In times of social distancing (and maybe too much time spent at home), you may be finding yourself turning to the fridge or pantry more often, or making less healthy food choices than you normally do. Sound like you? Try challenging yourself to implement one of these healthy tips every day for the next 30 days with the aim of helping you feel better and eat better! Invite your friends and families to join for a little bit of friendly competition!
Meditate or pray. Take a few minutes out of your day—away from noise and distractions—to focus on your breathing and clear your thoughts.
Drink your water. Dehydration can be a common cause of overeating - oftentimes, we think we’re hungry when we’re actually just thirsty! Carry a bottle of water with you everywhere you go (even if you are home all day). This will make you more likely to drink it.
Video or voice call a friend. Social distancing should not mean ignoring your social circle. Make time for your loved ones.
Clean your environment. An organized space = an organized mind! Sound overwhelming? Try approaching it one room at a time.
Go outside. Depending on where you live and what your local requirements look like, this could mean going on a walk, run, bike ride, or just sitting on your balcony or in your backyard to get some fresh air. Rain or shine, being outdoors can help you feel better mentally and physically.
Pay attention to what you’re adding to your cup. If you’re a regular coffee or tea drinker, pay attention to the amount of sugar or cream that you’re adding. If you’re having more than one sweetened coffee/tea per day, try reducing the sugar you add or swapping milk for cream.
Create a meal plan. Creating a meal plan (or signing up for a meal plan program!) can help you stay on-track with your healthy eating. Search online or look through your cookbooks to find tasty meals that you can make for the upcoming week.
Create a shopping list. Use whatever method works best for you to write down the items you need to buy as soon as they come to mind. This practice saves time, money and prevents food waste. It also helps dodge impulse buying!
Read nutrition labels. Look for foods that are rich in healthy nutrients, like fibre, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, and low in unhealthy nutrients like added sugars. Use this information to choose healthier products the next time you go shopping.
Replace your go-to sugar-sweetened beverage with a soothing tea, water with citrus slices, or sparkling water. Sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda, sweetened coffees or energy drinks can add excess unnecessary sugar and calories.
Try buying a vegetable that you’ve never tried before. Get creative next time you’re at the grocery store and look up a recipe to experiment with your new veggie!
Get ready for bed early. Try and establish a bedtime routine to help your body and brain relax to help you sleep. This might mean taking a warm bath, drinking tea or reading a book for 30 minutes before you go to sleep.
Maintain a regular sleeping schedule. Try and go to bed and wake up at consistent times each day. This will help your body regulate your hunger cues and will help to ensure that you get adequate rest each night.
Focus on fibre. Increasing your fibre intake can help to keep you full for longer, in addition to keeping your digestive system working well! Add one fibre rich food, like vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, chickpeas, chia seeds etc. to your daily routine.
Cook instead of ordering in. Try cooking if you frequently have restaurant food delivered to you. At-home cooking can be a great bonding experience for you and your family.
Listen to your hunger cues. Ask yourself - am I eating because I am truly hungry or am I just bored, sad, emotional, etc.
Fill half your plate with colourful vegetables at lunch and dinner to ensure you’re getting lots of fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Eat slowly and stop eating when you are satisfied. Listening to your hunger cues can stop you from over or undereating.
Try reaching for a fruit or vegetable instead of processed foods or sweets. For example, cutting up veggies and eating them with a dip during a movie instead of chips, or eating a banana with peanut butter instead of dessert.
Replace refined grains (white bread, white rice, etc.) with high-fibre options. For instance, choose brown rice for your soup instead of white rice, or whole grain bread instead of white.
Eat with company. Call a friend or family member and have a virtual meal with your loved ones!
Choose ‘healthy’ fats. Cook with heart healthy unsaturated fats like olive or avocado oil and choose a handful of nuts or seeds for a healthy snack.
Stay mindful of sodium. Foods like vegetable broth, packaged soups or salty snacks can be high in sodium. Over time, too much sodium can be bad for your health. Try swapping for reduced sodium options - substitute some broth for water or choose a lower sodium option at the grocery store.
Exercise. Find a workout that suits you and your needs. This should be something you find fulfilling, that you actually want to do.
Eat at least one orange vegetable. Orange veggies (like sweet potatoes, carrots or bell peppers) contain beta-carotene which is good for preventing disease.
Eat at least one green vegetable. Leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc.) can be very versatile. Throw them into a smoothie for added nutrition, or put it in a sandwich, wrap or salad.
Try baking or roasting foods instead of frying to reduce the use of unhealthy fats and calories.
Stay mindful of protein portions. Many people eat more protein than they need. Try to give yourself enough room for your vegetables and other nutritious foods as well. For most people, protein foods should only take up about ¼ of your plate.
Stay mindful of your portions by eating from a smaller plate or bowl. Sometimes our eyes are hungrier than our stomachs. On the other hand, if you are trying to eat more, use a larger plate or bowl.
Be kind to yourself; practice self-compassion. Understand that no one has a perfect diet and lifestyle. Remind yourself that without mistakes there cannot be growth.