Healthy eating in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic

Address the “quarantine kilos” or “Quarantine 15: ”How to get back on track with a healthy diet

It is not surprising that many people have put on a few kilos during the course of the pandemic. And it is understandable.

For those confined to their homes, the constant and close access to cupboards or the refrigerator was too tempting. The closing of the gyms took people away from their normal exercise routines. The general fatigue from dealing with the persistence of COVID-19 is also one reason why people lost a bit of momentum when it comes to healthy lifestyles.

It is not too late to get back on the healthy path. Sara Housman, a registered dietitian at the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System (SVMHS), urges people not to punish themselves if they haven’t made the healthiest choices.

“We must recognize that this was not a normal year. People lost their loved ones. They lost their homes. They lost their jobs. We must be good to ourselves, ”says Sara Housman.

To hear a detailed discussion on this topic with Sara Housman, Registered Dietitian at Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System (SVMH), enter this link.

Start small

One way to overcome feelings of “hopelessness” is to start with a few small goals and allow yourself to enjoy those successes. This could be as simple as adding just five minutes of exercise a day or incorporating a vegetable into one of your meals.

Another strategy is to try listening to your body’s hunger signals. Is stress responsible for your cravings or are you really hungry? “Chronic stress interferes with our ability to listen to our bodies and our hormones begin to tell us that we need to store food. So we looked for those comfort foods, ”Housman adds.

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Buying strategies

At the beginning of the pandemic, many people were hesitant to go to the supermarket because they were afraid of being exposed to the virus. Retail stores adapted quickly, offering street pickup or delivery services. People adjusted too, usually by doing multi-week grocery shopping in one go. The key to effective shopping, Housman says, is making a good shopping list.

“A big part of your personal care could consist of sitting down and planning your meals. I think a lot of our stress comes from the unknown and planning those meals provides something familiar, ”explains Housman. “I am a huge fan of soup, especially at this time of year. You can make soups with a wide variety of foods: frozen vegetables, beans, and whole grains. If you make a large enough batch of soup, you can eat some now and freeze some for later. ”

As for fresh foods, he advises to use vegetables and fruits that are more “non-perishable”, such as beets, carrots, winter squash, oranges and apples.

Tastes can be healthy too

While it’s important to limit the amount of “tastes” you and your family consume, Housman says they don’t have to be totally off-limits. In fact, these can be healthy.

“I think it’s a good thing to indulge yourself. Some of my favorite comfort foods include a fresh lentil casserole, homemade rosemary bread, homemade soup, and cinnamon rolls from the downtown bakery. When you have a bad day, week or month or, in this case, the whole year, you have foods that you can turn to and that you know are good for you, but also comfort you ”.

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Specific health considerations

Of course, anyone with a medical condition that requires adherence to a special diet (eg, diabetes, high cholesterol) should be extra careful with their meals. The last thing anyone wants right now is for more people to have to go to the hospital.

“We want you to do the best you can to take care of yourself at home. It’s really about being present and being aware of what you eat and how much you eat, ”says Housman.

He suggests looking into the food creations of SVMHS chef Jason Giles, who developed a number of heart-healthy recipes, many of which are plant-based. Other resources include the American Heart Association website and the Blue Zones cookbook series.

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