Good nourishment is essential for health, especially in times when the immune system might require to fight back. Partial access to fresh foods may compromise chances to keep on eating a healthy and varied diet.
It can even lead to excessive consumption of highly processed foods that tend to be high in fats, sugars, and salt. Nonetheless, even with some ingredients, we can have a diet that supports good health.
In order to support individuals in eating healthy during COVID-19 pandemic, Anthony Constantinou shares some crucial tips.
Prepare home-cooked meals
During regular everyday life, many of us often do not have the time to make home-cooked meals. Spending a longer time at home may now provide the possibility to prepare those recipes we earlier did not have time to make. Many healthy and delicious recipes are available online.
Take advantage of the free information, and experiment with the ingredients you have in your home, but always keep in mind the values for healthy eating.
Understand portion sizes
It can be hard to define the right portion size, particularly when cooking from scratch. Staying home for long periods, especially without any company or with limited activities can also lead to overeating. Seek guidance via your national food-based dietary guidelines on what comprises healthy portions for adults and be watchful that young children will need smaller portions.
Restrict your salt intake
The fresh food availability may reduce and as a result, you need to rely more on canned, frozen, or processed foods. Many such foods contain high levels of salt. Doctors suggest consuming less than 5 g of salt per day. In order to be selective about the salt intake, prioritize foods with less or no extra salt. You may even consider rinsing canned foods like vegetables and beans, to eliminate excessive sodium.
Remember that pickled foods usually have high levels of sodium. In many places, 50–75% of the salt intake comes from the foods we eat, instead of what we add ourselves. Experiment with clean or dried herbs and spices for new flavor instead.
Restrict your sugar intake
Ideally, less than 5% of complete energy intake for adults must come from free sugars (about 6 teaspoons). If you desire something sweet, fresh fruit must always be your priority. Frozen fruits, canned fruits in juice instead of syrup, and dried fruits without sugar are also a good choice.
When other dessert options are picked, make sure that they are less in sugar and consume small portions. Limit the portion sugar or honey added to foods and evade sweetening your beverages.
Restrict your fat intake
Your total fat intake must be less than 30% of complete energy intake. To avoid extra fat, opt for cooking ways that need less or no fat, such as steaming, grilling or sautéing rather than frying foods. If required, use a small portion of unsaturated oils like rapeseed, olive, or sunflower oil to cook foods.
Prefer foods, which contain healthy sources of unsaturated fats like fish and nuts. To restrict saturated fats, trim excess fat from meat and poultry, and pick skinless alternatives.
Take enough fiber
Fiber is essential for a healthy digestive system. It offers an extended feeling of fullness that helps prevent overeating. To ensure enough fiber intake, you must include vegetables, fruit, pulses, and wholegrain foods in your daily meals.
Wholegrains foods such as oats, brown pasta and rice, quinoa and whole-wheat bread and wraps, instead of refined grain foods like white pasta and rice, and white bread.
Keep yourself hydrated
Good hydration is essential for good health. Whenever accessible and harmless for consumption, tap water is the healthiest and cheapest drink. It is even the most sustainable, as it creates no waste, compared to bottled water. Drinking water rather than sugar-sweetened beverages is an easy way to restrict your intake of sugar and excess calories.
For enhancing the taste, fresh or frozen fruits such as berries or slices of citrus fruits along with cucumber or herbs like mint, lavender or rosemary may be added in the meal.
Avoid drinking high amounts of strong coffee, strong tea, and particularly caffeinated soft drinks and energy drinks. These may cause dehydration and can harmfully impact your sleeping patterns.
Avoid alcohol consumption
Alcohol changes the mind and d produce a harmful substance, which weakens the immune system. Therefore, the consumption of alcohol in the COVID-19 pandemic can be harmful as it impacts the body’s ability to cope with infectious diseases.
It is suggested that alcohol must be avoided, particularly when in self-quarantine. As a psychoactive substance, it put a negative impact on our mental state and decision-making and makes you more susceptible to risks like falls, injuries, or violence. Alcohol consumption may be the reason for depression, anxiety, fear, and panic – symptoms that can strengthen during isolation and self-quarantine.
Alcohol also makes particular medications less effective, while raising the strength and toxicity of others. Do not drink alcohol in combination with pain medication, as it will hinder your liver functioning and might cause severe problems, including liver failure.
Under no conditions should you drink any type of alcoholic product as a precautionary or treatment measure against COVID-19? Alcohol is not an essential part of your diet and not a part of a healthy lifestyle, therefore you should keep it away from your shopping list.
Take pleasure of family meals
The social distancing linked with the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many families are spending more time with each other at home that creates new opportunities to share meals. Preparing meals together is essential for parents to be role models for healthy eating, and growing healthy relationships among family members.
Prolong time at home during the COVID-19 period may also offer new opportunities to include children in cooking healthy foods that can help them attain important life skills, they can carry into later life. Letting children pick what vegetables to include in your meal may persuade them to eat them at the table.
When involving kids in cooking, it is crucial to keep meals simple. Never forget to teach kids about proper food safety along with regular hand washing, cleaning surfaces, and avoiding consumption of particular raw ingredients.
Anthony Constantinou writes articles for health and finance industry, including the current business trends and professional advice. Apart from writing, he enjoys doing social work, charity, love traveling, playing indoor and outdoor games, and loves interacting with all right-thinking people. You can get to his write-ups by typing the word “Anthony Constantinou” into Google.