Today I want to talk about foods you should be avoiding during this government mandated lockdown.
Feeling stressed during the uncertainty of the Coronavirus World Pandemic is a reality most people are facing around the world.
As we stay home in an effort to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, we have 24/7 access to food and snacks.
And with no option to eat out, we are forced to cook food at home, which can be a good thing because we’re more likely to cook healthier meals.
Unfortunately, binge eating and emotional eating are both running rampant.
Which can affect you both physically and mentally.
But the good news is…
It’s still manageable to maintain a balanced diet at home with what you have in your pantry and freezer.
You’re not expected to do a complete 360⁰ in your food choices for the sake of the lockdown.
However, directing your focus from emotional eating habits to food choices that will help keep you healthy and also boost your energy is more beneficial.
At a time like this, good nutrition is needed more than ever, so eating healthily will not only benefit you but strengthen your immune system in fighting off germs.
And avoiding foods that are not beneficial to your health during the lockdown and hopefully adopting good food habits after, will essentially save your life and increase your longevity.
Here are some easy tips to help you avoid stress eating during lockdown.
Tip #1 – set up a schedule and stick to it!
This will help curb those unnecessary visits to the kitchen due to boredom.
Apart from scheduling time to eat during the day, you should include time for work, relaxation, exercise time, communicating with others, and most importantly self-care.
With a schedule, you are less likely to feel bored, which leads to overeating and snacking unnecessarily.
A schedule will give you a sense of accountability and achievement as well.
Tip #2 – Choose healthier options instead.
Planning your meals for the day will likely reduce the temptations to reach for those bad foods.
Deciding what to eat when you are already hungry will lead to overeating and making bad food choices that are quick and convenient.
Keep in mind that although processed foods are easily accessible, they’re also easier to overeat and rarely good for you.
Choose healthier options instead, I promise your body will thank you later.
Foods rich in nutrients, minerals, vitamins, fiber, and protein are a much healthy option.
Tip #3 – keep cravings under control.
We all know how easy it is to turn to food when you’re bored, so try to keep busy and occupied throughout the day.
Cravings start when you’re feeling stuck, bored, lost, or even frustrated.
Instead of feeding your craving, take a moment to understand why you are feeling this way and label it before deciding what to do with it.
Perhaps you need to take a break, change tasks completely, or check in with someone to get their perspective on something.
Allocate spaces in your home for specific purposes. For instance, allocate eating, working, workout and relaxation areas and stick to it.
This way, if you are craving something while in the working space, you will be required to get up and go to that designated space in order to feed your craving, which in most cases won’t happen immediately if you’re busy completing a work task.
Every so often it’s good to reward yourself after accomplishing all your tasks for the day, especially with that craving you had during the day.
Tip #4 – Avoid certain foods.
I highly recommend you avoid the following foods during the lockdown.
These foods when consumed often and for a long period of time, may lead to some serious health problems.
If you do find yourself indulging in these types of food, then do so in moderation and switch out healthier food options for a good balance.
The first food category is processed foods…
Processed foods consist of foods that are cooked, canned, frozen or packaged and where its nutritional value has been changed through fortifying, or preservation.
When you cook, bake, or prepare food, this is also known as processing food.
The most highly processed foods contain a lot of extra sugar, salt, oil, and calories.
Processed foods to avoid are juice drinks – high in sugar, boxed noodle meals – high in sodium and carbs, frozen deep-fried foods – high in fat, packaged cakes, and cookies (obviously!).
Processed meats such as cold (sausage, hotdogs, salami, etc.) and dried meats, and canned meat have a high risk of heart diseases and illnesses.
Although, not all processed foods are bad you for example canned fish can be a good source of omega-3 fatty acids…
Whole-wheat bread, and pasta – is rich in fiber..
Fortified milk is – high in calcium and protein…
canned beans – contains fiber, protein and little to no fat…
And finally, frozen fruit and vegetables can be frozen without adding preservatives.
Just be sure to carefully look at the labels of processed food you would possibly want to purchase and look for words like dextrose, maltose, trans fats, and hydrogenated oil.
Foods loaded with these ingredients can provide you with nearly twice the daily recommended amount of sodium and sugar.
The next food category is foods high in sugar.
Sugary food is also often the most convenient too, it gives you an instant boost in your energy and can provide comfort when you’re feeling emotional.
The problem is, when you eat food high in sugar, your blood sugar spikes and almost instantly drops, leaving you feeling tired…and hungry.
Eating high sugar foods can also lead to addiction.
Leaving you craving sugar at all times…
Especially during stressful and emotional times (lockdown).
Plus, Eating food high in sugar can increase your risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Some common foods high in hidden sugar include…
Low-fat yogurt, sauces and salad dressing, vitamin water and sports drinks…
Packaged fruit juice and soda, flavored coffees and teas, cookies and biscuits, dried and canned fruits, some breakfast cereals, granola bars, cakes, pastries and doughnuts, frozen pizza, bread, and ready-to-eat soups.
Be sure to always check the labels of food items and look at the total sugar content.
If it is high, then it is not good for you.
Reduce your sugar intake by eating naturally sugary foods whole like fruit.
Substitute sugar with a natural sweetener like honey…
And switch out candy for nuts.
You can also try swapping dark chocolate for milk chocolate.
You don’t have to eliminate sugar completely…
Just get rid of the foods with added sugars.
Next you’ll want to avoid…Food High in Refined Carbs.
Refined carbs are another food item that is easily accessible and can provide you with instant energy.
Similarly, like sugar, when eaten it can leave you feeling tired because it causes a spike in your blood sugar then instantly drops.
And once again leaving you to crave more.
Eating too many, refined carbs can lead to overeating and increase your chances of obesity.
Foods that contain refined carbs are things like white flour, white rice, pizza dough, pasta, pastries, sweet desserts, and several breakfast cereals.
You’ll want to replace refined carbs with whole carbs such as vegetables, fruits, and bread and grains, which are healthier options rich in fiber.
Fiber is also good for your digestive system.
Low-glycemic carbohydrates such as nuts, legumes, sweet potato, oats, and brown rice, are healthy alternatives to add to your diet.
Of course you’ll also want to eliminate…Unhealthy Snacking
Now that you’re home-bound and surrounded by food all the time, it is much easier to overeat and snack all the time even when you are not hungry.
Snacking usually occurs between the main meals breakfast, lunch, and dinner and can quickly lead to overeating.
Stress and boredom are big factors that can lead to snacking.
Depending on our moods and circumstances, we snack on different things.
We tend to snack more on unhealthy foods that are heavy in salt, sugar, and high in fat, such as chips, desserts, and sugary drinks.
In order to snack less, it is important to eat foods that keep you fuller for longer, including high-calorie health foods.
You’ll also want to add a source of protein to each main meal.
Keeping yourself occupied throughout the day is also key to snacking less.
However, if you do find yourself snacking then choose healthier alternatives instead, such as snacking on unsalted nuts, fruit and vegetables, homemade popcorn, homemade smoothies, and herbal teas.
Remember to share your snacks with your lockdown home buddies, this leads to eating less.
And while it’s important to limit your intake of certain foods during this lockdown…
It’s also a good idea to add certain foods to your diet too.
Here are some of the Foods you should Add to your Shopping List during the Lockdown.
The next time you head out to restock on food during the lockdown, make sure to get your hands on these foods.
These food items are rich in nutrients, minerals, and vitamins, which will strengthen your immunity and provide you with energy.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important not only for your physical health but also for your mental health, especially now that we are spending so much time at home.
Here’s a few categories you should stock up on…
Fruit and Vegetables…
Whether eaten as a snack or as a part of meals, it is always good to have fresh fruit and vegetables on hand.
Fruits and vegetables contain complex carbohydrates, slowly releasing energy gradually instead of spiking it like sugar does.
Green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach, contain B vitamins, which are important for your brain and mood balancing hormones like serotonin, and dopamine.
Citrus fruits are particularly good for you as it is high in vitamin C and is a good source of fiber.
Citrus fruits also increase the production of white blood cells and are vital in fighting infections.
Grapes, apples, kiwi, melons, corn cobs, and mixed salad bowls, have a high water content, which keeps you full and satisfied longer.
Fruits and vegetables rich in fiber such as raw vegetable crudités, baby carrots, and cucumber slices, can also keep you fuller for longer.
Whole Grains is next on the list…
And while there are bad grains (refined)…good grains (whole) are packed with nutrition.
Refined grains have a finer texture and a longer shelf life .
Unfortunately the refining process also strips them of dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins.
Refined grains include food like white flour, white bread, and white rice.
Whole grains, on the other hand, contain the entire grain kernel which is the bran, germ, and endosperm.
Whole-wheat flour, oatmeal, and brown rice are considered whole-grain foods.
Eating the right amount of whole grains in a meal, not only is packed with a lot of nutrients but also keeps you from feeling sluggish.
Next you’ll want to get in plenty of healthy protein.
Proteins is an essential fat burning nutrient and is necessary for repair and recovery.
Foods high in protein are eggs, almonds, chicken breast, oats, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, milk, lean beef, tuna, quinoa, whey protein supplements (no added sugar), lentils, pumpkin seeds, turkey breast, fish (all), shrimp, and peanuts.
Protein can also reduce your appetite and lower your hunger levels.
It’s great for your bones and also increases muscle mass and strength.
It also improves your metabolism and increases fat burning.
So while being locked down can cause all of us to feel increased levels of stress and boredom…
It’s also a great time to dial in your nutrition.
Don’t make the mistake of eating junk…
This will all be over soon and the last thing you want is to get back to your normal routine with excess weight, additional health problems or a lack of energy.
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