Establishing healthy eating habits and limiting stress eating in the best of circumstances can be a challenge, let alone eating healthy while under quarantine. In the current world we’re living in, it may seem even harder to make nutrition a priority. If you feel like treating yourself with food is one of the only things you can do, that’s okay! You can enjoy some extra treats and still stay on track.
You can still eat healthy during these uncertain times. In fact, now may be the best time to focus on yourself if you’re quarantining at home. You can practice your cooking skills and try new healthy quarantine recipes! Then, you’ll be reared and ready to go once we come out of this (because we will!).
If you’re feeling discouraged and off track – don’t stress. You can get back to feeling in control with a healthy eating and exercise routine. Here are 3 key steps you can take to continue eating healthy while under quarantine.
1. Create Structure with Your Meals
Your meal times and overall routine may be totally thrown off right now. Lack of structure with your meals leads to mindless grazing, overeating, and poor diet choices. When you don’t have a picture in your mind of what you will be eating next (or don’t even know what’s in your pantry!) it’s all too easy to grab anything in sight when hunger strikes. But, when you plan ahead and have regular, balanced meals, you’re setting yourself up for success.
Each night, take a look at what foods you have for the next day. Make a plan for what you’ll have for your meals. You don’t have to necessarily have everything prepared. Simply getting organized and setting it up front and center in your fridge will do the trick. Having an idea of what you’ll have beforehand is half the battle. Then, when it comes time to get your meals together, it is much less daunting and saves tons of time.
Planning ahead is easier when you already have a well-stocked pantry of healthy foods. When you have healthy staples in your pantry – you can whip up delicious, nutritious meals in a pinch. Many times, your environment and surroundings are what determine your food choices and support you in your health goals.
Set a meal schedule
Set a sample schedule for your meals. In this way, you’ll create structure and will be less likely to skip meals. Skipping meals causes your hormones to go out of whack leading to cravings, fatigue, and overeating. This results in feelings of guilt, shame, and bloat that nobody should have to experience!
You don’t have to follow your meal schedule to a tee, but making a rule to eat within an hour of the times you set can get you into a better routine. This will help prevent your blood sugars from going low, which increases your risk of overeating. Following a schedule will assure you don’t skip meals or wait until you’re completely famished to eat. A lack of routine adds to the stress of the quarantine.
2. Limit Trigger Foods in the House
If you have foods that you turn to regularly when stressed, bored, or just because, you can limit those foods in your house right now. The most common trigger foods are bread, pasta, potato chips, cookies, or ice cream. It’s natural right now to keep finding our way back to the kitchen for snacks simply because it’s something to do.
Keep your trigger foods where you won’t easily see them. Then, you’ll need to take a second thought before grabbing them. Store them behind other foods in your pantry or fridge. Keep nutritious snacks like veggies and hummus, fresh fruit, and nuts front and center for when hunger strikes. In this way, the healthier food choices are just as easy to grab and eat than the packaged, processed foods.
Limiting the amount of trigger foods you keep in your house will help control portions. When you want a snack, pre-portion it out and walk away. Eating directly out of the container may tempt you to overeat just because it’s there. Plus, it’s not as enjoyable.
Also, don’t leave the container or bag out on the counter – this may tempt you to grab for more when you may have not otherwise. Put it away so it reminds you that you already have your portion and that is all you need to feel satisfied. Out of sight, out of mind.
3. Exercise Regularly
There is no better time to get into an exercise routine than right now. If you’re anxious, bored, or stressed – exercise can be a lifesaver. Exercise has so many benefits especially relevant right now – such as improving your physical and mental health, relieving stress, and providing a much needed outlet.
And, just because you can’t get to the gym, it doesn’t mean you don’t have workout options. There are plenty of home workouts you can do that are very effective and fun. For example, yoga or cardio videos or going for a walk, run, or bike ride around your neighborhood. Exercise has so many benefits especially relevant right now – such as improving your physical and mental health, relieving stress, and providing a much needed outlet.
Plus, exercise makes you feel great! It helps you to become a more mindful eater and in tune with your body’s hunger signals. Studies show those who exercise regularly are more likely to maintain weight loss long-term. In short, exercise steers you towards healthier food choices.
Eating healthy while under quarantine is certainly possible. You can do this by creating a meal structure, limiting trigger foods in your house, and exercising regularly. This can help you feel more in control of a difficult situation. Instead of letting the pandemic bring you down – take this time to establish a diet and exercise system that works for you. Then, your meal planning routine will be down pat once this is all over.
If you want daily support and positivity during this time – come join the Facebook Group – Quarantine Support – Diet and Exercise!