Making Nutrition a Priority during a Pandemic
COVID-19 has changed our lives drastically. This can lead to feelings of strong emotions like anxiety, isolation, and depression. These emotions can trigger poor eating habits and food choices. Keep in mind that adequate nutrition may include two sources of foods, primary and secondary foods. Primary foods might include our relationships, physical activity, career, creativity, and others. Secondary foods are the foods we choose to eat. Due to the pandemic, we are spending more time at home. This may help some get in touch with many important aspects of nutrition including food choices, how certain foods affect our body, and how much food we are consuming.
Below are some tips to stay healthy and strong during this time:
Create a grocery list
Include essential items such as: Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and condiments and spices
Some healthy snacks: apples, veggies with hummus, popcorn, yogurt with fruit, dried fruit, smoothies, avocados, rice or chia seed pudding, pureed soups, olives, pickles, kale or seaweed chips
Make an effort to have breakfast
Spending time at home makes an opportunity to have the most important meal of the day, breakfast. What breakfast makes us feel best? What should I have? Try a different breakfast each day for a week. Record what you eat and how you feel by noting energy, mood, and physical symptoms. Here are some examples of breakfast ideas: eggs, scrambled tofu, oatmeal, boxed breakfast cereal, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, muffin and coffee.
Factors related to food cravings
Pay attention to your current mood state and emotions. Are you feeling stressed? Try a soothing activity first instead of eating, like listening to music to calm yourself in the moment.
Lack of water can send a similar signal that you are hungry. It is important to drink a sufficient amount of water.
Are you eating certain “types” of food more often than others? Eating a diet too rich in sugar might cause a craving for meat or eating too many ray foods might cause craving for extremely cooked foods or vice versa.
We crave foods from our childhood because they provide comfort. For example if you crave boxed mac n cheese you might consider a healthier version by making a homemade recipe and adding vegetables to the dish.
The body can sometimes crave foods that balance the elements of the season. For example, during the winter, many crave hot foods like meal, oil, or fat. In the summer, we may crave fruit. Explore what foods you like best.
If the body is lacking nutrients, it can have odd cravings. For example, salt cravings might reflect a mineral level deficit in the body. Listen to your body it might be telling you something.
Women are especially vulnerable to cravings during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause when fluctuating testosterone and estrogen might cause a craving.
Make sure to eat enough. Low blood sugar might result in mood swings and this can perpetuate less than optimal food choices.