Covid 19 has given all of us challenges to daily life, not least the provision of a healthy balanced diet for ourselves and our loved ones. So how can we eat in a healthy way during lockdown?
The same healthy eating messages continue as before, however we may need to rely more on store cupboard essentials. Ways to keep your diet varied and nutritionally adequate could include:
- Keep aiming for 5 portions of fruit or vegetables per day. Fresh fruit and vegetables may be harder to obtain at the moment but frozen vegetables are just as good, if not better than fresh, and usually take less peeling! Tinned fruit still contains fibre and vitamin C, those canned in juice will be lower sugar than those in syrup. Generally a portion of vegetables is lower calorie than a portion of fruit so using more vegetables as snacks and fillers can help keep the energy intake lower if lockdown weight gain is a concern.
- Basing meals on starchy foods, especially wholegrain varieties, can help you to feel fuller for longer, helping to reduce snacking. Rice and pasta are easily kept in the store cupboard and make a quick and filling meal (try to stick to recommended serving sizes on the label).
- Having sufficient dairy foods or alternatives is important. Getting fresh milk is difficult if isolating, long life milk has a different taste but can be used for smoothies or strongly flavoured drinks if you dislike the taste. If you are struggling to eat, full cream milky drinks are an excellent way to add energy and protein to your diet. If you are using milk alternatives; soya then oat milk are higher in protein to help maintain your muscles. Fortified alternative milks have vitamins and minerals added that organic milks cannot.
- Many people rely on meat or fish for their protein but dig out the lentils from the cupboard and try some new recipes. Boiled or soaked lentils make a great mince alternative in Bolognese type meals.
- Lots of people are baking now and really seeing what goes into their cakes. Using vegetable based spreads as opposed to butter provides you with more of the “good” cholesterol and less “bad” and is easy to cream and bake with.
During lockdown, being kind to yourself has become particularly important. Enjoying new and interesting foods made from cupboard stores or replacements for your usual foods can be a kitchen adventure. Some recipes will be more successful than others so having a backup tin of beans and some toast to hand means you will always have dinner if it all goes wrong!