Nutrition Hacks for the Lockdown
As you know, Covid-19 has impacted lifestyle routines all over the world. You’re not alone in having concerns during the lockdown, especially when it comes to nutrition and health.
It’s natural to ask yourself questions, such as:
What should I eat in order to improve my immunity?
How do I manage healthy meals with limited ingredients?
How do I cook for myself without much experience?
To help you find the answer, let’s first modify our concept of nutrition and lifestyle.
For instance, take a look at Gargi’s example. Let’s suppose that her family consists of her husband and two children, and she works in the IT sector. She gets up at around 8 am in the morning, has her coffee at 8:30 am and skips her breakfast. She begins with the lunch preparations and household work. After that’s done, she sits for her online office work from 10 am – 6 pm. Her lunch timings are anytime between 1 and 2 pm. For lunch, she eats 3 chapatis and 1 bowl of rice and dal so that she can continuously work till 6 pm. In the evening, she usually has cravings and ends up preparing a sandwich, pizza or noodles. She watches movies on the laptop late into the night. She goes grocery shopping 3 times a week and gets confused every time, and tends to spend more money on junk food or on vegetables and fruits which get spoilt easily as they often aren’t stored properly.
So what are the things she should go for and where is she going wrong?
What Nutrition Tips Should I Follow In The Lockdown?
1. Start With A Healthy Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day as it kick-starts your digestive system and provides the necessary energy to get you through the day. Skipping breakfast leads to increased stress levels and tiredness. Include fresh fruits followed by a warm, cooked breakfast item like idli or upma, as hot food helps ignite the digestive fire.
2. Eat Foods At The Right Time
Due to work or other reasons, we tend to eat foods at any time. It’s important to schedule a fixed time for eating meals. This teaches our body what to expect, thus regulating our digestion rhythm and preventing overeating, bloating or indigestion.
- For lunch, include 2 or 3 kinds of cooked vegetables; a lentil or protein dish; a whole grain; a salad; and yogurt or buttermilk.
- For dinner, eat a small, light meal consisting of a vegetable/lentil dish and a whole grain.
- Cook your meals with the appropriate healthy fats – ghee for vata and pitta and olive oil for kapha.
- If you feel like snacking mid-afternoon, eat a small helping of soaked blanched almonds to balance vata or pitta, and sunflower or pumpkin seeds to balance kapha.
- Before going to bed, drink a cup of warm milk spiced with nutmeg for vata, cardamom for pitta and ginger for kapha.
- Drink lots of water throughout the day but avoid iced, carbonated or caffeinated beverages. It’s advisable to not consume water, milk or alcohol during meal times.
3. Include Immunity-Boosting Nutrients
Fruits and vegetables which are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and other antioxidants as well as super foods like turmeric, ginger and garlic will help strengthen your immune functions.
4. Avoid Incompatible Food Combinations
Steer clear of combinations of certain foods:
- Honey should not be heated or cooked, as this renders it poisonous.
- Bananas should not be mixed with milk, as this can produce toxins in the body.
- Curd, yogurt or milk should not be mixed with fruits. For example, fruit milkshakes or fruit yogurts should not be consumed.
- Milk should not be consumed after non-vegetarian foods. Milk has a cold potency and non-vegetarian products have a hot potency, making them incompatible.
- Milk should not be consumed with melons, as milk is a laxative and melons are a diuretic.
- Foods with opposing properties like ghee (cooling) and honey (heat-producing) shouldn’t be taken in equal amounts by weight as this creates toxins.
5. Follow A Fixed Sleeping Pattern
Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night is very important. Sleeping early and waking up early at the same time regulates your sleep cycle and improves sleep quality, which helps your body better fight against infections.
6. Have Meals Together As A Family
The lockdown has been a blessing in disguise, where in it has given us a golden opportunity to be with our family members and enjoy daily meals together. Eating together creates a positive atmosphere, encourages good table manners, focuses on better nutrition, and helps prevent weight problems in young children. You can include each of your family members in simple food preparations like cutting vegetables or fruits or making salads.
Important Tip: Make no room for distractions like the TV, computer, tablets and phones during mealtimes. Keep toys and books off the table.
7. Don’t Waste Food And Money
Wasting food or money is unfortunately common but should be avoided:
Prepare a list before shopping food items:
While grocery shopping, we tend to add extra items into the cart that look interesting and yummy. Sticking to a list of healthy foods is very important as this will prevent overeating and wastage.
Follow FIFO – “first in first out” method:
Use the older foods stored in the pantry first and new items later.
Store food properly:
Foods should be stored at the proper temperature in the refrigerator so as to avoid spoilage.
Make a weekly menu:
Plan a weekly menu as it becomes easier and faster to shop items and prepare for meals when you know what you need.
Cook small to moderate portions:
Prepare a limited amount of daily food so as to avoid wastage.
Start a kitchen/herb garden:
Save money by planting essential condiments, spices and herbs in your balcony garden or window sill.
What Lockdown Mistakes Should I Avoid?
1. Sedentary Lifestyle
Most people follow a sedentary lifestyle which includes watching television, surfing the internet, using mobile phones for a long period and a lack of physical activity. Include at least 20 minutes of exercise daily in your schedule. Include exercises that interest you, such as, walking, jogging, dancing, zumba or yoga to release stress.
Plan a daily schedule to avoid lazy and lethargic feelings and get things done. When you don’t have a plan for the day, you can lose interest in doing any activity.
3. Food Cravings
Craving foods at odd timings can lead you to gain weight. People tend to eat more when they are constantly at home or have higher stress levels.
Few tips to avoid cravings:
- Drink plenty of liquids
- Get a good night’s sleep
- Avoid long gaps in between two meals
- Don’t follow diet fads
4. High Carbohydrate Diet
A heavy-carbohydrate meal can make you sleepy. Avoid foods which are high in carbohydrates and include more proteins in your meals to keep you satiated for longer.
5. Heavy Dinner
Avoid heavy dinners. Keep your breakfast hearty and your dinner light.
2 Quick-Fix Healthy Snack Recipes:
Daliya Moong Dosa
- Soak daliya overnight.
- Grind soaked daliya and sprouted moong along with garlic, ginger coriander and green chillies.
- Add water if required to make a smooth batter.
- Add salt and onions.
- Heat a non-stick pan, grease it with little oil and pour the batter.
- Daliya moog dosa is suitable for all age groups.
- This recipe has low carbohydrates, high protein, high fibre and omega 3 fatty acids, which makes it suitable for diabetic and weight-loss patients.
- This recipe is perfect to consume for breakfast, as a snack in the evening or as a light dinner.
- You can also replace daliya with jowar flour, rice flour, wheat flour, ragi (nachani) flour or a mixed flour as per the availability.
- Instead of green moong dal, you can also add channa dal, urad dal, soya flour or mixed dal as per the availability.
- The minimum utensils required are a tawa, ladle and mixing bowl.
- Washing time: 5 to 7 minutes.
Calories– 174kcal, Proteins– 6.62gm, Carbohydrates– 20gm, Fats– 7.16gm
Carrot Ginger Soup
- Peel and chop the carrot.
- Chop the onion and a small piece of ginger.
- Heat oil in a pan, add onion and ginger, and sauté till the onion becomes translucent.
- Add carrots and sauté them for a minute.
- Add 1 ½ cup of water, cover the pan with a lid, and simmer it on a low flame.
- Switch off the flame once the carrot is cooked and keep it aside for cooling.
- Pour the mixture in a grinder and blend till it becomes a smooth puree.
- Add more water if required and boil it again on a low flame.
- Add black pepper and garnish the soup with coriander, mint or oregano.
- Carrot ginger soup is suitable for all age groups, especially for those patients who are on a liquid diet.
- This recipe contains high fibre and beta carotene, which makes it suitable for diabetic and weight-loss patients.
- This recipe can be consumed either before lunch or before dinner to maintain satiety levels.
- Vegetables like pumpkins, bottle gourds, radishes, beetroots, and tomatoes can also be used or any other vegetables which are available in the market.
- The minimum utensils required are a cooker, mixer grinder and ladle.
- Washing time: 5 to 7 minutes.
Calories– 86kcal, Proteins– 1.25gm, Carbohydrates– 8gm, Fats– 5.35gm
It’s important to stay informed and take care of yourself and your family’s health and well-being during this lockdown period.
For an Ayurveda-based personalised diet for the whole family, feel free to sign up for a consultation with our nutritionist. With Mi.Bo.So, you can experience 24/7 care on call or over video in the comfort of your home. Our wellness team, consisting of Ayurvedic vaidyas, nutritionists and yoga coaches, is here to guide you throughout your journey to healthier eating and happier living. If you have any questions, do leave a comment below and our team will get back to you.