition Australia to develop budget-friendly recipes that use simple, low-cost ingredients, but are also highly nutritious and tasty.”
VicHealth and Nutrition Australia consulted with 25 community and health organisations to develop Cook Well, Eat Well. The site features a range of free healthy eating resources, including simple recipes and videos, for Victorians to use and for organisations to share with their communities.
“A quick and easy meal can be made from a few simple pantry staples. Lentils are full of vitamins and minerals and can be used in dahl, burgers, soup, bolognese or salad. And rice is another key ingredient used in many delicious dishes, including fried rice, risotto or to accompany a satisfying curry,” Dr Demaio said.
“This initiative is one way VicHealth is supporting communities through the pandemic. We’re also working with organisations like The Community Grocer to help more Victorians access fresh fruit and vegetables, and keep well during this very challenging time.”
Nutrition Australia CEO Lucinda Hancock said Cook Well, Eat Well will help Victorians with basic cooking tips, food safety and food storage ideas.
“We’ve collaborated with key partners and alliances like Foodbank Victoria and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre that directly support Victorian communities to develop healthy cooking resources, which they can share with their customers and communities during the coronavirus crisis,” Ms Hancock said.
“The pandemic is causing financial burden and employment uncertainty to many Victorians and, as a result, the demand for food relief has increased dramatically.
“We’re working with food relief agencies, retailers, local councils and community organisations to support Victorians in greatest need and those from culturally diverse backgrounds.”