Healthy Eating Tips During COVID
Wondering how to change your eating habits to have the right balanced diet during COVID-19? Here are some healthy eating tips to keep in mind while we are stuck inside.
Eat to Boost Your Immune System
A strong immune system will not protect you from contracting COVID-19. And it won't cure you if you get the coronavirus. But a strong immune system is one of the best defenses against pathogens of all kinds.
Choose the right vegetables. This may sound like a no-brainer, but you'll want more vegetables in your diet. And those vegetables should be the ones that best help to boost your immune system. While most people turn to citrus fruits for a dose of Vitamin C, bell peppers (red and green) are an even better source, with the wonderful antioxidant beta carotene. Broccoli is one of the best veggies to turbo-charge your immune system, full of Vitamin A, C, and E. Some great vegetable sources of vital vitamins such as A and C include sweet potatoes, carrots, and spinach, plus other great leafy greens such as kale and Swiss chard.
Choose fruits beyond citrus. Yes, Vitamin C is vital and you can find plenty of it in nearly all citrus fruits—oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and the like. But blueberries, fantastic in homemade jam, are rich in antioxidants and antioxidant-like flavonoids. Pears also have powerful flavonoids in addition to Vitamin C, while apple skins can give you an immune-boosting dose of the flavonoid quercetin. And don't forget about avocados (yes, they are fruits and not vegetables) for Vitamins A, C, and E.
Switch to Healthier Snacks
There's a pretty good chance if you're hanging around the house more, you're going to snack more. And, yes, calories still count when the fridge is open. So, ditch the potato chips and clear the cookies out of the cupboard. Instead, stock up on mixed nuts, a good source of fiber, protein, and healthy fat. Unsweetened yogurt with strawberries can compete with just about any sugary snack. Celery with cream cheese is a great low-carb snack, and while peanut butter is high in calories, spread over apples it gives you a tasty treat with antioxidants and lots of fiber.
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Find Alternatives to Processed Food
Walk down almost any supermarket aisle and you're bound to be surrounded by highly processed foods. They're convenient and they tantalize taste buds with plenty of salt, fat, and sugar. But instead of cereal consider oatmeal, a healthier option you might even enjoy more if you mix in some peaches and pecans. Salads are great—the problem lies in the dressings, as store-bought dressings often have ingredients like Xanthan Gum and Monosodium Glutamate. From apple cider vinegar to Greek yogurt, there are lots of ways to make healthy homemade dressings.
Many of us may have once believed that margarine was a healthy alternative to butter, but margarine is usually loaded with unhealthy trans fats. And we should probably talk about your beloved bread, as all bread is heavily processed. If you're not willing to say goodbye to bread, sprouted whole grain is the best option.
Spices and Herbs to Save the Day!
Let's face it, we crave foods that are bad for us because they taste so good. Crunching into a carrot and chomping down on a juicy burger from your favorite diner or drive-in aren't even in the same universe. But healthy eating doesn't mean you have to sacrifice flavor if you've got the right seasonings and spice blends, many of which actually have some awesome health benefits.
Who doesn't love the sweet taste of cinnamon? It's delicious when sprinkled over fruit and yogurt and cinnamon has been shown to lower one's cholesterol. Cayenne pepper can add zest to a host of dishes and contains capsaicin—the compound that gives it its sting and helps to decrease appetite and increase fat burning. With anti-inflammatory properties, ginger can help you make lots of delicious dishes.
Make Sure You're Eating Enough Calories
Sure, the phrase "calorie counter" has a negative connotation. But you should have a good general idea of the number of calories you take in each day. You may have heard that 2,000 calories per day is the norm. But one size does not fit all when it comes to calories. An online calorie calculator can you get in the right neighborhood of the number of calories you need each day.
Written by William McCleary for Knockaround.