13 Tips to Responsible Eating If You are in Self-Isolation

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13 Tips to Responsible Eating If You are in Self-Isolation
During self-isolation, eating a healthy diet and maintaining a normal weight can be challenging for various reasons. Many people find their diet being changed because of having a different routine, feeling anxious or stressed, inadequate social contacts, inadequate access to various kinds of food, low mood, and even boredom.

Some people may eat less during self-isolation, while some may eat more. It’s easy to take up more comfort or convenience foods that may be less nutritious than your usual diet.

Even though there is no quick way to boost your immune system, maintaining a healthy diet is essential for your good health and for promoting good immune functioning. Today, we are here with some tips for responsible eating that will be helpful for you if you are in self-isolation. Let’s get started!

1. Stay Organized and Make a Plan

To make the most of your trip to the grocery store before self-isolating, it is essential to focus on healthy choices and make a plan in advance. Panic buying often leads to negative consequences like unequal distribution of goods, over-purchasing and overconsumption of food, etc.

Check what you have in stock already and make a list. You may feel the need to buy a large amount of food, but be sure to utilize what you already have in your pantry. Also, consider foods that have a shorter shelf life. This will help you to avoid excess buying, food waste, and keep your grocery visit short.

If you don’t want to create a list on your own, many meal planning apps will make a shopping list for you depending on your selected recipes. Your grocer can also suggest an app that allows you to create a shopping list and clip electronic coupons. And if you want to learn some healthy, delicious recipes, visit the website.

2. Be Strategic About Using the Ingredients

Prioritize using fresh ingredients and products that have a shorter shelf life. Products like fresh vegetables, fruits, and reduced-fat dairy items should be used before the non-perishables.

Canned vegetables or beans, tinned soup, UHT fruit juice, long-life milk, tinned fruit, tinned fish, quick-cook noodles and pasta, pasta sauce, etc can be used conveniently for a long duration of time and most of them have the same nutrient profile as the fresh items. Also, you can freeze any leftovers for another meal and avoid food wasting.

3. Try Homemade Meals

You may not have enough time to try homemade meals during your regular life. Spending more time at home now may be your opportunity to try those recipes you previously didn’t have time to try. Cooking your meal is also a healthy and budget-friendly option, and can be a good distraction when you are cooped up.

Therefore, take advantage of the free time you have and experiment with the ingredients. Also, you can consider preparing foods that you can eat later or freeze and reheat during the days you feel well, in case you do not feel good in a few days.

4. Consider the Food Delivery Services

Food delivery services are a great and convenient option if they are available in your area. Many places have advanced delivery services for groceries and ready-made meals, and many businesses have started to offer this service now.

Some delivery systems include contact-less services. No human interaction is needed in this service, thus supporting the self-isolation measures. You should take advantage of these options when you do not feel like preparing meals, especially from reliable businesses that follow strict food hygiene requirements.

5. Eat a Lot of Vegetables and Fruits

Vegetables and fruits are the main food items for supplying the fiber, minerals, and vitamins required by our body for normal immune function and good health.

Try to aim for at least five portions of vegetables and fruits every day. As different types and colors of vegetables and fruits supply different kinds of phytochemicals, minerals, and vitamins, ensure to include variety in your everyday meals. It is ideal to fill half of the plate with vegetables and take fruit as a healthy snack or dessert.

6. Consume Both Animal and Plant-Based Proteins

Protein is crucial for the immune system and the healthy functioning of our body. It can be supplied from both animal and plant-based sources such as meats, dairy products, eggs, fish, pulses, and beans.

If there is restricted access to fresh fish and meat, canned and frozen versions can be a convenient alternative. However, it is mandatory to check the label of these canned fish and meats as some of them are high in salt and fat content and pick the lower salt and fat varieties only. Plant-based proteins like seeds, nuts, cereals, and pulses also have a long shelf-life and can work as a convenient source of nutritious and protein-rich snacks or meals.

7. Limit Your Fat Intake

Fats are a major portion of a healthy diet. But not all fats are good for our health. Taking unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats can help you lower your cholesterol level and decrease your risk of heart disease.

Therefore, decrease the intake of foods like full-fat dairy products, butter, red and fatty meats, tropical oils such as palm and coconut oil, and add foods like oily fish, nuts, and plant oils such as rapeseed and olive oil. Also, consider trimming excess fat from poultry and meat, and choosing skinless options.

8. Limit Drinks and Foods High in Salt and Sugar

Drinks and foods high in salt and sugar such as chocolate, chips, potato, cookies, and sugary drinks, when consumed in huge amounts can lead you to ingest more calories than you require. As these food items often supply small nutritional benefits, you don’t need them for a healthy diet and should only enjoy them in small amounts and eat occasionally

9. Take Whole Grains Instead of Refined Grains

Unlike refined grains, whole grains preserve the maximum structures of a grain, maintaining the layers that keep the fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Also, whole grains supply an essential source of carbohydrates that gives us energy and help us feel fuller for a long period.

10. Stay Hydrated

Keeping hydrated is important for optimal health. How much water you require depends on your sex, age, height, weight, physical activity level, and environmental conditions.

Safe tap water is the cheapest and healthiest drink available. It’s also the most viable source as it produces zero waste in comparison with bottled water. Drinking water rather than sugar-sweetened drinks is an easy way to restrict your intake of excess calories and sugar. To boost its taste, frozen or fresh fruits like berries, slices of cucumber, lemon, or herbs like rosemary, lavender, or mint can be added.

Avoid drinking huge amounts of strong tea, strong coffee, caffeinated energy and soft drinks. These can harm your sleeping patterns and cause dehydration.

11. Take Your Dose of Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps absorb calcium and keeps your teeth, muscles, and bones healthy. It is found in milk, meat, fish, eggs, etc. However, it is hard to get all the vitamin D you need from food alone as the human body makes most of the vitamin D it needs from sunlight.

If you are in self-isolation and staying indoors, it is a great idea to take a daily supplement of vitamin D containing 10 micrograms to help fulfill the requirements of your body. Also, if you have access to a balcony, garden, or even an open window, daily 15-30 minutes of sun exposure to the face and arms can help you make sure you are getting all the vitamin D you require.

12. Maintain Safe Food Handling Practices

Safe food is the only healthy food. Food safety is essential for a healthy diet and food security. Good food hygiene practices are important for avoiding food contamination and common foodborne diseases. The key measures of good food hygiene include:

  • Keep the utensils and kitchen clean
  • Wash hands often, particularly between handling raw and cooked foods
  • Separate raw and cooked food, particularly fresh produce and raw meat
  • Use separate chopping knives and boards for raw and cooked foods
  • Thoroughly cook your food
  • Quickly cover and chill leftovers
  • Use raw material and safe water
  • Keep your food at a safe temperature (below 5°C or above 60°C)
  • Wash vegetables and fruits with water before eating them

13. Avoid or Reduce Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol is not just a dependence-producing, mind-altering substance, it can also weaken your immune system. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid, or at least reduce consuming alcohol when you are in self-Isolation.

As alcohol is a psychoactive substance, it affects your mental health and makes you more vulnerable to threats like falls, or injuries. It can also elevate symptoms of panic, fear, anxiety, and depression; symptoms that are known to increase during self-isolation.

Moreover, alcohol decreases the effectiveness of certain medications, while increasing the toxicity and potency of others. Never consume alcohol with pain medications, as it interferes with your liver functions and may cause serious health issues including liver failure.

Alcohol is not required for a healthy lifestyle and is not a mandatory part of your diet. Therefore, it shouldn’t be on your shopping list in the first place.

The Bottom Line

Self-isolation can be overwhelming and it may cause you to lose your appetite. However, to keep yourself healthy, you need to try eating something instead of nothing and select only nutritious foods if possible. If you do not like big meals, try having smaller meals more often.

Keep in touch with your friends and family using social media and electronic devices, maybe video calls a dear one during dinner so that you do not feel alone. Good luck!

Categories Health

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