So we can all probably agree that our current situation is very strange, disrupting and potentially very overwhelming.
With so much going on in our own lives and globally, one thing we want to avoid is adding ‘food choice’ overwhelm to our already full plate of problems (pun intended!). We are all facing empty shelves, different home routines and obviously a degree of worry about maintaining our own and our families health. To help with this, Laura (Nutritional Therapist at Mind Nourishing) is here to give you some tips to help you remain healthy and happy over this period of social isolation/ distancing.
Tip 1: Stock up on a range of fresh, frozen and tinned fruit and vegetables
Yes it is so tempting to stockpile all things beige and comforting, but we also need to be making sure we have a variety of colour in our diets too. Colourful foods are packed full of ‘phytonutrients’ that are chemicals that protect the plant whilst it is growing. When eating them, we take these phytonutrients on board which can help us to boost our antioxidant activity and also our immune health.
Different coloured foods have different benefits which is why variety is key! With less fruit and vegetables options available this is a great opportunity to try out things that you’ve never tried before and even get your kids on board to help you eat the rainbow.
Tip 2: Have a plan
Do you ever go to the supermarket, buy lots of food then realise when you’re home that you don’t really have anything to make a meal?…Yes! I’ve definitely been there. This period of time however really isn’t a great time to be going back and forth to the shops. That’s why taking a few minutes to plan some meals and make a shopping list is hugely beneficial.
To help with inspiration, you could have a quick look through recipe books, go onto pinterest or even just ask the family to each decide on a meal that you are going to have for the following week (or so). This way you have a plan of action so you avoid decision making fatigue when you reach the shops.
Tip 3: Try and batch create meals if you can
However much you love cooking, there is something amazing about having a ready prepared nutritious meal waiting for you to heat up whenever you fancy it…this my friends, is the joy of batch cooking.
If possible, look to see whether you can take a little bit of time (maybe on a Sunday afternoon) to batch create some meals or sides to make meal times a little bit easier to handle.
Maybe try things like:
- Roasting a variety of vegetables with olive oil and garlic. These can then be used in meals like fajitas, with fish or even just mixed up with some stock to make a large soup to make up several lunches
- A good old fashioned bolognese or chilli which you can make plenty of and save in portions for a later date…Fingers crossed you managed to get some pasta!
- Boiling up a few eggs which you can grab for breakfast with toast, as a snack when you want a protein rich snack or even chopped up with some cress for your lunch time sarnie.
Tip 4: Try to keep to a routine
Whilst working from home it can be really tempting to maybe have a lie in, go to bed later than usual or maybe even not really set yourself a lunch break. Keeping a routine though is super important to make sure that you remain motivated and have enough energy to get through any obstacles that are thrown your way.
Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time as when business was ‘as usual’. You can then use the time freed up from not having to commute, to add some healthy habits into your routine. This could be things like starting a morning mindfulness practice, being more experimental with your breakfast options or even just going for a morning walk. The possibilities are endless!
Tip 5: Be mindful of your coffee breaks
Although taking regular breaks has been shown to support productivity, it can be tempting when working from home to have a constant flow of tea or coffee, especially with the kettle being so conveniently close! Overconsumption of caffeine however can often lead to feelings of anxiety and of course could impact your sleep, especially if you continue to drink them after midday.
To look after your mental wellbeing and your quality of sleep, try to limit your caffeine intake by switching some drinks to decaf, trying herbal teas or simply just filling up on good old water.
Sometimes making changes is really difficult, especially when you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
If you would like some ideas around what to cook whilst working at home or even to get some extra support to motivate to make healthy choices and settle into your new routine do get in touch for 1:1 nutrition and lifestyle support
Laura Bryan is a Nutritional Therapist (Msc, mBANT CNHC) from ‘Mind Nourishing’. She works with busy people on a 1:1 basis to help them make small changes to their meals and mindset to create large changes to their health and happiness.