With most of us cooped up in our homes for a good part of 2020 (thanks, COVID-19), food and eating is not as it used to be. Ordering in and having groceries delivered has been the norm, and while we have tried to eat healthy, our diets may have suffered in the meantime.
If you have sought comfort in food or strayed from a healthy diet while staying home during the pandemic, don’t feel guilty or embarrassed. Admittedly, we’ve all indulged in our favourite nibbles and snacks (and drinks!), and it has made us feel even just a little better.
With restaurants and cafés opening up again all over Singapore, you’re probably ready to fly out the door and treat yourself to a gastronomic experience. However, keep in mind that staying at home and minimising contact with others are still the best ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
We’ve put together tips for healthy eating at home, as endorsed by nutrition experts at the World Health Organisation (WHO), who expressed that good nutrition contributes to a healthy and robust immune system, which is crucial at a time like this, when our bodies need to fight off infection.
As with any undertaking or goal, it all starts with a plan. At a time with food supplies are limited, making a meal plan is vital to buying only what you need, which in turn reduces food spoilage and waste. You can prioritise using your fresh produce first and then products with longer shelf lives later. And with a plan, you can tailor your meals so that you are getting the most nutrition in the form of your favourite meals.
Home-cooked is always best
While it’s always fun to order food and get it delivered to your home, home-cooked food is always the healthiest option, because you can choose the ingredients yourself. Plus, it’ll save you money, and who would say no to that? Also, cooking with your partner, family or friends that you live with is a great way to spend time together.
It’s all about the portion sizes
Spending a lot of time at home, with suddenly way more time on your hands, can definitely lead to over-eating and over-snacking. You might even find yourself eating just because you don’t have anything to do and not because you’re actually hungry. If you like eating often throughout the day, a good tip to staying healthy is to limit your portion sizes. Don’t overload your plate and then make yourself finish it all—get a little bit of everything first and then go back for seconds if you want more.
Stay away from too much salt and sugar
Fast food and processed snacks contain way too much salt and sugar, so try to avoid them as much as possible. When cooking delicious meals or whipping up luxurious desserts at home, make a conscious effort to limit your use or salt and sugar. Your meals don’t have to be bland—why not make use of different spices and herbs to add flavour to your dishes, and fruits are the best natural sweeteners out there!
Swap bad fats for good fats
All fats are not created equal. The bad fats are trans fats which are present in food items containing partially hydrogenated oil, such as processed and fried foods. If there are bad fats, there are good fats, which are present in food items like olive oil, fish, poultry and fruit like avocado. Including good fats in your diet contributes to heart-health and healthy skin, bones and hair.
Stay away from the sauce and drink loads of water
While there’s no harm in indulging in your go-to alcoholic drink here and there, making it a habit, especially while stuck at home, isn’t a good idea. It could contribute to health problems, such as weight gain, can lower the immune system and can lead to other more serious issues. Swap alcohol and sugary drinks with good old water. Drinking generous amounts of water throughout the day is not only great for your kidneys, but it can help curb overeating, too!