In this short article, our in-house dietitian shares her expertise on how to keep eating well during these challenging times.
We all know that a balanced diet is good for our health – but can eating well help us stay well during the pandemic?
At Pelican, we believe well-being matters, and are committed to supporting our colleagues and clients make healthier food choices.
To help you, we asked our in-house dietitian Anna-Maria Holt to share five top tips to stay well:
1. No magic bullet
Firstly, be aware that there are no magic bullets. Supplements, herbal extracts, special diets, nutrients or superfoods are not going to boost your immune system or protect you from getting Covid-19.
The best thing you can do is to eat a varied diet over time. This will look different for everyone as it depends on food likes, budgets, religious and cultural needs. The Eatwell Guide remains the recommended balance of food groups to eat over a period of weeks and months.
2. Eat a rainbow
We all know eating 5 fruit and vegetables is good for us, right? But do you know that it’s getting the variety that is important. Ordinary fruit and veg like apples, bananas, broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes are as good as any other new imported varieties.
Go for fresh and seasonal, if you can get it. But don’t forget that frozen, dried, and tinned ALL count and are good for you. Include a variety of other plant foods too such as beans, lentils and other pulses e.g. chickpeas, peas, black beans etc.
Follow that rainbow!
3. Feed your gut bacteria
We don’t yet know how gut health affects how people experience and recover from Covid-19, but the science is beginning to tell us that our gut bacteria may play a role in immunity.
Increasing the amount and variety of plant foods across the week to about 30 different types can help with feeding your gut bacteria and increasing the diversity of these gut residents. Eating fermented foods (e.g. kefir and sauerkraut), adopting relaxation techniques, and exercise can also help your gut stay healthy.
4. Take your Vitamin D
We have all been told that it is a good idea to take vitamin D supplements during lock down. This is because many of us will be spending less time outdoors and may not be getting enough sunlight on our skin to produce the right amounts of this vitamin in our body.
Vitamin D is needed for bone health and it could help our mental health too. We can take Vitamin D in tablet form or as a spray and we can buy from health shops, supermarkets, pharmacies and online. Look for 10 micrograms (μg) doses and take this daily.
5. Be kind to yourself
During these challenging times, it is important to be kind to yourself and not to feel guilty about what you eat or don’t eat. Try to avoid unnecessary restrictions such as “crash diets” or limited meal plans. Instead focus on practising mindful eating.
When eating a snack or meal, give that your full attention and take your time. Allow yourself treats and savour the taste and eating experience. If you can portion out what you are going to eat beforehand, that can help avoid overeating. Stay active and draw up a list of things to do that you enjoy that can replace boredom eating.
Staying hydrated, exercising and staying connected are just as important as what you are eating during this time.
If you would like to learn more on the subject of eating well, here are some useful links:
- Jack Munroe Recipes
- Let’s Get Cooking
- Love Food, Hate Waste
- BDA Covid-19 Advice for the general public
Talk to Anna
For further advice or help with regards to nutrition, diet or well-being – please contact Anna-Maria Holt RD at firstname.lastname@example.org.