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Quarantine Nutrition Tips: Eating Healthy While Staying Home

April 29, 2020
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Given recent circumstances, many people are finding that their eating habits have shifted, and that is completely normal. On top of this, we are spending much more time at home, which means it’s easier to stroll to the fridge or pantry to grab a snack.

Despite what’s going on outside your door, it’s a great time to focus on your health and put your goals into action.

Here are some quick tips on how to reclaim normalcy in your diet.

Easy health tips to start today

All it takes is 1-2 small changes at an easy pace to make a significant impact on your health. Here are some simple diet modifications you can start right away:

Choose water as your main drink

Cut out soda and juices. Swap for seltzer or sparkling water, which have no calories or artificial sweeteners.

Give yourself just the right amount of food

Eat until you feel satisfied, not full. If you struggle with overeating, either put the food away or have someone else do it for you.

Choose healthy carbs and fiber rich foods

Choose foods such as fruit, vegetables, and low-fat dairy. Try using zucchini noodles instead of pasta. Or opt for yummy whole grains like quinoa and farro as the base ingredient to your meal.

Snack on fruits and vegetables

If fresh produce is scarce at your local grocery store, it is fine to use canned or frozen fruits and vegetables.

Watch your sugar intake

Foods high in added sugar are “sometimes” foods. Keep these food and drink items out of the home if possible. If you do have them, stick to the recommended portion on the food label (or less) and then put the rest away.

Get active

Limit screen time each day and be sure to get up and get active. Refer to our recent self-care tips or list of ways to keep kids engaged for ideas.

Drink several cups of water a day

When you have an itch to snack, train yourself to keep your hands busy instead. Grab a coloring book, word search, or work on a craft project the next time you “think” you may be hungry.

Set an example

Your habits have an impact of those around you. Parents who set the example by eating healthy and exercising may encourage children to do the same. Enjoy meals, snacks, and activity together!

Assess your pantry and plan meals ahead of time

Now’s a great time to assess what you already have in your kitchen pantry. Can you build balanced meals to give you the energy you need throughout your day?

The New York Times offers tips on a well-stocked pantry and how to cook using what’s already in your kitchen.

For additional cooking inspiration with items that may already be in your pantry, listen to the Home Cooking podcast by Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway.

If you feel you’ve hit a road block with meal planning and need help with dinner inspiration, visit the recipe page on HelloFresh.com for tasty recipes.

Get kids excited about their food

Consider easy recipes that kids can help you cook, whether it’s stirring ingredients together or breaking vegetables or greens into pieces with their hands for a salad. Here is a recipe for simple and tasty bean quesadillas from Baystate’s MIGHTY weight management program:

Do a pantry scavenger hunt to see what kinds of items you have in your pantry. This will also help you discover what kinds of items to pick up at the store next time around.
Ask your kids to help with the grocery list. Offer them several healthy choices: “Do you want bananas, apples, or grapes from the grocery store this week?” and let them choose which they’d prefer. They will be excited to help control the menu at home.

Quick and healthy snack ideas

  • Cucumber and tomato salad drizzled with olive oil and feta cheese
  • Celery, apple slices, or banana with peanut butter
  • Carrots or red pepper strips with hummus or tzatziki dip
  • Strawberries and yogurt dip
  • ½ cup frozen grapes
  • Sea salt and pepper kale chips
  • Yogurt with ½ cup of Cheerios
  • Clementine and almonds
  • Rice cake with peanut butter and banana
  • Frozen yogurt-covered blueberries

Staying indoors has given us all an opportunity to look at our day-to-day habits and realize what may no longer be working for us.

Draw inspiration from the MIGHTY program

Baystate’s MIGHTY weight management program for children and adolescents offers guidance on leading a healthier lifestyle.

The MIGHTY program recommends a few simple tips to help you get started on a healthier path:

  • Start by looking at your current schedule. Make room for regularly scheduled meals, snacks (if needed), and physical activity.
  • Create a healthy eating plan that works with your needs and lifestyle.
  • Stay energized with exercise, a good night’s sleep, and foods that fuel your body.

The MIGHTY program helps families by developing strategies for life-long health and wellness. They focus on building confidence in a positive, shame-free environment. Using these basic guidelines, you can develop healthier habits for yourself and your family.

What parts of your daily routine are not beneficial to achieving your goals? Perhaps you have an increased amount of screen time, irregular sleep patterns, or find yourself eating when you are not hungry. Do your food choices help keep your body strong, satisfied, and energized?

Once you take note of habits to work on, you can focus on a goal you’d like to achieve, such as planning meals and snacks instead of grazing, eating frozen fruit instead of ice cream, or taking a brief walk after dinner instead of binge watching.

Below, you'll find a series of recipe videos with MIGHTY nutritionists.

Recipes from MIGHTY nutritionists:

How to make bean quesadillas

Hilary from the MIGHTY program demonstrates how to make this nutritious and tasty recipe. 

How to Make Egg Muffins

Ruth, a dietitian from the MIGHTY program, walks us through a recipe for egg muffins. 

How to Make Kale Chips

Ruth from the MIGHTY program demonstrates this simple and tasty recipe.