Disruptions from COVID-19 have caused food supply chain issues in many parts of Australia. This may mean you cannot access the fresh produce you normally buy to prepare meals and snacks for residents in your care.

Here are several hints and tips to prepare nutritious meals when fresh food shortages occur.

Unavailable or in short supply

Order and use

Milk, yoghurts, cheese and their alternatives

Fresh milk

Long-life milk (cows milk and plant-based alternatives like soy milk — ensuring any alternative is calcium fortified/enriched)

Powdered milk
• use full cream milk powder and add skim milk powder to fortify/enrich it with extra protein and calcium
• use skim milk powder to enrich soups, curries, sauces, mashed potatoes

Cold cheese

Shelf-stable cream cheese spread for sandwiches (refrigerate after opening)


Frozen yoghurt or ice cream

Fresh custard

Custard powder

Lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds

Meat and poultry

Dried or canned beans/legumes (for example, kidney beans, chickpeas, 3 bean mix, lentils)
• use in soups, curries, casseroles, burgers and salads
• replace some of the meat in recipes with beans/legumes (for example, use lentils in spaghetti bolognaise or extra kidney beans in chill con carne)
• add baked beans to jacket potatoes or use to make a jaffle with cheese

Canned poultry (for example, canned chicken for sandwiches)

Textured vegetable protein (TVP) — a nutritious plant protein and can be used in the same way you use mince meat

Tofu – marinated tofu is tasty and generally more acceptable than plain tofu

Quorn mince – a good source of protein and fibre. Use as a mince meat substitute in bolognaise sauce, meat balls and casseroles.

Eggs – scrambled, poached, fried, boiled

Nuts, nut butters and seeds (store in the fridge to keep for longer)

Fresh fish

Frozen fish

Canned tuna, salmon and sardines

Grain (cereal) foods

Fresh bread

Freeze extra loaves when they are readily available

Bread mix (white and wholemeal) – to make your own

Flour (white and wholemeal) – to make scones, pikelets, pancakes and cakes

Wraps and pita bread – white and wholemeal (can be frozen)

English muffins, crumpets and raisin toast (can be frozen)

Scones — plain, sweet and savoury (can be frozen)

Crackers and crispbreads (regular and wholemeal)

Rice and quinoa

Pasta and noodles (for example, hokkien, soba, and egg noodles)

Vegetables and legumes/beans

Fresh vegetables

Frozen vegetables

Canned vegetables (for example, corn kernels, baby carrots, green beans, peas, diced capsicum, baby corn spears, beetroot)

Dehydrated/instant potato (to make mashed potato)

Dried and canned beans/legumes (for example, kidney beans, chickpeas, 3 bean mix, lentils)

Canned vegetable soups (for example, minestrone, pea and ham, chicken and sweet corn soup)


Fresh fruit

Frozen fruit (for food safety boil imported frozen berries for 1 minute before consumption)

Canned fruit (for example, canned peaches, apricots, pears, mango)

Dried fruit (for example, sultanas, dried mango, dried apple, dates, prunes)

Fruit juice (no added sugar)

Fruit nectar (for example, apricot, pear, guava and mango nectar)

Find a dietitian

Accredited Practising Dietitians (APDs) are university-trained nutrition experts. They can help you with personalised, easy-to-follow and evidence-based advice. They're Australia’s most trusted dietetics professionals. You can search for an APD with our Find a dietitian online tool.

Search tips:

  • Enter your postcode and select a kilometre radius (15-100km)
  • For the ‘health condition’, select ‘aged care’

Find a dietitian

Get in touch

If you have questions contact us at info@dietitiansaustralia.org.au or call 02 6189 1200.