The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused chaos in economies all over the world, posing unprecedented challenges to the lives of both the rich and the destitute. Lockdowns have compelled billions of people throughout the world to stay at home. It has wreaked havoc on our daily lives. We're socially isolating, staying at home, and unable to eat out. These challenges have affected us both physically and emotionally. It’s hard to keep the same routine when you have to physically distance yourself from others, especially if you’re at a higher risk of getting sick from the virus.
Not pointing fingers at anyone, but I’m sure everyone will agree with me when I say this, we have gained a lot of weight during the pandemic. Constantly staying at home, lying on the couch, watching Netflix while enjoying that delicious pizza along with that glass of cola has made our belly size increase by several inches. With the start of the ‘work from home’ pattern, we have forgotten about our health. A major cause of that is our unhealthy eating patterns.
Eating a healthy diet is very important during the COVID-19 pandemic. What we eat and drink can affect our body’s ability to prevent, fight and recover from infections. While no foods or dietary supplements can prevent or cure COVID-19 infection, healthy diets are important for supporting immune systems. Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer can all be prevented with good nutrition.
Hereunder are some pointers for you to help you promote healthy food habits amidst the pandemic:
DRINKING WATER IS A MUST!
Drink water regularly. Staying well-hydrated also helps your immune system. Stick with plain water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages to cut down on empty calories.
KEEP A NUTRIENT-RICH DIET
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are rich in vitamins and minerals as well as fibre. Frozen or canned fruits and vegetables also contain vitamins and minerals, although the processing of these products sometimes adds ingredients such as sugar, salt, or preservatives. Be sure to read the labels so you can choose what’s best for you and your family. Consume a diet rich in whole grains, nuts, and healthy fats such as olive, sesame, peanut, or other oils rich in unsaturated fatty acids. These foods help to support your immune system.
PRE-PLANNED GROCERY SHOPPING
When it's time to shop for groceries, a little forethought might help you get in and out quickly. Prepare a two-week shopping list for yourself and everyone in your household, and resist the impulse to buy in larger quantities. Purchasing more than you require leaves less for others and may result in food waste.
COMFORT FOOD IS NOT COMFORTABLE EVERY TIME
It’s tempting to reach for comfort food when we’re stressed, and that’s okay once in a while. But don’t make it a habit because many of these foods, such as mac and cheese, pizza, and burgers, and fries, are high in fat, sugar, and salt. Read food labels so you can be informed about the nutritional value of the foods you’re buying, serving to your family, and eating.
MODERATE YOUR ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION
During these challenging times, it can also be tempting to cope by reaching for an alcoholic drink. If you drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. Alcoholic beverages have little nutritional value and are often high in calories, and excess consumption of alcohol is linked to numerous health problems.
Good nutrition has always been important, but during this pandemic, it’s even more important because a well-balanced diet of nutritious foods helps support a strong immune system. So, let us all incorporate these changes in our eating habits for a better, joyous, and healthy tomorrow!