STAYING HEALTHY AT HOME

We’re all looking forward to lockdown easing, but the likelihood is, working from home in some form will be here for a while and it can have a detrimental impact on our physical and mental wellbeing. Here are 10 top tips on how to boost your nutrition this lockdown from registered dietitian Sasha Watkins, co-founder of Field Doctor.

Eat better to feel better

A Mediterranean-style diet high in whole grains, vegetables, fruit, pulses, ‘good’ unsaturated fats (olive oil, seeds & nuts), seafood, some dairy and low in fatty/processed meat, refined grains, sugar-sweetened foods, beverages and saturated fat may protect against heart disease but may also help prevent depression.

Strive for diversity

It is easy to cook the same meals over and over again but variety is key to healthy diet (and a healthy gut). Try to eat a range of foods from the main food groups (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, good fats, low fat dairy) every day to get a wide range of nutrients.

Use shortcuts to make life easier

It’s okay to not always cook from scratch and there are some ready-made healthy foods that you can use to create quick meals. Make a salad made with tinned salmon, rich in omega 3s, or have some baked beans on wholegrain toast.

Frozen is just as good as fresh

Frozen vegetables like peas, sweetcorn or spinach make a great side for a meal and are still packed with lots of good nutrition.

Boost your vitamin D

Vitamin D is mainly made in our skin from sun exposure. It’s hard to get enough vitamin D during winter due to the latitude of the UK, made worse if you are spending lots of time indoors. Consider taking a daily supplement of vitamin D (10 micrograms), especially during the winter.

Plan meals in advance

Plan out a few meals in advance to keep on track with your health goals. Cooking some healthy meals in bulk at the weekend and freezing them is great as back up meals for those nights when you can’t face cooking or don’t have time.

Keep hydrated

It’s easy to forget to drink at home so aim to drink 6-8 glasses of fluid a day. Water is the best choice but tea and coffee can also help keep you hydrated and steer clear of sugary drinks.

Follow a routine

Daily structure and light are important for our cicadian rhythm. Schedule mealtimes at regular times, wake up and go to bed at the same time, do some daily exercise outdoors and try to get out in the middle of the day for some exposure to daylight.

Keep an eye on snacking

It’s easy to give in to grazing all day or ‘browse’ the fridge when you are at home for the full day. Try stick to regular meals and keep an eye on snacking. Avoid snacks high in sugar and salt and stock up on a few quick, healthy snack options such as a piece of fruit and a handful of unsalted nuts or some carrot sticks to dip in hummus.

Use food to connect

Food is more than just nutrition, it plays a key role in our lives to come together and talk about our day and share how we feel. Enjoy mealtimes with your family or have a ‘virtual’ dinner with a friend and a catch up.

Most importantly, be kind to yourself. Many of us are juggling home-schooling, jobs, chores and worries and it is okay to not get every meal perfect. Focus on getting the basics right and remember to make time for some self-care and to switch off.

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