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Food and Nutrition

Dietitian Diary: Dana’s Shelter-in-Place Diary

Dana Calidonna, RD | Nutrition Specialist
/ May 15, 2020
Food Diary

Disclaimer: As we enter month two (!) of shelter in place here in the Bay Area, here’s a glance into two days of my quarantine life. My life is pretty uncomplicated compared to many, and I am thankful that I have a job that allows me to work from home right now and that my friends and family are safe and healthy. Everyone’s story is different, but I think we can all agree this hasn’t been easy on any of us. I am also eternally grateful for what I get to do for a living; I think having the chance to talk to so many different people every week and share in this experience has made it a lot less isolating for me! It’s a great reminder that we are all in this together. So thank you.


I’ve been trying to keep a pretty consistent schedule during shelter in place, which typically means waking up between 530am-630am during the week depending on my work schedule. I’m up on the later side today. Coffee is always the first order of business. Lately I’ve been loving Philz Philtered Soul with homemade almond milk. I fuel the first few hours of the morning with a couple cups of coffee while I catch up on work and prep for the day ahead. 

Around 830am I head out for an “urban hike”. I’ve been enjoying alternating my workouts between hour-long hilly walks in my neighborhood and at-home resistance-based workouts. The walks are a fun way to explore the city and get lost in a great Audible (lately been re-listening to the Harry Potter series – it never gets old). 

After getting home and getting dressed, it’s time for breakfast. I prepped some overnight oats last night (some things never change). I top the yogurt-oat-almond milk combo with a few strawberries and half an apple that I got at the farmer’s market yesterday. Also a scoop of homemade almond butter (it’s easier to make then it sounds!). I eat with my boyfriend while we both work at our computers. Before I start my afternoon appointments, I make myself a cup of tea. I like my black tea with a little sweetness so I add a small teaspoon of sugar and some almond milk.

The afternoon is busy with online appointments but I have time on my lunch break to make something quick. I’ve been really enjoying making scrambled egg tacos lately. I throw some leftover chopped veggies in a pan with a little oil spray, salt, and pepper and 2 eggs. I divide the mixture among two Outer Aisle Cauliflower Thins which function as my tortillas and top everything with avocado and a healthy dose of Zatar seasoning.

My boyfriend is making dinner tonight. Like so many Americans, he was laid off due to the pandemic. But the bright side is he’s been home a lot more and been able to take over the majority of the cooking and grocery shopping, which has been a huge relief. Tonight he’s making braised artichokes in tomato sauce with chickpeas and leftover chicken sausage. It’s a recipe we’ve never done before but it turns out really good! The tomato sauce ends up being a great dip for the artichoke leaves. 

I usually like to end my eating day with a small chocolate or other sweet but in full disclosure this weekend featured a plethora of desserts and I’m not really feeling it tonight. Instead I settle on sharing a small handful of fresh cherries with my boyfriend while we toil away at our new thousand-piece puzzle.


I’m up around the same time today and turn on the coffee pot first thing. I’m thinking about breakfast later and am craving something warm on this already gloomy looking day. I recently ended up with a large quantity (don’t ask) of oat groats which are just oats in their least processed form (meaning they have all the layers of the grain – endosperm, germ, and bran – intact, retaining all of their nutrition). I decide to see what happens if I cook them in the instant pot like I usually do steel cut oats. I let them cook while I catch up on work throughout the morning.

Today is a resistance training workout day and I signed up for a virtual pilates class through my favorite studio BodyRok at 9am. I miss my megaformer classes but the at-home workouts are surprisingly hard! And no special equipment needed, just cans for weights and a slidable surface. I’m definitely sweating by the end of the 40 minute session. 

After getting ready, I check on the oat groats. They turned out pretty good in the instant pot! Although they took about twice as long to cook (must be all that fiber). They remind me more of brown rice than oats, but make for a fine breakfast topped with almond milk, apples, and a scoop of peanut butter. 

Afternoon is busy with back-to-back appointments, so for lunch I quickly warm up some of the leftover chickpea + tomato mixture from last night with two fried eggs on top (the picture only shows one because dietitians forget too!). I love leftovers for fast lunches. 

Dinner is pretty simple tonight: roasted romanesco + artichokes with chicken sausage and a yogurt sauce. Because of all the challenges with grocery shopping we’ve been sticking with eating a lot of similar things and using pantry items (like chickpeas) or items we have frozen (like the sausages) to keep things simple. We’ve also found our local farmer’s market to be an amazing resource for fresh fruit and veggies that help minimize grocery store trips or frustration with online ordering. 

I also sip about a third of my boyfriend’s beer throughout dinner. I definitely noticed in the beginning of shelter in place an uptick in my alcohol intake, something I never really had to consider before as I usually stuck with a no-drinking-during-the-week-day routine pretty naturally. But a perfect storm of stress, boredom, and availability has led to a change in habits. Getting back to my pre-pandemic routine is still a work in progress. 

For dessert I grab a peanut butter cup out of the freezer. I love to keep chocolate in the freezer so it lasts longer and I can really savor it. Then it’s back to the puzzle with The Office playing in the background. Happy Tuesday!

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