Eating Well in Lockdown
Lockdown has affected the way we eat. Changes in food access, routine, time to cook or eating together as a family or stress related loss of appetite /comfort eating. So how can we minimise these negative effects?
In line with most other advice, routine is everything. Setting scheduled times to eat and drink and planning meals/snacks. If you notice eating between scheduled snacks times, try the 3 P’s:
- PAUSE to think about what is going on. It is unlikely to be that you are hungry having eaten less than a couple of hours ago.
- PROCESS what is the reason I am looking for food? Boredom? Comfort? Reward? Excitement? Anxiety? Distraction?
- PROCEED to try and address this primary problem. What else can I do to meet this need?
With stockpiled food it is hard not to have food all over the kitchen, let alone the rest of the house. However, research tells us that the food environment matters. If you are stimulated by the sight of food put it out of the way. Keep snacks i.e all food (except fruit and veg) behind doors, in cupboards – use the car boot or attic if needed. Keep easy to reach chopped veg, protein-based snacks at hand/eye level in the fridge. All snacks and meals should contain some sort of fruit or veg. For example, a fruit or veg based snack in the morning, and if you want a sweet snack in the afternoon, you have a piece of fruit or veg with it. Try and stick to one social food a day and used non-food rewards. Instead of just baking cakes, try and use the time to branch out and try different savoury meals and snacks. Finally, don't forget to go outside for a minimum of 20 minutes a day to ensure enough vitamin D!
Ursula is a freelance consultant dietitian and senior lecturer in nutrition and dietetics, providing specialist nutritional consultancy to the media, companies and individuals. She has extensive experience in NHS settings, specialist eating disorder services and runs her own private practice.