TIMMINS -- With health officials saying people must stay home unless for essential purposes, a Timmins dietitian Danielle Lawrence wants to remind people that a proper diet is also one of the key ways to maintain physical and mental health.

Lawrence says that some who are staying at home may be snacking and ordering in more than usual, but that it’s important to focus on avoiding that temptation.

"At this time, eating healthy is particularly difficult because of the reduced access and we tend to have more canned goods and more foods on our shelves that are more processed," said Lawrence.

"If we go repeatedly to the cupboard, we’ll typically pick something that is less healthy and we typically make multiple trips."

Lawrence’s advice is to take the time to prepare snacks and meals with items that are not processed, including incorporating fruits, vegetables and foods with lots of fibre.

Food PrepLawrence advices families to incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables into meals and snacks.FIle Photo (Sergio Arangio/CTV News Northern Ontario)

She also suggested involving the whole family in the cooking process to alleviate some of the boredom that comes with self-isolation and to make snacking less tempting.

"Now that ... we are staying home and have the option of being able to teach some life skills to our children, I highly encourage that," said Lawrence.

"Getting them involved the kitchen, getting them to learn different foods ... and preparing the item to be eaten as a family, so you can learn something new together."