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The ultimate guide to healthy eating during the COVID-19 quarantine

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our routines and eating habits

The ultimate guide to healthy eating during the COVID-19 quarantine
A balanced diet is the key to a healthy life - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 21/08/2020 16:59 Paola Monterrubio Mexico City Actualizada 16:59

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Due to the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are spending most of our time at home. This has had significant effects on our routine and diet.

Whether it is out of boredom, stress, anxiety, or simply because we have a variety of foods at hand, our eating habits can be altered up to the point in which they become harmful for our health. Nevertheless, there are ways to control our diet and avoid excesses.

Follow these simple tips to improve your diet during the quarantine.

Make a shopping list
According to the medical center Cleveland Clinic, buying groceries without a set plan will get your shopping cart full of snacks to cope with COVID-19 stress. Hence, it is best to write at home a shopping list to follow once you are at the supermarket.

U.S. nutritionist Anna Kippen suggests limiting the number of pizzas or frozen foods you eat, as well as pasta and white-flour tortillas, white rice, juices, sodas, candies, and cakes.

On the other hand, the expert recommends buying beans, lentils, tuna, or canned salmon, frozen vegetables, brown rice, oat flour, unsalted nuts, bananas, apples, carrots, canned tomatoes, onions, garlic, and olive oil.

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Plan your meals
The European Food Information Council (EUFIC) explains that having a set scheduled for eating will help us control the feeling of hunger and anxiety.

Moreover, planning your meals per day or week will allow you to be more aware of each food’s nutritional supply. Take advantage of the time at home and prepare healthy recipes.

Measure your servings
In order to control your servings, the EUFIC recommends not to eat directly from the package. When you serve your meals in a dish, it is easier to see the amount of food you are eating. If you still have food on your dish after you feel full, it is best to keep it for later.

If you fancy a snack, choose healthy options such as popcorns or dried fruits, as suggested by Anna Kippen.

Avoid excess salt and sugar
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that frozen or canned foods contain high amounts of salt. The recommended consumption of this ingredient is of 5 grams per day, that is why it is important to choose low-salt products or without added salt.

If possible, wash canned foods to eliminate sodium excess and use other species or herbs to season your meals.

Regarding sugar, the WHO suggests eating fresh, frozen, or dried fruits without added sugar over any other option.

In the case of desserts, make sure they are low in sugar and eat small portions. Limit the amount of sugar and honey you add to your meals and beverages.

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Limit your fat intake
The WHO recommends choosing cooking methods that do not require fats, such as cooking with vapor, grilling, or sauté instead of frying. If it is necessary, use small amounts of non-saturated oils such as canola, olive, or sunflower. Eat foods rich in healthy fats such as fish or nuts.

In order to reduce your intake of saturated fats, reduce the portions of red meats, whole milk products, palm oil, butter, and lard. In the case of trans fats, avoid eating fried or processed foods like cookies, cakes, or margarine.

Eat fiber
The WHO asserts fiber improves digestive health and causes a feeling of prolonged satiety, so avoid eating too much. In order to have a diet rich in fiber include fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole-grain foods like oat and quinoa.

You can also substitute food made with grains and refined flours for alternatives like Brown rice or pasta whole-grain wheat bread.

Stay hydrated
The  EUFIC mentions that water is an essential element to stay healthy. We must drink natural wáter, however, the amount varies according to our age, sex, weight, height, physical activity, and even the weather conditions.

If you want to add a bit of flavor, add fresh or frozen fruit like red fruits, citric fruits, or cucumber. You can also add herbs like peppermint, lavender, or rosemary.

Choose this vital liquid instead of drinking coffee, strong tea, soft drinks, sodas with caffeine, or energy drinks.

Remember to follow the corresponding health measures every time you go grocery shopping and when preparing your meals. Wash and disinfect your products as well as your home’s surfaces in order to prevent any infections.

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