As COVID-19 shows no sign of slowing down, countries are being forced to take stricter measures to ensure that they contain the spread of the disease. The self-quarantine coupled with the closing of a large number of businesses has severely affected our general food-related habits. There are certain places where takeaway offers are available but in a limited capacity. In other places, fresh items are getting hard to come by.
Good nutrition is just one aspect of great health. Especially right now, when your immune system needs to fight back. The limited resources all around are creating big issues toward the path to maintaining a healthy and varied diet. But we don’t have to fret. Even in the midst of the pandemic, there are ways you can maintain optimal health.
For starters try and remain physically active. A healthy mind resides inside a healthy body and it is important for one to find a balance to remain healthy during this pandemic.
Follow Safe Food Handling Practices
Food safety is essential for maintaining yourself during the pandemic. When you are preparing food yourself or others ensure you follow the rules of good hygiene practices and avoid contamination and any other foodborne diseases. Some things to be careful about are;
- Ensure that your hands, utensils, and kitchen are clean at all times.
- Keep the raw and cooked food separately, especially all raw produce like fish and meat.
- Take care that your food is cooked all the way through.
- Keep the food at safe temperatures, ie. either above 60°c or below 5°c, you are doing this to avoid breeding of any harmful bacteria in the food.
Lower Your Salt Intake
As fresh foods become increasingly unavailable in the vicinity, it is natural that you will move towards canned, processed, or frozen foods. The problem with these foods is the amount of salt that is added to increase their shelf life. To avoid consuming too much salt, first, prioritize foods with reduced or no visible added salt. Rinse canned foods before you consume them to remove the excess sodium.
In most countries, it is the added salt that is too much but rather the already existing salt that is too much. This is why you are better off using fresh and dried herbs and spices for added flavor instead of salt.
Limit The Sugar Intake
Your total energy intake for the day should be less than 5% from sugar. Prioritize fruits above all else when you want to eat something sweet. If fresh fruits are not available then you should buy canned fruits in juice rather than syrup. Even frozen fruits are a better option than canned fruits. When you are picking out desserts ensure that they are low in sugar and you consume small portions. Don’t fall for the low-fat options as they have added sugars to get the same taste. Severely limit the amount of added sugar or syrups in your drinks.
Saturated fats have always been a nuisance to the people who want to remain healthy. To avoid adding too much fat in your food, opt for the cooking methods that do not require fat. This includes steaming, sauteing, and grilling instead of frying. If you need to use fats, then use small amounts of oils like rapeseed, sunflower or olive oil, these are unsaturated oils and thus comparatively healthy.
Other things you can do to limit saturated fats include trimming the excess fat from meat and other poultry. Pick up the skinless variety wherever you can. Cut back on foods like red and fatty meats, palm oil, lard, and full-fat dairy products.
Also, stay away from trans fats. This is the apt time to read nutrition packets before you buy products. That does not mean you cannot snack. You can still do that. Just be careful it does not have hydrogenated fat.
Keep Yourself Occupied
This is non-food based advice, but it is just as important. It is important that you keep yourself occupied when it comes to the quarantine period. Even if you are spending time in front of the screen, it is better than sitting ideally. Play a video game. If you run into too much trouble check out valorant boosting. Anything to be occupied. If you remain ideal, chances are you will just get anxious and that will be bad for both your physical as well as mental health.
Avoid over-purchasing anything at the market as you may end up putting the vulnerable demographic at a disadvantage like the elderly. The biggest problem here becomes that they cannot venture too far from home for resources. Take a look at what you already have and accordingly stock food in your house. Avoid food waste for you as well as other people’s betterment.