How to Eat Healthy While in Lockdown?
A lot of changes are happening in the daily life of people due to the COVID-19 outbreak. All around the world the day to day life as well as a healthy living lifestyle has taken a huge hit. That does not mean that one cannot have a healthy lifestyle during such difficult times. Firstly, everyone is encouraged to follow the health and diet guidance prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and their respective country’s government. No doubt, good hygiene and physical distancing the best method for protecting oneself and others against COVID-19.
Following A Good Nutrition
Not many people know that good nutrition is necessary during as well as after the infection. Of course, the infection does take a toll on one’s body. And this is common when this leads to fever and in that case, the body needs some extra nutrients and energy. Hence maintaining a good and healthy diet is necessary during the COVID pandemic.
Now no dietary supplements and food can avoid the COVID -19 infections, but you can maintain a healthy diet. A healthy diet will help in supporting and providing the best immune system. Also, countries that have implemented strict lockdown, as well as physical distancing regulations, have been in use, thereby leading to protected access to food items. This has led to widespread disruptions in food supplies.
In addition, the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) of the United Nations and other UN agencies are sharing the best practices for assisting the government in making sure that there is an additional and good supply of food materials. No doubt, this makes sure that one can buy and have a healthy diet even during the difficult times.
As we all know diets vary from places to places. This is based on various factors and the major ones are the eating habits and culture. When it is related to food items, most of us are ignorant and still must learn a lot for selecting the correct combination of food items for getting a healthy diet.
Basic Tips on Eating Healthy During the COVID Lockdown
- Have A Plan – Consume Only What You Want
Studies done in the European region shows that there are multiple cases of people over-purchasing. Seriously, a panic kind of purchasing behaviour will have a drastic effect and consequences like overconsumption of food materials, an increase in prices of food, and unequal distribution of food items. Hence, it is necessary to take into consideration the requirements of one as well as of others too.
Make sure that you can assess what you have already at your home and then plan about your intake. There might arise a feeling in you to purchase large amounts of food items. Just make sure that you think properly and utilize what is already available with you. Just keep in mind that there are food items that have a shorter shelf life. By this way you can avoid all kind of food wastage and even be able to access other foodstuffs as and when you require.
- Have A Balance and Varied Diet Food
Frankly, there are not any supplements or food that boost our immune system as well as avoid or cure the COVID-19. More importantly, consuming a well-balanced diet filled with a good amount of vegetables and fruits, plant and animal proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats will easily provide the required nutrients. This is important for your normal immune function and good health. Since self-isolation will lead to being less active, still it is necessary that you pay close attention to the portion of food that you eat and make sure that you have balanced energy that meets your needs.
- Think Strategic Regarding Ingredients to Use- Always Go for Fresh Products
Always utilize fresh ingredients, especially the ones that have a shorter shelf life. Suppose if you can get fresh food products like vegetables, fruits, fat-free dairy products, try to prioritize them over the non-perishable ones.
Most of the time, you can use frozen vegetables and fruits over a longer period, and they have the same nutrient profile as the fresh foodstuffs. Just make sure that you never waste any food and consider freezing any leftovers for another day’s meal.
- Follow A Strict Routine and Go for Mindful Consumption
Well, it is true that COVID leads to times of uncertainty and it is only normal for one to feel anxious, scared, sad and stressed. Having a normal daily routine will help in managing some of the major stress that you are going through during this lockdown.
One of the best ways is by sticking to the regular mealtimes and making sure that you are planning meals in advance. Here, you will easily have good control over the hunger levels as well as easily be able to meet your nutrient requirements. Plus, it will allow you to get the most out of your food that you have and even reduce the wastage of food too.
It is true that during the lockdown period, we might often feel stressed and during such times end up overeating. Also, there is the aspect of being bored too. By opting for mindful eating, we deploy the best method for having a healthy relationship with food items and this will assist us in balancing the energy intake.
Some of the best tips for practicing good and mindful eating are –
1) Avoid Eating on The Go – Of course, it is tough to be aware of how you are going to eat. Just sit down and think of what you are going to eat.
2) Hold Yourself from Eating Straight Out of the Bag or Box – Always make sure that you are serving your food. This way you can view and appreciate what you are eating and know how much you are eating.
3) Get Rid of Distractions – Always switch off the TV and all the things having screens like smartphones, computers, etc while you are having food.
4) Small Bites – Make sure that you take small bites and chew very well. Try to focus on taste, smell, and food texture. Each bite should contain at least thirty chews.
5) Utensils – Get your utensils down after having each bite. Never pick them back up until you have swallowed what you have already in your mouth.
6) Whole Plate – Never try to finish the whole plate. If you are feeling full, just safely store the leftovers.
- Have Plenty of Vegetables and Fruits
Fresh vegetables and fruits provide a good amount of minerals as well as proteins. Plus, they have the best amount of fibre too that is necessary for a healthy diet. For limiting your trips to the market for purchasing fruits as well as vegetables, you can try canned or frozen fruits and veggies too. These food items will have the same amount of minerals and vitamins as the fresh ones.
But the preservation and canning of these food items will lead to the addition of other ingredients like salt, sugar, and preservatives. Make sure that you read the labels before you select the one that is good for you and even for your family. Plus, at times, limiting the intake of these ingredients might be a good thing.
- Be Hydrated
Being hydrated is necessary for whole health. Here the amount of water required is based on one’s sex, age, height, weight and the amount of physical activity he or she does. This also includes the environmental conditions too (like in the hot weather you would end up drinking a whole lot of water).
As around twenty to thirty percent of water comes from food that we eat, studies and research state that one needs to drink water as per their age. Also, if you have access to tap water (a clean one), then you have the cheapest and healthiest drinking source. To add or have a refreshing boost, just add some slices of cucumber, lemon, berries or mint.
You can try other drinks like unsweetened coffee, iced tea or normal tea and even the unsweetened, flavoured or infused sparkling water; these are the best choices for being hydrated.
- Prepare Home-Cooked Meals
It is common in the regular days for many people to have no time in preparing home-cooked meals. When you are spending a lot of time at home, it provides ample time in trying out some new recipes that you will not have the time to cook. You can easily find some of the delicious and healthy recipes online.
Well, right at your hand, you can take advantage of the free time available with you and even be able to experiment with the ingredients that are present with you. However, keep in mind that you need to eat in moderation.
- Follow Safe Food Hygiene
As per the WHO and other various agencies, there is no proper evidence regarding that COVID-19 gets transmitted from food. There is no harm in following best food safety practices that can reduce the risk involved in foodborne illnesses.
While you are preparing or handling food, try to follow these steps –
1) Always wash your hand for twenty seconds using soap before and after preparing and eating food.
2) Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeves whenever you are sneezing or coughing. Plus remember to wash your hands after that.
3) Wash vegetables and fruits just before eating them.
4) Disinfect objects and surfaces before as well as after usage
5) Place raw and cooked foods separate. This will avoid harmful microbes present in the raw foods from spreading to the ready-to-consume food.
6) Try to use various chopping boards or utensils for cooked and raw foods as it will avoid cross-contamination,
7) Always make sure to reheat and cook food at the best temperature
- Take Advantage of Food Delivery System
Even though home-cooked food needs to be prioritized, in certain countries and cities, there are advanced delivery systems for ready meals and ingredients. Nowadays, various businesses have started to provide such services.
There are certain options that have ‘contact-less’ options, where one will not need any kind of human interaction. This simply helps in supporting the self-quarantine and isolation method. Of course, such steps should be prioritized and this needs to be done by reliable businesses, the ones following strict food hygiene measures.
- Reduce Consumption of Alcohol
One of the common ways people cope up with stress is through alcoholic drinks. Such drinks have no amount of nutritious values and they are high in calories and excessive consumption will lead to various health issues. If you are planning on drinking alcohol, have in moderation.
- Be Aware of Portion Size of What You Eat
Sometimes it can be tough to get the right portion sizes. This is most common when you are cooking right from scratch. Staying at home for a long period of time and that too without any company or limited activity will lead to overeating. In such times, you can take guidance from your dietician and check out what constitutes a good and healthy portion for adults and what small portions can be best for kids.
Is There Any Food That Boosts Our Immune System?
Currently, there are not any proper evidence showing that any dietary pattern or food will help in boosting the immune system as well as avoid the COVID-19. Of course, various nutrients like vitamins A, B, C, and D; folate; copper; zinc; etc play a great role in improving our immune system. Frankly, most doctors and dieticians recommend having a balanced diet that is rich in vegetables and fruits.
Well, such diets can help us to get the required nutrients from the food. Along with healthy eating habits, we need to be physically active and get enough sleep. Invest in the food you are eating as that is fuel to the body. If you end up putting shit, you will end up feeling shit. Food for thought.