by: Nely Ward
As we settle into the socially distancing and stay at home policies from the new COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to remember that healthy eating does not have to fall by the wayside. You may be taking extra precautions now to keep you and your family safe and prepared. A great form of protection and prevention from disease is to enhance your immune system with wholesome goods to stay energized, feel good, and be healthy.
A healthy diet includes one with lots of diverse fruits and vegetables for rich vitamins and adequate protein and grains to help maintain your immune system. Fish rich in Omega-3, meat full of iron and B-complex vitamins, milk and dairy products packed with vitamin B, good hydration, and exercise are all important factors in keeping your immune system in great shape. I believe that a diet that includes all natural ingredients is enough for a healthy diet without having to fill your body with supplements.
While we try to limit our trips to the grocery store, you can also stock up on canned, frozen, and non-perishable foods. Buy fresh foods at your trip to the store, and use those foods first. Canned food can last you for years but has a higher sodium content than others, while frozen foods can last for months. Dried foods including dried beans, pasta, and root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, acorn squash, butternut squash, etc.) are also a good option to have at home.
Try to limit the amount of highly processed foods in your shopping basket. Ready to eat meals, packaged snacks, and desserts are typically high in sugar, saturated fats, and salt. If you do purchase processed food during this time, read the labels and try to choose healthier options containing less substance. Here is a link to a previous article with help on how to read nutrition labels. Try to also avoid sugary drinks and increase your intake of water- adding fruits or vegetables like lemon, lime, and cucumber are great ways to add a twist of flavor to your water.
For household that have kids that often need to eat a few snacks during the day to keep them going, opt for healthier options rather than sweet or salty snacks. Healthier options include nuts, cheese, unsweetened yogurt, chopped or dried fruit, boiled eggs, and other locally available snacks. We can use this time to incorporate and educate our kids on healthy eating and start some good lifetime healthy eating habits.
Cooking and eating together is a great way to create healthy routines, strengthen family bonds and have fun. When you can, involve your family in meal preparation. Sticking to a fixed mealtime and routine can help reduce anxiety in these stressful situations.
Keep moving, stay safe, and be healthy!