Nuts are in, biscuits are out: Maintain a healthy diet during isolation

Apr 06, 2020
Fish is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Source: Getty.

It’s hard enough to eat healthfully on a day-to-day basis, but in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s more important than ever to eat well, especially for those with an underlying heart condition.

Healthy eating is an important part of looking after your heart, and a good way to boost your immune system, Julie Anne Mitchell from the Heart Foundation says. She recommends filling your plate with veggies, fruits, and whole grains, as well as some healthy proteins like fish, legumes, or a small portion of chicken or eggs. You can limit added sugars by opting for unflavoured varieties of milk, yoghurt, and cheese to limit added sugars.

Not sure where to start? Follow these guidelines set out by the Heart Foundation to maintain healthy eating habits if you’re stuck indoors in self-isolation.

Be prepared

Thinking ahead and planning meals helps to ensure you’re eating healthy meals all day long — and the best part is, it could also help you save some cash too.

“Stocking up on a few extra staples is sensible, but there is no need to hoard as supermarkets will stay open during the Covid-19 lockdown,” the organisation said.

Opt for fresh, canned and frozen veggies

“Canned vegetables, beans or fruits have an extra shelf life, so they are perfect for your pantry,” the organisation said.

And as it turns out, frozen or canned veggies can be just as healthy as fresh options. When it comes to canned vegetables, look for “reduced salt” or “no added salt” on the label, the Heart Foundation advises. For canned fruit, choose the ones packed in juice instead of sugary syrup.

Choose heart-healthy proteins

Fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which are said to lower blood pressure and reduce blood clotting and irregular heartbeats.

“If you can’t get fresh fish, choose canned salmon or tuna in spring water rather than salty brine,” the organisation said, adding that lean protein such as eggs is another good option.

If you eat red meat, the Heart Foundation recommends limiting your serving size to less than 350 grams per week and choosing the leanest cuts available.

Set up a meal routine

Avoid unnecessary snacking by establishing a routine. If you’re feeling a little peckish, the Heart Foundation suggests snacking on a handful of nuts, veggie sticks or a small plate of fruit rather than biscuits or chips.

“While these unhealthy snacks can be an occasional treat, try to avoid stocking them in your pantry in the first place.”

Brush up on your cooking skills

Stuck at home with nothing to do? This is the perfect time to brush up on your cooking skills. Add twists to your old favourites or try a new recipe. Get creative in the kitchen and use this time to channel your inner master chef.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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