There’s so much about this COVID-19 pandemic we just can’t control, and the constant influx of information can make us all understandably anxious. But we can control the things we eat, and keeping ourselves healthy is one of the best ways we can stay safe, and protect other people, too.
Good nutrition is a critical part of maintaining a strong immune system. In times like this, when fresh food supplies are limited, and so many of us are stuck at home with unrestricted access to the candy bars hidden in the back of the cupboard, it’s easy to slip up and overindulge in unhealthy fats and sugars.
Luckily, the World Health Organization (WHO) put together a guide with food and nutrition tips to help us make the right choices for our long-term physical and mental health.
- Make a plan. We’ve seen all sorts of examples of panic-buying lately—toilet paper, in particular, comes to mind. But, over-purchasing causes unnecessary hardship for others in your community, and can result in food prices going up. Plus, if you have all this extra food sitting in your house, you’re way more likely to eat it. Figure out which meals you would like to make at the beginning of the week, and purchase those supplies. Remember you can freeze anything you don’t eat for another meal at a later date.
- Prepare home-cooked meals. Do you have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to recipes you want to try “as soon as you have the time?” Well, now you have it! Take the opportunity to experiment with new recipes, or put a fresh spin on an old favorite. This article from the WHO has some practical advice for maintaining a healthy diet that may help you choose new recipes.
Remember that home-cooked meals are also a great way to spend time together as a family. Invite your children to join you in choosing and preparing healthy meals. Talk about which vegetables they might like to include, or ask them for ideas for future meals. Modeling healthy eating habits is proven to inspire young children to make better choices.
- Take advantage of delivery options in your area. While home-cooked meals are the priority, so many restaurants have transitioned to take-out and delivery in order to keep you full of your local favorites. The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce compiled a list of restaurants and telephone numbers so we can continue to support our small business community by practicing social distancing.
Current recommendations include ordering hot, cooked food only, and removing it from the cardboard box or container as soon as possible. Wash your hands immediately after handling any outside food.
- Stay hydrated. It’s tempting to indulge in sugary drinks or extra caffeine in this uncertain time, but what you should be drinking is water—and lots of it. Water eliminates excess calories by filling you up so you avoid snacking simply because you’re bored. Mix it up a little by freezing berries to use as ice cubes, or slice up a cucumber to enhance the taste.
If you’re struggling with managing nutrition while practicing social distancing, the Registered Dietitians at Saratoga Hospital are here to help. They’re currently providing video appointments, temporarily covered by most insurance plans, to walk you through the process. Please call 518-886-5121 for more information.
But don’t forget—along with good nutrition comes physical activity, and it’s so important to remain active even while stuck at home. The COVID-19 page on our website has a few examples of online sources for yoga and exercise, as well as tips and trick for managing stress and anxiety during this ever-changing landscape.