Given the circumstances of lockdown, I’ve found myself gravitating toward comfort foods. The next thing you know and *boom* an entire bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos (the family size) is gone in one Netflix binge. Soon after, I completely abandoned my beloved go-to healthy meals of vegetable medleys and salads because I was looking for ways to cope with the pandemic and the “new normal” of being home. The uncertainty has taken its toll and I’ve put healthy eating on the backburner. Homegirl needed a reality check and the one thing that did it for me…putting on jeans for the first time in a month! Of course, changing my eating habits didn’t happen overnight, but slowly I started incorporating more of my pre-quarantine foods back into my diet and I started to feel more like myself again. I know it’s hard to cope with being quarantined and not reach for foods and quick-fix snacks out of boredom or feeling on edge about the unknown. Have no fear, below is a list of mindful tips that will help you during this quarantine:
Meal prep or a daily meal plan
For me, meal prepping and scheduling meals helps takeaway the urge to order takeout and making unhealthy choices. I just grab my meal from the fridge and it’s ready within minutes. But, it’s okay not to have a schedule, and if that is the case, look for healthy food options from the grocery store so you’re able to whip up a healthy meal with ease so you limit overeating processed foods.
Add more veggies and fruit to your diet
I love eating veggies and fruit as it helps with boosting my mood and they’re vitamin-rich. Plus, antioxidants are your friends! Produce with dark or bright colors are stables for me due to all the benefits I receive from them like boosting my immune system. If you normally don’t eat them, slowly add it to your meals or snacks. After trial and error, you’re bound to find something that works for you. Adding condiments like salad dressing, nut butter, dark chocolate, and hummus can help spice up your life.
Manage your environment
Currently, when I go grocery shopping, I know myself and I know what items will not stand a chance in my cupboards (yes, Hot Cheetos are number on my list) and I won’t buy it. If I don’t have those types of food around, then I can’t eat them. My self-control isn’t the strongest for obvious reasons and this is the easiest way to stick to my routine.
Try new recipes and alternatives
Right now is the best time to try new recipes and items. As a family, you can try recreating your favorite restaurant recipes and add your own healthy twist to them. There are so many recipes online and YouTube tutorials walking you step-by-step through recipes. Also, you could make and freeze food to have at a later time.
One of my favorite parts about eating healthy is the anticipation of eating a cheat meal. Let’s face it, a restrictive diet isn’t going to last, and could become unrealistic for you. Cheat meals for me is an incentive to stick to my healthy routine because I know a cheat meal is waiting for me that week.
Don’t overthink it
I will admit, changing up my diet during quarantine was easier said than done. Some days, I was just overeating and unmotivated to stick with it. But, I took it day by day and decided I could either dwell on it or move past it. The bottom line, staying home during the pandemic is challenging for everyone, but with a little effort and planning, you can make healthy food choices and maybe find new ways to cope with this new normal.