5 Lazy Dietary Habits (and how to turn them around)

5 Lazy Dietary Habits (and how to turn them around)
5 Lazy Dietary Habits (and how to turn them around)

We get it – it’s still winter, and you’re still spending a lot of time at home (due to lockdown), with your fridge and snack cupboard in easy reach. So it’s likely that you’ve let your healthy eating slide a bit, but that’s okay. Luckily we spoke to a dietician and rounded up some quick and easy tips that should inspire you to make a few small changes to your diet – but which will make a big difference to your health.

Shelly Bowien, Registered Dietitian at Alex Royal Dietetics gave us the following great advice:

  1. Snack healthily

It’s so easy to grab a bag of chips or bar of chocolate when you’re bored or peckish in the house and haven’t had time to prepare healthy snacks. Or, you may think that snacking on a lot of fruit (which is actually very high in sugar), is the healthy choice? Ideally, Shelly says that you should be filling up on vegetable-based snacks, which help you to control the calories and also keep your blood sugar quite level. Make your own hummus with tahini, garlic, chickpeas and lemons and then dip carrots, cucumbers and other crisp veggies into it.

  1. Do your meal prep

Preparing and planning your meals properly helps with food wastage and managing your budget, but mostly ensures that you eat healthy and delicious meals in the week ahead. On a Saturday or Sunday, sit down and plan at least your main meals for each day in the upcoming week.

A weekly menu could include:

  • Monday: Chicken and vegetable soup
  • Tuesday: Shakshuka
  • Wednesday: Grilled fish and veggies
  • Thursday: Chickpea and spinach curry
  • Friday: Vegetable stir fry

Write down all the ingredients you’ll need, head to the shops, chop, peel and rinse all your vegetables and store them ready in glass containers.

Vegetables that last long in the fridge include: carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, beetroot, green beans, baby marrows, onions, garlic, ginger, and kimchi (among others).

  1. Prioritise your meals

Sometimes it’s just a bit of a mind shift – make sure that you’re prioritising yourself and placing more importance on your meal times.

Routine and an eating schedule is very important, especially when people are working from home like they are now. Just because you’re at home all the time, doesn’t mean that you should fall out of your meal routine! When you forget to eat or eat at random times, you could end up being too hungry at the end of the day and then binging on things that you shouldn’t be. Also ensure that you adopt mindful eating habits –listen to your body’s hunger and satiety cues while you’re eating, don’t watch TV or sit on your phone during meals, and try eat more slowly, as well as take deep breaths between each bite.

  1. Are you eating emotionally?

Be kind to yourself and forgive yourself quickly if you have an unhealthy day. Always keep your personal goals in mind, and try not to compare yourself to other people (especially what you see on Instagram – a lot of that isn’t real!). Set small and achievable goals for yourself and then journal these by writing them down. This may help you identify why you’re eating emotionally and what your specific triggers are.

Also, make sure that you have no nutritional deficiencies such as Vitamin B12, Vitamin D or your iron levels. Low levels of these could call contribute to anxiety, depression and emotional eating. If you are suffering with a mental health issue, some medical aids like Fedhealth have mental health programmes which can provide the right support.

  1. Baking is fun during lockdown but…

A lot of people have been baking all sorts of unhealthy treat and snacks over this time and we understand why – we all need a bit of comfort. But as we continue to spend so much time at home, perhaps now’s the time to experiment with some healthier desserts? Here are some easy swaps to try, next time your sweet tooth rears its head:

  • Milk chocolateà dark chocolate (70%)
  • Sugar à bananas and dates
  • White flour à raw oats
  • Oil à unsweetened apple sauce
  • Apple tart à baked apples
  • Cake à fruit kebabs and dark chocolate
  • Cheesecake à chia pudding

Our health has never been more important than it is now. Think of food as fuel, and start to prioritise what you and your family eat, as you turn lazy dietary habits into healthy ones.