Spring Clean Your Diet in the Covid-19 Era
Updated: Aug 20, 2021
2020 may well be the weirdest year many of us live through. Whereas in other years by mid April I’d be thinking about new fresh recipes to try with greater produce options and sunlight filled back porch dinners, this year feels more like survival mode.
So, with less to keep us busy, more cooking and dishes forced upon us, more time in the house to eat, and less available at the supermarket, how can we best navigate this time to allow ourselves to still eat nutritiously, achieve our health goals, and feel our best?
Whenever possible, eat fresh! Start with whole food ingredients you can make into a meal yourself vs. buying premade or frozen meals. These can have a lot of calories, fat, and sodium, for often less than satisfying portions. Go for fruits, veggies, and whole grains to make up the majority of your meals. Proteins such as beans, tofu, and seitan can help make meals more enticing.
Being open minded while at the store can open up a lot of possibilities. This could mean checking for frozen or canned versions of fruits or vegetables when fresh isn’t available. Get creative with what you can use in recipes in place of out of stock items.
Stock up on shelf stable items that can form the basis of a meal such as:
Cartons of vegetable broth (can be used for many soups with frozen veggies, beans, pastas, or tired produce)
Dried grains such as brown rice, quinoa, or couscous (or even flavored whole grain rice mixes for some variety. Note, these can be high in sodium)
Cans of beans, which can work as the basis for a chili, meat substitute, tacos, with rice (EASY), or added into a soup
Additional items to keep in mind include peanut butter (with powdered peanut butter an option for those who want to save on the calories & fat), rolled oats which can be used for sweet or savory oatmeal, tins of curry paste which can be used with tofu or veggies to make a flavorful curry, shelf stable non-dairy milks, and even whole grain breads that can be frozen and kept for a while.
Stay away from heavily processed snack foods. Many clients feel that keeping these snacks in the house makes them more likely to eat them. They can be a very concentrated source of calories and lead to easy weight gain especially if we’re more sedentary now. And, they’re expensive! If you enjoy snacks, try to stick with products with shorter ingredients lists with ingredients that you can pronounce. Dry whole grain cereals or oatmeal can also be satisfying snacks providing a good combination of protein and carbohydrate.
Let me know in the comments below what your favorite quarantine meal has been!