By: Stacey Krawczyk, MS, RD – NWI Secretary of the Board of Directors

How many times have you said over the last few months, “Welcome to the new normal!” Our collective experience over the last six months is shaping us. It has provided us an opportunity to try new things, sometimes out of necessity, as well as reflect upon our paths forward.

The impact of COVID-19 and “restricted living” continues to influence our foodways and nourishment. In the beginning we saw panic hoarding and food access issues. Situations like these amplify existing hardships or underlying issues. Then there were other behaviors that emerged. Some tried shopping online or grocery click and pick for the first time. Others revisited their favorite comfort foods to provide some balance in times of uncertainty. This often came because of learning new kitchen skills. During the quarantine, my own family spent a lot of “maker mornings” where my daughter ignited her passion for baking!  She has never met my grandmother, who was a huge influence in my own life, but through making grandma’s recipes my daughter is now getting to “know” her a bit.

As a registered dietitian, I understand how nourishment is vital – but is also more than just simply nutrients. It is our culture, memories, and celebrations. Every culture around the world has food tied to their celebrations and community building. This is even more evident when we are not allowed to be in community! The act of sharing a meal nourishes our body as well as our soul. Families are eating more meals together than they did before, because of the quarantine. Did you know that September is National Family Meals Month?  Research shows eating more family meals helps foster emotional balance, is linked with better grades, results in kids engaging less in risky behaviors, and has overall better diet quality. For more information, check out

 Here is what we have learned over the last six months I hope becomes part of our “new normal”:

  • We have a renewed understanding of the complete role of food plays in our lives. It is nourishment for both our body and our soul!
  • We understand we need to balance both comfort & health. Perhaps we can learn to adapt some of our comfort foods with healthy alternatives.
  • We won’t underestimate the importance of the community aspect of eating for whole person wellness.

What part of your routine from the last six months do you wish becomes part of your “new normal”?

Stacey Krawczyk is the President and Founder of FoodWell Strategies, and holds a MS in Public Health Nutrition and a BS in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. A Registered Dietitian for over 25 years, her current expertise centers in evidence-based marketing of foods and wellness. She partners with brands to unlock wellness opportunities by utilizing insights and science to develop marketing tools, communications, and external influencer engagement.