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Eating well and staying healthy in isolation

14th May 2020

Many of us have found ourselves stuck at home over the last few weeks, and we may feel a bit like a couch potato. It’s important not to forget to take care of ourselves during these times – to get out and exercise (it is one of the few things we are allowed to do, after all) and to eat healthily.

Here are some tips from The Heart Foundation to help you eat well in isolation:

Prepare ahead, but don’t hoard

Stocking up on a few extra staples is sensible but there is no need to hoard as supermarkets will stay open during the COVID-19 lockdown. Plan your meals ahead and shop with a list to ensure you’re getting the right ingredients.

Fresh, canned or frozen – if it means more fruit and veg in your diet – go for it

Frozen veggies are a must – they minimise food waste and are just as healthy as fresh vegetables. Canned vegetables and beans are ok too – choose the low salt options. If going for canned fruit, get it in juice. Having long life fruit and vegetables on hand, means they can be added to any meal, without needing to do an extra shop for fresh produce.

Choose heart-healthy proteins over red meats

Heart-healthy proteins like fish are an excellent source of omega-3s which our bodies need but cannot produce. Go for fresh or canned salmon or tuna in spring water. Chicken, eggs and beans are also great. If choosing red meat, make sure the fat has been removed and limit to 1-3 meals a week (this will save you money too!).

Set routine mealtimes and cut the couch snacking

Now the couch and fridge are in easy reach, avoid snacking by establishing a mealtime routine to keep work and play separate. If you do snack, go for a handful of unsalted nuts, veggie sticks, a small plate of cut up fruit or a yoghurt. Avoid having unhealthy snacks in your pantry – if they’re not there, you can’t be tempted.

Brush up on your home cooking skills

Staying at home for long periods of time is the perfect opportunity to either learn to cook or brush up on your skills. If you need inspiration, try some heart healthy recipes here.

If you’re wondering what to do with all your canned beans or lentils, why not try this Kid-friendly lentil stew, Indian chicken and lentil tray bake or Spiced pumpkin and black bean patties.

Want more strategies to help you improve your diet?

The Dietitians at Macedon Ranges Health are still working and are available for appointments either in person or over the phone. Call 5428 0300 for an appointment. No referral necessary.

Further reading

If you’re interested in reading further, the following sources contain some useful healthy eating and well-being information:

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2020/03/25/food-safety-nutrition-and-wellness-during-covid-19/

https://www.fda.gov/food/food-safety-during-emergencies/shopping-food-during-covid-19-pandemic-information-consumers

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/prc/2020/03/27/covid-19-resources/

https://daa.asn.au/smart-eating-for-you/planning-your-pantry-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

By Susan Whitelock - MRH Dietitian