Little did we know that we’d be going into lockdown 3.0 or 4.0, I’ve lost count at this stage.
I have thought of 8 easy steps to help you all look after your nutrition during lockdown. What I would say is small consistent steps help you implement long term habits. I know we’re in February but fad diet season still looms. So what I would say is why don’t you invest in your health this year? You won’t regret it.
Plan Plan Plan
Yes, it’s the easiest way in my opinion. Make a shopping list, I swear to buy it. Before I hit the shops I take a look in the cupboards and the fridge and decide on three meals that I’m going to cook that week. By doing this you ensure you are using the food you already have in the house and you’re less likely to pick something up because “you’ll probably use it”. Remember when you are throwing out food it’s only a waste of food it’s a waste of money too.
Give yourself 1-2 hours a week to batch cook for a few meals e.g. soup, spag bol, curries, stews etc. I have a free meal planner template if you’re interested drop me an email.
Planning doesn’t have to be stressful, why don’t you make it fun. Once a week why don’t you have a themed dinner e.g. mexican, italian, morrocan etc. This can be done as a family, your housemates or via zoom.
3 balanced meals a day + eat regularly
Do you feel like you are always chasing your hunger?
What I often hear a lot from clients is “I’m very good but I’m always starving. I then ask do you eat three meals a day and do you eat regularly?
By eating regularly it helps our blood sugar levels regularly and we’re less likely to be looking for that sugar hit. Don’t worry I completely believe in moderation but when you’re snacking to kill a sugar craving ask yourself am I missing something in my meals?
Keeping up regular mealtimes may help to add some normality in your household and encourage you to eat balanced meals instead of grazing on whatever you have in the cupboards.
What do I mean by balanced meals?
Creating a Balanced Meal
½ of your plate should be full of fruit and vegetables.
Palm size of protein – high protein foods e.g. meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, pulses or tofu.
Fist full of starchy carbohydrates e.g. potato, cereals, grains or bread (ideally wholegrain versions).
Healthy fats – ideally unsaturated options such as: nuts, seeds, avocado or plant-based oils
Get out for fresh air daily
I absolutely swear by getting out for fresh air each day. It’s not only good for our physical health but for our mental health too. So many people are working from home and there might be days you don’t get outta the house.
Get out for a walk even for 20 minutes
Listen to a podcast
Buy an audiobook – I would highly recommend atomic habits
Ring a friend or family member
Eat the rainbow
I know you have heard this a million times right? But can you honestly say you reach the 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. If not that’s okay there is always room for improvement. Set yourself small realistic goals each week e.g. try a new fruit and vegetable each week.
This is something a lot of people struggle with during lockdown. It’s hard being at home the whole time so don’t be too tough on yourself. What I would say is go back and read tip 4 again. Eating three balanced meals a day plus eating regularly you are less likely to snack throughout the day. As you are eating enough to keep you satiated ( feeling of fullness).
Having a source of protein with your snack can help you feel fuller for longer e.g. greek yoghurt with berries, peanut butter and some chocolate of course.
Skipping meals can also leave you feeling super-hangry later in the day and you could suddenly yourself eating way more at your next meal than you’d intended to
Water is so important for a multitude of reasons . I understand this year is hard to keep your hydration levels up.
Tips to increase your water intake
Keep water bottle by your desk – room temperature cold water is harder to drink in the winter months
Herbal teas – so many different flavours to choose from
Boiled water – with lemon, ginger, honey
FYI water and lemon does not help with weight loss it is a myth. Sorry to disappoint.
Sleep is crucial when it comes to nutrition. After a bad night’s sleep you wake up and the first thing you want is something quick and easy to “fill the gap”. Am I right? This is totally understandable. This is why it’s so important to plan ahead. If you have a busy schedule or are struggling to get a good night’s sleep then get organized. Before you go to bed give yourself 5 minutes to make some overnight oats. Or get your utensils ready the night before if you’re going to make an omelette for example. By being that little bit more organised it’s less stressful and hard work in the morning and in doing this you’re having a well balanced meal that will keep you going until lunch time.
Be kind to yourself
People have put themselves under so much pressure with regards to healthy food habits during lockdown. Before you say something negative about yourself or your food habits THINK. Would I say that to my best friend? Our inner dialogue is important when it comes to our nutrition, there is no such as a ‘perfect diet’. Not one food group is going to help you lose weight like one food group isn’t the cause of weight gain. There are no specific foods that are simply ‘good or bad’.
So buying a bar of chocolate in moderation is not going to classify you as unhealthy or a bad food choice. A healthy mindset is not demonising foods but having a more realistic way of eating “everything in moderation”. Eat for your health and because looking after your body from the inside makes you feel good.
Focusing on how we eat can be another helpful approach. This can involve trying to eat more slowly and mindfully in order to really appreciate our food. Mindful eating is something I swear by. When you’re eating your meals refrain from watching tv or scrolling on your phone. You’re then inclined to mindlessly eat and tend to not chew your food properly. You might laugh but try to eat bite size pieces of food about the size of a 50 cent coin. Chew your food for at least 20 times (I know) but try it out and see if it helps you slow down when eating your meals. This won’t only help you feel fuller for longer by chewing your food properly it also helps your body digest your food better.