The pandemic coronavirus has perturbed numerous families around the world. The things have gone harder due to panic buying of food and disruptions in the system of food supply. Also, it has become a financial challenge for people who are now unemployed and are not having any income source, to do food shopping.
Good nutrition is very important for health especially amidst the times when immune system needs to respond back to the diseases. However, many parents are looking for food options like processed food as an instant and low-cost manner to feed their families. There are other affordable and healthy alternatives available in the market. There are many ways to feed your family with nutritious diet that will support their development and growth. WHO has developed certain guidelines for the period of quarantine including certain tips to keep you and your family healthy.
Food safety tips to be followed
The food safety is a requirement for a healthy diet and food security. Do not forget that only the safe food is the healthy one. To avoid the food contamination and food borne diseases, prepare food for yourself and your dear ones with food hygiene practices.
Easy food hygiene safety tips at home
- Wash your hands properly for minimum of 20 seconds before you prepare any food.
- Make use of separate chopping boards for fish and uncooked meat.
- Preserve the perishable items in the frozen part of refrigerator, look for the date of expiry of every product.
- Dispose the food waste and packets in a hygienic manner.
- Keep your utensils, kitchen and hands cleaner.
- Keep the raw and the cooked food separate, mainly fresh produce and raw meat.
- Cook the food properly at home.
- Eat the foods rich in probiotic like pickles, kefir etc.
- Add anti-oxidants in your diet that strengthens your immune system.
- Use sterilized water and safe raw material.
- Preserve your food at the safer temperatures, below 5°C or above 60°
Mindfully make good food choices
Make a daily meal plan
A schedule is more predictable for you and for everyone in your household. You must include herbs and spices in your daily meals because these are enriched in anti-microbial properties like ginger, garlic etc. Moreover, herbal teas are boosters for immunity. Consuming herbal tea once a day is enough.
Look for the apps to stay connected
You should consider the apps to connect to your friends and family during lockdown like on Zoom, FaceTime, Skype. You can share some nutritional recipes with them or can even cook virtually together.
Plan the groceries
Having the planned groceries can make your grocery shopping less stressful. Many people filter every day through busy grocery stores and supermarkets. Sanitize your hands before and after reaching the grocery store. Follow tips to stay safe while grocery shopping. Also, you must pay attention on buying less processed, high salt and sugar snacks.
Avoid eating out
To reduce the rate of contact with others during this pandemic, you must maintain distance from people. You must not visit the public places like restaurants and hotels etc. By not eating out will act as a double edged sword for you. You will maintain social distancing as well as not consume outside eatables which are not healthy as well.
Eating tips to stay healthy during COVID-19
• Keep up with intake of vegetables and fruits
During the lockdown, it could be the challenging task to purchase, store and cook fresh vegetables. However, it is crucial to ensure that children are getting required vegetables and foods in their daily diet.
Hold the fresh produce whenever it is possible. Meanwhile being eaten fresh, you can also freeze the fruits and vegetables as these will retain most of the flavor and nutrients.
• Swap canned alternatives during unavailability of fresh produce
Obviously, no alternative can serve to be the best as the fresh fruits or vegetables. There are also number of healthy alternatives which are easy to prepare and store. Canned chickpeas and beans provide nutrients that can be stored for months or years. Canned fishes like mackerel, sardines and salmon are enriched in omega 3 fatty acids, protein, minerals and vitamins. You can use these while preparing sandwiches, pastas or salads. The long-lasting options like rice, lentils, dried beans, pulses or quinoa are also tasty and affordable.
• Stock healthy snacks
To keep going, children need to consume snacks once or twice a day. In spite of giving them salty and sweet snacks, try to provide them healthier snacks like cheese, yogurt, nuts, dried fruits, boiled eggs or other available healthy options. These foods contain essential nutrients and builds healthy eating habits.
• Set limitations for processed foods
It is always not possible to get fresh produce, set the limitations on the intake of highly processed foods. Packaged snacks, desserts, and ready-to-eat meals are much higher in saturated fat, salt and sugar. If you have to get the processed foods, just look at the label on it to choose the healthier options that contains these substances in less quantity. Instead of consuming sugary drinks, drink lots of water.
Limit the salt intake
As the availability of fresh foods can decrease. It will be essential to rely on frozen or processed foods. However, many of these foods high levels of salt. According to the recommendations of WHO, the salt intake of per person must be less than 5 g per day. By rinsing the canned foods like vegetables, you cabn remove some of the excess sodium from them. Avoid to add extra salt to your meals at the time of table. Try to substitute the salt with herbs or spices instead.
Consume sufficient fiber
Fiber prolongs the feeling of fullness that prevents from overeating and ultimately leads to healthy digestive system. You must target to consume fibre, vegetables, pulses, fruits and wholegrain foods in your meals. The wholegrain foods contain brown pasta, rice and white bread etc.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption
The consumption of alcohol the ability of the body to cope with the infectious diseases like coronavirus, as it weakens the immunity system. According to the recommendation by WHO, alcohol must be avoided in self-quarantine. It contains psychoactive substance that affects decision-making and mental state that leads to vulnerability towards risks like injuries or violence while quarantined with someone. Also, alcohol makes some medications less effective. It is not a mandatory part of your diet and also not the healthier too. Therefore, it must be eliminated from your shopping list.
Points to Remember:
• Consume small but frequent meals that will assures that your metabolism and blood glucose stays in stability and provide enough energy to your body to boost your immunity.
• Assure that you stay active and do the indoor workouts for a minimum of 40 minutes up to an hour every day. Hydration is also very crucial.
• Stick to one time-table. This will ensure that the biological clock of your body is maintained.