Mary Helen Hawkins understands the temptation.

 With nearly all of Mississippi University for Women’s staff working from home due to COVID-19 (coronavirus), Hawkins knows the proximity food can cause people to change their eating habits.

That’s why the image sent by Hawkins’ sister via Jayne Perkins-Brown, the chair of The W Foundation’s board of directors, struck a chord with her. The image, which Hawkins said has been on Facebook, shows a lean snack cake lady on Day 1 of the quarantine paired with an image of the same albeit plumper woman on Day 14 of the quarantine. Hawkins said her sister, who recently retired as a vice president at Georgia Southern University, joked that it wasn’t going to take long for her to look like the woman in the Day 14 image.

But Hawkins, a chef instructor/certificate program coordinator in The W’s Culinary Arts Institute, has a few healthy eating habits to help you while you work and study from home.

“Now is the perfect time to get in the kitchen and practice those knife skills while preparing a nutritional meal for your family,” Hawkins said. “The great thing about preparing your own meals is you control what goes in your meal – no preservatives – and you can save money.”

Since it is strawberry season, Hawkins suggests using the fresh fruit with a salad and vinaigrette recipe. She promises it won’t disappoint.

Don’t despair if you can’t find fresh fruit and vegetables. Hawkins said fruits and vegetables are canned and frozen at their peak, which allows you to stock up the pantry and freezer.

She also suggested setting aside time for homemade freezer meals. She enjoys spending one day in the kitchen so she can fill her freezer with meals that are ready to go quickly. Hawkins said a recipe for street tacos and salsa is a perfect one for you and your family to try.

“If you don’t like heat, you can always leave the jalapenos and cayenne out,” Hawkins said. “If you like it really hot, you can always bump up the heat.”

Hawkins said there are countless recipes available on the internet to fit your tastes. She suggested trying something new and healthy and easy to get you started.

“You may just find out how much fun cooking really is and channel your inner Julia Child or Gordon Ramsey depending on your mood,” Hawkins said.

April 6, 2020
Contact: Adam Minichino
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(662) 329-1976