By Jodie Woodward a current Health and Social Care student
Tips for Healthy Living and Nutrition during the Coronavirus Pandemic
There is without a doubt that the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is causing un-certainty and affecting many people’s lives from working from home, students being forced to finish school ahead of time, it’s a strange time for us all. It is crucial that we all take care of ourselves both mentally and physically whilst following the guidelines that the government has put in place. If we can do our bit we will be back to normal soon and hopefully put all this behind us. Here are some of my tips for healthy living and nutrition during this time:
Stock up on nutritiously dense foods such as:
- Breads—Wholemeal bagels, breads, tortilla wraps. (Studies show that wholemeal bread is a better source of minerals such as magnesium, potassium and zinc so it’s better for your body!)
- Grains—instant oatmeal, pasta, brown rice, couscous.
- Fruits—fruits that are fresh, dried, plain, frozen or canned in juice or water.
- Vegetables – fresh vegetables (such as celery, broccoli, onions, potatoes) plain frozen, low sodium canned, sun-dried
- Sauces—tomato pasta sauce, salsa
- Soups & Broths—canned and shelf-stable cartons
- 100% Juice—refrigerated, fresh, canned and boxed juices such as orange juice that is high in Vitamin C. Studies show that Vitamin C effectively boosts the body’s immune system
- Milk—fresh, canned, shelf-stable packages. Milk is a good source of calcium and protein that contributes to the strengthening of the bones and teeth.
- Eggs—fresh eggs, egg whites in cartons. Eggs are a good source of protein for muscle growth.
- Cheese—sliced, cubed, shredded, crumbled, grated hard cheese
- Beans/Legumes—canned beans, black beans and chickpeas. Chickpeas are a good source of plant protein for those that are vegetarian or vegan.
- Nuts and seeds—bagged, canned, nut butters. Nuts are a good source of healthy fats.
- Chicken—frozen or canned. Chicken is a good source of protein for muscle growth.
- Seafood—frozen ready-to-cook fish fillets, frozen shrimp, canned tuna, salmon, and sardines
- Beef—pre-made frozen lean ground patties or meatballs.
- Vegetarian meat alternatives – Soya, meat free mince, etc.
- Flavourings—dried herbs & spices, vinegars, mustard, lemon/lime juice, light dressings, honey, Greek yogurt. This will add a little something to your dish, get creative!
Check out the NHS Eatwell Guide
Limit Frozen and Fast foods
Frozen and fast foods are often higher in sodium, fat and calories. Following on from this, foods such as these can often leave you fuller for a shorter period of time which can lead to unnecessary snacking due to empty calories. Examples of these foods consist of chips, fizzy drinks, cookies and ice-cream. However, these foods can be enjoyed as a treat but not as a staple in your diet. Everything in moderation!
Frozen vegetables and fruit adds to your five a day.
Consider healthier and lower cost alternatives of your favourite foods. Instead of buying a ready- made pasta meal that may be filled with un-necessary additives and costly on your bank account, make your own using fresh ingredients. If fresh ingredients are too costly or not available remember that canned and frozen vegetables will provide the same nutrients as their fresh counterparts. There is lots of healthy and easy recipes using minimum ingredients check out BBC Good Food, Jamie Oliver and Chelsea Amer Nutrition.
Make eating together a positive experience:
Make mealtimes a family affair:
For many families, eating together is a relatively new concept or completely foreign concept due to work schedules or students being at school or university. However, since the government has announced that people need to work from home when possible and students not being at school/university, many families are seeing more of each-other. Take this opportunity as a positive one to bond with members of your family that you may not see as frequently.
Try some new recipes or a new diet
You’ve always wanted to try a new recipe but never had the time? Now is the perfect opportunity. There are so many different recipes on the internet and many are quick and easy with only a few ingredients and tools needed. Remember variety is the spice of life. Aim to have different colours on your plate.
Thinking positive is crucial during this difficult time. Having a good mindset can positively impact self-concept both mentally and physically. There are many different ways to stay positive such as sticking with your normal routine as much as possible. This may be a struggle at first (I know I’ve been struggling!) in particular for those that value consistency. Here are some of my tips to keeping a routine:
- Go to bed and get up in the morning at sensible times. Try to avoid staying up past 12 watching Netflix in bed. Sleep is crucial for body and mind restoration.
- Eat meals at regular times: This reduces the urge for snacking out of boredom.
- Exercise away from the gym: It’s a great way to keep you motivated. Find something that you enjoy doing. Plan to do something every day eve if it’s just a short walk. NTU Sport are running lots of classes via zoom. Check the sessions out on Instagram via: @ntufitness also check out Couch to 5K and Joe Wicks. Have a search for yourself there is lots online.
- If you do have to go out: wash your hands before you leave home and as soon as you get back.
Stay safe everybody!
For help and advice whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.
Support from NTU
Silvercloud: SilverCloud is our online system designed to help with a range of mental health issues.
Wellness in Mind: Advice and support for anyone in Nottingham experiencing issues with their mental wellbeing
Struggling at Uni? Go to Student Minds
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