Over 500 People Reveal The Food They've Consumed Way More Of During The Pandemic

Remember the New Year's resolutions we made in the waning weeks of 2019 before we knew coronavirus was a-comin' for us? We were going to exercise more, drink less booze and more water, and cut back on carbs. Welp, that lasted all of a few months. In all fairness to our short-lived health goals for 2020, it is kind of hard to stick to a wellness agenda when the world as you know it has crumbled, no one has seen you in person since March, and the yoga pants you wear every day are roomy enough to accommodate plenty more quarantine fluff where that came from.

So what have we all been eating, with no one to notice our growing waistlines? In an exclusive Mashed poll of more than 500 Americans, the number one pandemic food people have admitted to is bread. Nearly 17 percent of those surveyed say they are eating it more than they did before. So much for that keto diet! And many of us are baking that bread at home, from scratch; sales of bread recipe books are up 145 percent this year over last, according to a press release from The NPD Group. No wonder it's been so hard to find flour at the supermarket!

We're drinking a lot more alcohol than we used to, survey reveals

It's easy to joke about all of the liquor we've been downing to deal with the stress of what likely will be the most bizarre years we've collectively lived through, but in fact, no one is actually kidding when they say they are consuming more alcohol than they did previously. Close to 15 percent of those surveyed listed wine as the food or beverage they're having much more of than they did pre-pandemic, and about nine percent said that honor belonged to beer.

This trend is both unsurprising and troubling to psychotherapist Jean M. Campbell, LCSW, who has worked with women with alcoholism for over 20 years. "Even the most grounded, centered people I know have had a hard time regulating their nervous systems because they're not only feeling their own anxiety but also the collective anxiety," Campbell told Health. "Because there are so few options for 'healthy escapes,' combined with an absence of self-soothing skills, many people have been turning — even more than usual — to alcohol to calm their insides." The problem, she noted, is that while wine may make us feel better in the moment, it actually makes our problems worse. "You feel depressed, so you drink, and because you drink, you're more depressed, and because you're depressed, you drink more ... alcohol is not only not a solution in this case — it's actually contributing to the problem."

Chinese takeout is having a big moment

When you're drinking a lot, you need a good hangover meal, and salty, oily, Chinese food certainly fits the bill. Approximately 14 percent of those responding to the Mashed survey said they are ordering more Chinese takeout than ever before. In a year full of misfortune, perhaps we are hoping that one of those fortune cookies will reveal some good news to look forward to?

More likely, we're helping ourselves to heaps of lo mein and General Tso's because Chinese food is the ultimate comfort food. "Even as restaurants suffer, the American taste for Chinese food is not on the decline," Jennifer 8 Lee, author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food, told Fortune. Lee pointed out that hostility against Chinese immigrants has been at an all-time high because some politicians have called coronavirus "the China virus." While that's been difficult for some employees of Chinese restaurants to endure slights and insults, it hasn't hurt sales. "I don't think white people are staying away [from Chinese restaurants] because of COVID. To them, it's so American," said Lee, who has pointed out in her book that Chinese restaurants in the U.S. outnumber McDonald's locations.

We're eating like we live in a college dorm

What else do you eat when the future seems bleak? The answer is not salad. In fact, many of us are basically eating like we're in a college dorm. More than 12 percent are dining on nuked frozen dinners, more than eight percent have rediscovered the delight of Ramen noodles, and nearly eight percent specifically listed Cheetos as their favorite pandemic junk-food fix. Ice cream, frozen pizza, milkshakes, spaghetti, and Hershey kisses were among the dozens of other write-ins respondents offered when asked what foods they've been eating more of since the pandemic.

According to Carli Liguori, an instructor of Nutrition and Behavior Change at the University of Pittsburgh, it makes sense that these strange times are motivating us to choose foods that remind us of what we ate when we were kids. "During periods of stress, people tend to eat more and show a greater preference for higher calorie foods," she wrote (via PhillyVoice). "[I]t's no surprise that, during a period of uncertainty that has many of us desperate for some relief and comfort, the foods of our childhood can act as a salve. For some of us, that bowl of Lucky Charms isn't just a sweet treat; it's a reminder of days gone by, a time of safety and stability."