How to keep on top of nutrition whilst at home
We all know that good nutrition is essential for our performance, health and wellbeing. We are living through challenging times, where we have to adapt to a new “normal” nutritional patterns and habits and make the best out of it for the sake of our wellbeing. The majority of people actually find that sticking to a healthy routine/dietary habits is a lot more challenging whilst being in a lockdown. There are 3 strategies that may make it easier to keep on top of your nutrition:
- Mindful eating
- Nutrient density
Mindful eating is an extremely powerful tool - when you slow down and pay attention to how and what you eat, you will not only bring more joy to eating, but also gain control! Set everything aside and take a break to enjoy and savour your food, bring all your focus on the meal, take 5 deep breaths to shift your body into a parasympathetic state (rest and digest), chew your food slowly, noticing the taste and texture. Putting your fork down between each mouthful is a great practical tip that makes you chew well and appreciate your food, but this is also what helps you digest your food more efficiently to absorb more nutrients from the food that you eat and also be ready to hear the signal of fulness.
While it’s true that the digestive system needs hydration in order to function efficiently, drinking lots of water during meals can dilute your stomach acid. Stomach acid allows you to digest protein, absorb vitamin B12 properly and signals the other digestive organs to release their enzymes. Limit your consumption of fluids 30 minutes before you eat and for 1 hour after a meal. If you prefer to drink with a meal, take small sips. Mint tea and lemon water are useful in assisting digestion.
It’s easy to fall into a pattern of mindless or emotional snacking especially now when we are at home and bored SENSELESS, or thinking you need a certain number of meals every day. When you snack a lot in between meals, however, you may find that you never feel satisfied, or that you’re not hungry at mealtimes. Eating when you’re not hungry can lead to feeling guilty later about overeating. Also, constantly eating and digesting does not give your digestive system time to clean itself and repair. Planning your meals reduces the risk of eating the “wrong” foods and mindlessly snacking. When I know what I am going to have for dinner, I am not going to spoil my appetite by gobbling biscuits. I will be looking forward to it. Eat only when you’re hungry. Listen to your body. Are you hungry? Do you feel empty or light-headed? Are you thirsty? If you’re truly hungry, eat a meal or have a healthy snack. Don’t eat just because there is food around. When you grab a snack, ask yourself why you want it before you consume it.
Schedule your meals — decide how many meals you need/want per day — perhaps this is a perfect time to try intermittent fasting such as 16:8?
Our body cannot “make” or create certain essential nutrients, that’s why it is absolutely critical to make sure your diet supplies all those nutrients. Make every bite count – think of nutrient density of the foods and choose wisely. Nutrient dense foods are high in nutrients but relatively low in calories, so you get high nutrient per calorie ratio. Nutrient-dense foods contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats.
Set yourself daily targets to consume NUTRIENTS:
Target 1: aim to consume 500-600g of vegetables per day. It does not matter whether they are cooked from frozen, just got out of a tin/jar, boiled, steamed, roasted, stewed, grilled or raw – everything counts. Vegetables provide one of the most important nutrients – fiber and a variety of vitamins, anti-oxidants and minerals.
Target 2: oily fish, aim for 4-5 portions per week. One portion is 120g, approximately the size of a small sardine’s tin. Oily fish famously provide us with Omega-3 essential fatty acid, which have been shown to be very beneficial for various aspects of health and wellbeing. If you are vegan, do make sure to include chia seeds, flaxseeds, flaxseeds oil, hempseeds and its oil, walnuts or an omega-3 supplement daily.
Target 3: make sure you consume enough protein. A simple calculation is 1g of protein per 1 kg of your weight per day. For a 70kg person that would be 70g of protein per day. 120g of sardines provide 30g of protein, which is the same amount as 100g of chicken breast. One boiled medium egg has 13g of protein. If you are vegan, taking a high protein vegan powder such as NGX BodyFuel would provide you with your daily requirements.
If meal planning is not your strong skill, you can get a nutrient dense snack or a meal by taking NGX BodyFuel, which provides high amount of vegan protein, omega-3, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants – and nothing that your body does not need!