We are all doing our best to stay at home to “flatten the curve”. This means, many of us are being forced to prepare and eat our meals at home, while also minimizing trips to the grocery store. There have been a lot of jokes going around about gaining the “quarantine 15” and how many are struggling with emotional or boredom eating. Although it may be tempting to down your feelings in a tub of ice cream, healthy eating is more important than ever during this time to keep your immune system strong and improve your mental well-being.
Why Is Eating Healthy Important?
For many, food provides comfort. It is natural to turn to food to help manage emotions during uncertain times as a coping mechanism. But it is important to make sure you choose the right snacks and meals during this time to support a healthy mind and body.
A healthy diet provides vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help your body fight off illness. Eating meals that are balanced in protein, healthy fats and high fiber carbohydrates help keep your blood sugar stable, which translates to stable energy and mood. So, while you may be tempted to dive into a box of cookies or bag of chips out of boredom or the latest news headlines, focusing instead on healthy things to eat will help you manage this stressful time and its impact on your body more effectively.
Healthy Foods to Eat
There are many healthy foods that can support your immune system and help you feel your best. Here are a few of our favorite healthy foods to eat:
- Grass fed or pasture-raised meat and poultry
- Beans and lentils
- Wild-caught fish
- High quality protein powder
- Green, leafy vegetables
- Rainbow-colored vegetables (fresh, canned or frozen)
- Fruits high in vitamin C: citrus, strawberries, kiwi
- Healthy fats: olive oil, avocado oil
- Whole grains: quinoa, brown rice
- Dried herbs and spices
Basing your diet on these healthy foods will help you stay satisfied and support ideal immune function while you are stuck at home.
Healthy Eating Tips
Healthy eating while at home will involve a bit more planning, especially because grocery trips should be less frequent right now. You may also be thinking about how to eat healthy on a budget. This means, you will need to go to the store armed with a shopping list and a plan. Before you go, think about the week ahead and plan out options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and healthy snacks. Consider selecting meals you can prepare once in a large batch and freeze for later, so you are not cooking all the time.
Once you make your plan, create a list of everything you need so you don’t forget anything while you are there. At the store, purchase a combination of protein, fresh produce and canned or frozen vegetables and fruits. Once you get home, try to eat the fresh foods first, so you can keep the less perishable items for later as food supply starts to be used up.
Make sure you pick up some healthy snacks to eat as well. Snacks high in protein, like an afternoon protein shake, are a great way to stay satisfied and stop cravings. Consider putting fresh fruits and vegetables on the counter or at the front of the refrigerator, so they are the first things you reach for when you are looking for a snack.
The key to healthy eating at home truly is having a plan and maintaining a regular eating schedule. If you find yourself grazing all day out of boredom or anxiety, remind yourself that while it is easy to make excuses for bad habits right now, the only one who will pay the price later will be yourself. Invest a little extra effort into your diet planning and stick with your meal plan. A plan will help you stay on budget, prevent you from overindulging too often, and provide an extra sense of structure and accomplishment in your life when many of us need it most.
Finally, in addition to eating healthy, you should always make a point to get up and move around throughout your day.