Our resident nutritionist Alex Dobbs shares her advice on how to stay motivated to eat well throughout lockdown.
This column was written after the latest government advice to close all gyms and pools for 6 weeks came into effect. While this may seem like a knockback for many of us (for myself I was not happy to hear of this decision), I also think this is a time of great opportunity. You have 6 weeks to make time for yourself and to establish new healthy eating routines. So let’s get started …
The basis for a healthy diet are 3 good meals per day and 2 snacks in between (if needed). You should base your diet on whole foods, fresh vegetables, healthy proteins and carbohydrates. Throw into this mix a bit of daily stretching and a good walk or run, and you are doing very well.
Take time to prepare and eat your meals. As much as you can, avoid allowing work to get in the way of your nourishment. Be prepared: always keep fresh fruit and vegetables in the fridge. Enjoy preparing meals: chose easy recipes. If in doubt, add loads of vegetables. Balance your meals with protein and carbohydrates.
Healthy Eating Plan
Breakfast: start with a glass of water, combine some protein with carbohydrate and throw in some fruit if you can. 2 options:
- 2 scrambled eggs with a dash of milk, a slice of wholewheat bread, and half an apple sliced up.
- A bowl of overnight oats made with water, topped with natural yoghurt, nuts and seeds, fresh berries, a teaspoon of honey and cinnamon.
Lunch: combine lean protein and fresh vegetables with a complex carbohydrate, water. 2 options:
- Chicken breast fried and sliced, served on a salad of quinoa, beetroot, cucumber and spring onions.
- A wrap with lettuce, ham, grated cheese, sliced cucumber, and wholegrain mustard, served with fresh vegetable sticks.
Dinner: combine protein with fresh vegetables, carbohydrate is optional at this time. 2 options:
- Quick vegetable curry of mangetout, green beans, carrot, onion and a handful of spinach, add tofu/prawns/chicken/pork to taste, optional: serve with rice/quiona/add potatoes.
- Quick oven meal: roughly chopped carrot, courgette, potato and beetroot and chicken breast or frozen fish drizzled with olive oil and roasted in the oven.
Use snacks as an opportunity to nourish your body and soul. Ideas for your morning snack:
- Fresh blueberries and pineapple, a cupped handful of almonds and walnuts.
- Banana and a small pot of natural yoghurt.
Ideas for your mid-afternoon snack:
- Vegetable sticks of carrots, cucumber, peppers, celery and hummus or guacamole.
- A couple of Energy balls and an apple.
- A few slices of melon.
Try to make a weekly meal plan and stick to it. Be prepared and buy ahead.
Don’t buy too many sweets and sugary foods. Many “healthy” alternatives still contain large amounts of sugar. Avoid the sugar-laden isles in the supermarket.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes 3 weeks to form new habits. We don’t fail, we learn. Every day is a new start. Every little change towards a Healthier You will make a big difference now in the long term. You are worth it, and you can do it.