Today I want to talk about nutrition tips you can adopt while in quarantine and beyond.
Right now, there’s a lot of stress and frustration in the world.
Crisis, panic, and uncertainty, as the world we know changes for good.
But most things in life are never constant, things are always changing, and if you step back and look at the bigger picture…
They kind of have to.
But there’s one thing that will never change…
And that is your body’s need for good, healthy nutrition.
Because many of you are working or at least just staying at home through this period, a lot of time and energy which you would normally spend going about your daily duties is now pent up and unused.
From a health perspective, this means that you are burning fewer calories on average than you would if you were out and about living your normal life.
On top of that, being home means food is just a walk to the kitchen away at all times.
Add that to the fact that we’re all stuck in our homes and it’s a recipe for disaster…
It’s also a recipe for BINGING!
Now I’m not saying everyone just automatically gorges themselves when stuck at home during a pandemic lockdown, but the temptation is real and ever-present.
Even some of the most die-hard nutrition and fitness experts will admit that eating healthy when you have unfettered access to stockpiles of food can be a challenge.
That’s why I’m here to help you get a handle on your relationship with food as you find yourself stuck in the house day after day.
With these tips and habits, you can get on track and stay on track with your nutrition…
And do it in a way that is useful and healthy whether or not you need to stay or not.
The truth is…
These strange times are actually a BIG opportunity for personal growth and development of useful habits.
And today, I’m going to share a few ways you can make the most of it.
So without further to say, let’s jump right into it.
Top 7 Lockdown Nutrition Tips
Tip #1…Don’t buy junk.
The number one rule to consider when it comes to good nutrition is, only buy the good stuff.
And by good I mean healthy.
Sounds obvious, right?
But it’s so important…
Lately, I’ve noticed an uptick in the number of self-defeating statements, even by popular influencers in the health and fitness community that speak about “letting go” and “allowing yourself to fail” just to paraphrase.
This is usually spun around the concept of “self-love” and not being hard on yourself.
Well, I’m here to tell you that there is a difference between self-love and self-indulgence.
Hoarding a bunch of junk food as part of your lockdown prep strategy is a recipe for disaster.
You will likely binge, and binging is not self-love or self-care, it is self-indulgence.
If you really want to love and care for yourself, you will attend to your health and make sure you’re in the best shape and condition possible.
Both mentally AND physically…
That means not buying a bunch of calorie-dense, nutrient-deficient processed snack food.
Sure, you can treat yourself to a few snacks and a “cheat meal” or two, but you should avoid any prominence in processed junk when it comes to your food availability.
When you go out to shop, focus on wholesome, nutrient-dense foods, those are the ones you should stock up on.
Aside from the fact that it is obviously a better decision, it also means that if and when you do feel like an all-nighter at the refrigerator, you are stuffing your face with goodness.
Don’t get me wrong, too much of anything can be bad, but if binging happens, I’d rather it happens with a crisp, light chicken salad and a protein smoothie than a bunch of chips and cookies.
Another great thing about whole, healthy food is it is often more filling than your more calorie-dense processed foods.
This is especially true when it comes to plants and protein.
Fruit and veg are high in fiber, so they will fill you up quickly, while protein is the most filling of the macronutrients.
This means you are less likely to binge even if the temptation calls.
Eating this way is also vital during this time because of the benefits it will bring to your immune system.
And we all know how important that is, right?
Ok, next tip…
Tip #2 Plan Your Shopping
By making the decision to eat clean and healthy while you’re at home…
Your shopping MUST support your decision, which means…
You need a game plan.
Shopping during this time has been nothing short of crazy. It’s easy to get caught up in the great toilet paper war of 2020, but right now, you need to focus on smart decisions when going shopping.
Plan your trip with not just a general list of what you feel you need to get.
Start by evaluating your food situation at home, think of what you need and what you enjoy, of course, staying within the bounds of healthy nutrition.
Now organize your list into different groups.
Fruits, veggies, meat, eggs, dairy, nuts seeds, and grains. Stick to whatever dietary plans favor your health or lifestyle (vegan, gluten-free, low carb, etc).
Also, plan out in terms of quantities so that you know you’re getting enough for the amount of time you’ll be in lockdown.
Another great tip when you go out prep shopping is to make provision for substitutes.
It’s more likely now than ever that you will run into shortages of specific items and even entire food categories, so strategize your shopping around the possibility that you might not find exactly what you want.
Another major tip when rounding up that quarantine cuisine is to focus on non-perishable foods.
That means foods that stay fresh and edible for extended periods of time, ideally, without the need for refrigeration.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you go prep shopping is to stock up on a bunch of fresh produce.
Fresh produce is great, it means that your choices are most likely healthy. It means you are selecting whole, unprocessed foods for the most part.
Unfortunately, fresh produce doesn’t have much of a shelflife.
You will soon find that your dietary demands can’t keep up with the rate at which fresh fruits and veggies spoil, and not all overripe foods can be turned into banana bread.
Opt for frozen or canned foods when it comes to your produce.
These not only have the benefit of longer storage, but they also tend to be cheaper.
That’s because there is less cost involved in the handling of frozen or preserved produce from farm to food aisle.
You also have the convenience of variety since many frozen foods come as mixes. That means you have a head start on a varied food option inclusive of more essential nutrients.
Canned and dried foods of other varieties also make it on this list for the sake of non-perishability.
A can of tuna is a wiser choice than fresh fish for example, but be smart and check the food labels to make sure you’re getting the least processed options.
Tip #4…Meal Prep.
A great strategy in helping you build good food habits is meal prepping.
Once a trend within the bodybuilding community, more and more of the general population are turning to meal prepping as a way to manage their food quantity and quality.
Meal prepping means you don’t have to fuss about what your next meal is.
The decision-making process between feeling hungry and getting your grub can leave you open to some less than ideal choices.
By eliminating that sequence of events, you are more likely to stay on track with a good, healthy eating plan.
When you cook in a planned manner, you are more likely to focus on nutrient quality rather than just cooking up a comfort food storm.
You can sTore your food in large sealable containers or portion it out into smaller single-serving containers.
Personally, I prefer smaller portioning as it allows you to get a grip on your macros and calorie intake.
Meal prepping is also a huge time saver, you allow yourself to buy back time which you can use for something else….
And speaking of prepping…
Tip #5 is Hydration Prepping.
Aside from food, one of the biggest drawbacks with many people when it comes to nutrition is, you guessed it, water.
Most people tend to skimp on water intake, which happens to be more crucial than food.
The average adult should be drinking at least half a gallon (2 liters) of water each day and more when active.
If you’re finding it hard to hydrate adequately, there are a few tricks you can use to make sure you’re keeping a healthy fluid balance.
Try flavoring your water with lemon or cucumber.
This light flavoring option adds a bit of character to an otherwise dull experience, and let’s face it, the main reason most people don’t drink enough water is simply that it tastes boring.
Also adding more teas and hot beverages to your day will help bring up the water level. Just make sure you avoid too many caffeinated versions as that definitely can be a health risk.
And if you drink it too late in the day it can disrupt your sleep.
Manage your water intake using reminders or alarms.
Many of the health tracking apps available today have the option to remind you of your fluid intake.
Water is an essential driver of every aspect of your health, plus it helps keep your cravings down, so make sure you drink up!
So the gym is closed, so what?
That doesn’t spell doom and gloom for your physical activity goals.
You can and should still exercise even when you’re staying at home.
Keep in mind that gyms and gym equipment were developed over time as a convenient way to give the body much needed exercise…
Our daily tasks put enough stress on our bodies to keep us in shape.
Which means it’s time to go back to basics.
Bodyweight workouts with no equipment are viable ways to maintain and even improve your fitness and body composition.
Of course, if you’re into bodybuilding or powerlifting, the lack of access to a well-stocked fitness facility might be a hindrance.
In that case, you have two options. You can either treat this timeout as a deload period, where you dial down your regular training regimen, or you can get creative with calisthenics and bodyweight workouts.
It is possible to build decent amounts of strength and muscle through bodyweight training if you do it right, at the very least, you’ll be able to maintain.
If you do choose to go full deload, try to focus on keeping fit through cardio and endurance exercises.
Add a HIIT workout to the mix.
If your home is now your office, get up from your desk. I recommend once every 20 minutes to stretch and stimulate your circulation.
It’s important to do this not just from a fitness perspective, but again, the key is your immunity, with special consideration to your lymphatic system.
That’s because your lymphatic system is your immune system’s superhighway, but unlike your cardiovascular system which pumps blood using your heart, your lymph is pumped passively by gravity and muscular contraction.
In this way, regular movement is a necessary factor in maintaining immune function.
All you need to do is just keep moving.
Finally tip #7…
Keep your mind occupied.
Your mind is probably racing with a million and one things. Well, who can blame you when everything is so uncertain.
This level of anxiety, with added boredom and idleness, is a gateway to binge eating.
And you can’t exactly wish all the problems and frustrations away.
But what you CAN do is…get busy and engage your mind.
I’ve already mentioned how important exercise is from a fitness perspective, but it’s also a great way to engage your mind and immerse yourself in something you have control over.
Exercise is also a great stress reliever, essential during a lockdown.
Other than working out, you can engage your mind in other ways.
Reading and playing games are great ways to stimulate your brain and take attention off of problems that are out of your hands while improving other aspects of your life.
Brain games, riddles, and even video games are perfect examples of what you can do to not only pass the time but make use of it in a meaningful way.
Doing something creative like art or writing is also good in times of stress, and can help you remove yourself from a sense of boredom or anxiety, which in turn limits the possibility for binge eating.
Try to do things that engage your mind actively rather than passively like watching movies and tv shows.
Binge-watching usually goes hand in hand with binge eating, so keep that to a minimum.
So there you have it…
With a little foresight and conscious effort and with these 7 easy to use tips…
You can avoid many of the common pitfalls of being in isolation, quarantine or lockdown.
Most of these tips seem pretty obvious, but many people still fail on execution.
That’s why I’ve gone in-depth to lay out how it’s done and why you should do it.
If you have any questions you feel weren’t answered in this video, please drop us a comment and we’ll get right back to you.
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