As we continue to adjust to our ‘new normal’ as the COVID-19 restrictions are gradually lifted, for those of us who choose to continue self-isolating or want to avoid crowds at the local supermarket, staying healthy at home can be a challenge.
Boredom, loneliness and anxiety can become our biggest enemies, particularly if we turn to snacking on packaged junk food to pass the time as opposed to eating healthy, balanced meals. Here are some ways you can keep your health on track during the ongoing pandemic.
PLAN YOUR MEALS
Planning your meals for the week is the best way to ensure you’re filling up on the good stuff – and the beauty of winter is that you can enjoy the warmth of hot soups, hearty casseroles, and saucy pasta dishes.
And another bonus is that many of these winter warmers can be whipped up using pantry staples, with some fresh (or frozen) veggies and protein of choice thrown in for good measure.
WRITE A SHOPPING LIST – AND STICK TO IT
By now, most of us are limiting our trips to the local supermarket in a bid to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus. By making sure that each grocery trip is carefully planned to ensure we stock up on wholesome food and healthier pantry staples, we are better positioned to keep our health on track during periods of isolation.
Writing a shopping list of what you need – rather than want – is a good habit to get into if you want to steer clear of packaged junk foods or unhealthy baked goods.
The best place to start is to look at your pantry shelves and make sure you have the basics – think high-fibre, low GI pasta, wholemeal plain and/or self-raising flour, low-sodium vegetable stock, tinned foods such as mixed vegetables, legumes and lentils, low-fat long-life milk, packets of unsalted nuts (perfect for snacking) and healthy spreads such as peanut or almond butter (opt for the natural, no added salt kind).
Once you’ve worked out what pantry staples you need, you can then move onto your fridge and freezer and work out what fruit and vegetables (either the fresh or frozen kind) you will need to get you through the week.
AVOID PACKAGED FOODS AND IMPULSE PURCHASES
If you’re prone to reaching for the biscuits or chips during times of stress – which most of us fall victim to – try to avoid heading down the junk food aisles during your weekly grocery shop.
Another way to avoid filling up your trolley with unnecessary items is steering clear of impulse buys, particularly when it comes to ‘specials’. While it may be appealing
to buy food on a ‘two-for-one’ or ‘half-price’ special, unless it’s on your list, stick to what you need.
Another tip is to avoid grocery shopping while hungry as this tends to increase the amount of unnecessary and unhealthy foods you buy.
STOCK UP ON HEALTHY FROZEN MEALS
There will be times where we simply don’t feel like cooking – and that’s OK.
In the event of a no-cook night, it’s a good idea to have some healthy frozen meals on hand as a good alternative to takeaway food which is typically high in fat, salt and sugar.
Checking the nutrition label and sticking to foods high in fibre, low in saturated fat and with less than 400mg of sodium per 100g serve is a good way to ensure your meals are healthy.
Check out Diabetes WA’s Super Card (available here) for more information on how to read food labels.
CONSIDER MEAL DELIVERY
Not a keen cook? Why not consider having your meals delivered?
There are a variety of options when it comes to home delivered meals, whether you prefer to have ingredients and recipes for the week supplied or ready-made meals that you can pop in the microwave.
Research your options and remember to stick to the nutritional guidelines suitable for your diabetes, keeping in mind the fat, carbohydrate, sodium and fibre content of each meal.