At a time when we are spending more time at home, shopping for food less frequently and no longer eating out, our usual eating habits may be disrupted. Good nutrition is essential for good health and it is important that we do not develop less healthy eating habits during this time. Heart Research UK have some tips to help you eat more healthily at home.
Establish a routine and plan your meals
Try to establish a normal routine by sticking to set meal times. This can help you to manage hunger and prevent snacking on less healthy foods. Plan healthy meals for the week in advance and make a shopping list. Planning your meals should help you to eat more healthily as well as reducing food waste. You may find it useful to use the Eatwell Guide when planning healthy meals: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/528193/Eatwell_guide_colour.pdf
Avoid snacking on less healthy food
If you are making regular trips to the kitchen and snacking on less healthy food because you are bored, try stocking up on healthy snacks, such as fruit & veg, nuts, seeds, rice cakes, yoghurt). When we see junk food, such as chocolate, biscuits or crisps, it can be tempting to eat it, so you could try hiding the junk food away and making healthier snacks more visible. You can also try waiting until you are hungry before visiting the kitchen.
Are you eating enough?
At-risk groups who have been advised to stay at home are likely to have a greater risk of malnutrition. Malnutrition is a serious condition where people do not get enough nutrients from their diet. This is more common in older people and it can increase the risk of infection as well as delaying recovery. Some tips for avoiding malnutrition include:
Eat a good source of protein every day (e.g. fish, meat, eggs, nuts, beans, tofu)
Consume 2 or 3 portions of dairy every day (e.g. milk, cheese, yoghurt or dairy alternatives such as soya milk)
Include starchy foods at every meal (e.g. bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, cereals)
Eat a minimum of five portions of fruit and veg every day
If you eat fish, aim for two portions a week and try to include oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines or herring
Drink 6 to 8 cups/glasses of fluid every day.
Healthy Heart Tips by Dr Helen Flaherty, Head of Health Promotion at Heart Research UK www.heartresearch.org.uk
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