Proper nutrition is essential, especially in times when our immune system should be the highest priority. However, while many things might seem to be way beyond our control right now, the way we eat really is not. Indeed, comfort food is all we crave in times like, but a well-balanced meal should also be an integral part of your equation.
While in lockdown, you might be tempted to rely on an abundance of food delivery services and even skip important meals, thus, ignoring how you eat, what, and when you eat can be easy. Moreover, since quarantines are associated with the interruption of work routine, this could result in boredom. Boredom, in turn, comes with greater energy intake, as well as the consumption of higher quantities of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Additionally, not only does boredom trigger your food cravings, but continuously hearing or reading about COVID 19 without giving yourself a break can be stressful. This, in turn, pushes you towards overeating, particularly looking for “comfort foods.” How do these food cravings manifest? This longing comes along with a strong desire to eat, seek, and think about food.
Proper nutrition is crucial in uncertain times, particularly when our immune system needs all the necessary tools to fight back. And, because for some, the options are endless, here are some helpful suggestions regarding your lockdown nutrition.
Strategize the use of ingredients and make sure you prioritize fresh products
While nothing works well without a steady plan, you should start by strategizing and planning your food and try to avoid as much as possible a panic buying behaviour. It is, therefore, highly important to consider your needs, as well as those of others, regardless of how difficult a situation may appear to be. You can start by calmly evaluating your home food inventory and planning your intake.
Indeed, you might feel like buying or experimenting with all sorts of recipes, now that you have got plenty of time, but a better idea would be to consider and utilize what you already have in your pantry. Doing so, you can allow other access to food they truly need and even avoid food waste.
Strategizing your food intake is not an impossible task. First, consider your fresh ingredient and those that have a shorter shelf life. If fresh products, especially vegetables and fruits, continue to be available, make sure you prioritize them over durable products such as canned goods and dried fruits.
Limit Salt Intake
Because the amount of fresh foods is likely to decrease during this period, you might be tempted to rely more on frozen, processed, and canned foods. Many of these products contain high amounts of salt. And, while the World Health Organization advises us to consume less than 5 g of salt per day, you should prioritize foods with less or no added salt. Moreover, given that you might already consume enough salt, make sure you avoid extra salt intake when cooking. If you are avid to experience a more intense taste in your foods, we highly recommend you experiment with a variety of fresh or dried herbs and spices.
Do not overlook supplements
While many people are staying indoor to help slow the spread of COVID 19, as a result, they have less access to sunlight, which is a natural source of vitamin D. Not only that but neglecting your old eating routine due to boredom and stress, might drain your body of essential nutrients you might need to fight back prompt mood changes, anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
Numerous studies have found that the” sunshine vitamin” helps protect against heart disease, diabetes, colds, flu, and cancer. Increasing your vitamin D intake while in isolation is optimal for your overall health and well-being.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3s are crucial for many conditions such as heart disease, depression, anxiety, arthritis, and asthma. If you need omega-3s, you should consider eating more fatty fish, like tuna, sardines, and salmon, but if you do not have fish a few times a week, you should consider supplements.
Full-spectrum CBD oil, for instance, is an ideal source of both Omega 3 and Omega 6. Omega 3 acids play a crucial role in producing the hormones that regulate contraction, inflammation and relaxation of your arteries. They also reduce triglycerides levels in your blood, which lower your risk of suffering from stroker and heart disease.
There are three key B vitamins that should not miss from your diet. Vitamin B6, for example, is helpful for women suffering from depression that is linked to the PMSs and can easily be taken by eating more steady breakfast cereals, peanut butter, bananas, fish, and chicken. B12, in turn, can help you when you are struggling with memory loss and mood changes and can be found as supplements or in foods such as milk, eggs, meat, seafood and cereals.
However, before taking any vitamins and supplements, make sure to tell your doctor so you can avoid unintended interaction with medications.
Limit Sugar Intake
The World Health Organization recommends us to not to exceed a 5% sugar intake. In case you crave something sweet, try not to forget healthier alternatives to sweets. Frozen fruits, fresh fruits, dried fruits are a great option. It is easy to fall into sugar cravings while indoors, a reason why paying attention to your portions is necessary.
Practice mindful eating
In uncertain times like these, it is normal to feel sad, anxious, stressed, and scared. However, being diligent in your daily routine can help you kick out some of that stress. One great way we can do that is by sticking to a certain mealtime and plan our meal in advance.
Practicing mindful eating is a great way to maintain a healthy relationship with food.
Stay still while you eat. Do not eat on the go; make sure you have a seat.
Remove all sorts of distractions and ensure there is nothing like phones, laptops, TVs around you.
Resist the urge to eat straight from the package. Prepare your meal like you would for someone else. Take yourself on a date.
Chew your food because your stomach does not have teeth. Take small bites, taste, and enjoy the texture of your food.
Avoid finishing the whole plate. If you feel full, then you surely are full.
Spending more time at home will inevitably make you crave more food. But, following basic healthy living advice such as staying hydrated, being physically active, and eating a balanced diet are the best recommendations for staying healthy and sane during self-isolation.