Making Healthy Eating A Priority During the COVID 19 Pandemic
Paulette Lambert, R.D, C.D.E
Covid 19 is affecting every aspect of our lives. It comes with warranted anxiety over so many things; our loved ones’ health, our own health, work, the economy, kids at home needing to be schooled, lack of social activities, how we now shop and eat, all being dictated by the pandemic.
It is so easy to let the anxiety take over and use food to cope but when this is over, you are going to be much happier that you didn’t give in to it totally. A more positive approach is to get into the mindset of guarding your health in every way possible. It goes beyond the hand-washing and social distancing. It’s a focus to make your body as strong as it can be through diet and exercise.
Eating healthy can make a difference in your immunity to disease. While research does not show how diet affects Covid-19 specifically, it does show that a healthy diet can strengthen your body’s defense to flu-like respiratory infections. Past studies also show that exercise boosts immunity as well. For example, even in those that are HIV positive, if they exercise, it greatly increases their ability to stay in remission.
I wanted to share with you some tips for improving your immunity and strength:
Increase your vegetable and fruit intake.
The vitamins and antioxidants present in plants help fight off infection and inflammation. Daily intake should include 2-3 cups of raw greens (salad), 1 cup cooked vegetables (increase to 2 cups if no greens) and 3 pieces of fruit. Volume and variety ensure you get the needed nutrients to boost immunity. Supplements do not provide for all the needed antioxidants. Frozen fruits and vegetables have the same nutritional value as fresh and it may be good idea to keep some on hand just in case getting fresh produce proves difficult.
Yogurt is a great source of probiotics that improve the guts microbes, therefore improving immunity. Go for the nonfat Greek variety for added protein as well.
Consume regular meals.
Studies show that those that eat 3 structured meals a day have less obesity and better overall health. Focus on balance, each meal should have a protein source, a healthy carbohydrate, and vegetable/fruit serving.
Keep the indulgences limited.
Whether it’s a glass of wine or sweet treat, keep it to a couple times a week. Freeze extra treats so it’s not so easy to overindulge. Limit what gets in your grocery cart, as availability is a big part of the problem of overindulging.
For many of us our normal lifestyle is fast and hectic, often we do not have much time to focus on taking good care of ourselves. Use this quiet time to focus on healthy self-care, to establish eating and exercise routines. For those that often don’t prepare meals at home, add a frozen veggie to your takeout, spend time in the kitchen learning how to roast vegetables, make a healthy soup, or pan sear/oven roast a piece of salmon. Maybe do that morning walk for a couple miles or take that online yoga class for the first time.
Covid 19 will be over, let yourself emerge stronger and healthier than ever. I have included a recipe to account for that sweet treat that you may be looking for.
Stay safe and well,
LEMON PUDDING CAKE WITH FRESH BLACKBERRIES
Organic canola oil cooking spray
¾ cup sugar
⅓ cup flour
3 large eggs, separated
2 Tbsp. no trans fat margarine, room temperature
1 cup fat-free half and half
2 tsp. lemon zest
5 Tbsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp. salt
3 cups mixed fresh berries
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
3 cups fresh blackberries
Fresh mint, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Spray six oven-proof (6 ounce) ramekins with non-stick spray.
3. In medium bowl, whisk sugar and flour together. Set aside.
4. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with room temperature margarine. Add fat-free half and half, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
6. In medium bowl, beat egg whites with salt until firm peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into the lemon mixture. Do not over beat.
7. Place ramekins in baking dish; fill baking dish half way up with water. Fill each ramekin ¾ full with pudding mixture. Place dish in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until each cake is puffy and golden.
8. Use tongs to carefully remove each ramekin from baking dish. Cool cakes for 20 minutes. Dust each pudding cake with powdered sugar.
9. To serve; place each ramekin on plate with ½ cup berries, garnish with mint.
Note: If you do not have individual ramekins, you can use a large muffin tin. Run a knife along the edges to make removing easier when cool.
Calories per serving: 220
Calorie equivalent: 1 oz. protein, 1 carbohydrate, ½ fruit