Top tips for healthy eating during lock-down
Although staying home is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the sudden disruption to daily routines may lead to unhealthy eating habits.
While its normal to experience shifts in your diet over this time, its important to not let healthy eating fall by the wayside.
Daisy Coyle is a PhD candidate in the Food Policy Division at The George Institute and an Accredited Practising Dietitian. Here are her five top tips for eating well during this period of isolation:
Tip 1: Stick to a routine
- It’s still important to plan out your week.
- Allocate time for meal breaks based on your regular eating routine. If you’re used to having three main meals a day then stick with that. The same goes if you typically eat five smaller meals across the day.
- If possible, eat your meals away from your working area and away from distractions. Being present will reduce overeating and leave you feeling satisfied.
- What’s more, scheduling in meal times and being fully present will help to break up the day and stop tempting you into the kitchen in between meals.
Tip 2: Focus on nutritious food
- Keep your kitchen stocked with nutritious food from the five core food groups.
- This includes vegetables, fruit, grains/cereals (e.g. wholegrain bread, oats and brown rice), lean protein (e.g. eggs, seafood, lean meat and tofu) and dairy (e.g. milk, yoghurt, cheese). More information can be found here.
- Try to get a variety of these at each meal.
- Frozen fruit and vegetables are a great alternative that are just as nutritious as fresh produce. Canned fruits and vegetables are also a convenient option - look out for the low-salt and/or low sugar options.
- It’s also important to have healthy snacks on hand to curb morning and afternoon cravings. Go for a small handful of unsalted nuts, veggie sticks with hummus or yoghurt with berries.
Tip 3: Remove temptations
- Keeping your favourite foods stocked in your pantry and fridge may lead to overeating.
- If you can, avoid storing unhealthy foods in your kitchen such as bakery goods, chips and chocolate as this may increase your cravings for these foods and lead to mindless snacking.
- Alternatively, store these foods at the back of a cupboard or back of the fridge to reduce exposure – out of sight out of mind.
- Of course, there is nothing wrong with enjoying an occasional treat.
Tip 4: Prepare ahead
- It is important to prepare ahead to avoid unnecessary trips to the supermarket.
- Plan your meals, work out what you need and write a shopping list to avoid over-purchasing and ensure you don’t miss key ingredients.
- Fruit and vegetable delivery services are a great option for locally sourced and seasonal produce delivered right to your door. Try out Hillview Farms, Ooooby and Box Fresh.
Tip 5: Unleash your inner chef
- Without the option of dining at pubs and restaurants, take the opportunity to brush up on your cooking skills.
- Dust off your cookbooks and get inspired. With longer periods of time home, take this time to cook recipes you previously did not have time to make.
- This will also have benefits for your health. Research shows that those who frequently eat home-cooked meals have a better diet quality, are less likely to be overweight and have excess body fat (1, 2).
- There are also many healthy and delicious recipes online, such as those from the Australian Healthy Food Guide.
It can be difficult to maintain healthy eating habits during this extended period at home.
If you haven’t been eating as well as you’d like, these tips will hopefully put you back on track.
For specific dietary advice, make an appointment with an Accredited Practising Dietitian.