Okay for over a month now we’ve all been dealing with Covid19 which has, of course, changed our lives in every way. One basic way it has affected us is in what we’re eating! As a nurse who teaches about healthy nutrition, I’ve seen how this pandemic has negatively impacted the diet of some people.
Stress and time pressures have pushed some Americans towards more processed foods and too much eating. Being home with free range to the kitchen can lead to weight gain, as many expanding waistlines are showing.
If you’re worried about your job, housing or facing potential health concerns, focusing on better nutrition might seem too much to ask. Likewise, it might seem unrealistic to expect harried parents, struggling to now homeschool their children on top of all their other demands, to whip up 3 healthy meals for their hungry kids on a daily basis.
Some might wonder if focusing on eating better during a pandemic is worth the extra effort. The answer is a definite YES !
A healthy diet filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans has been shown to:
- Help you deal with stress
- Promote your immune system
- Minimize your risk of chronic health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart and lung disease which make you more vulnerable to Covid19 hospitalizations and deaths
- Support your efforts to lose pounds or maintain a healthy weight
On a positive note, for some, spending more time has led many to rediscover their kitchens. And limited grocery shopping opportunities are prompting cooks towards more deliberate meal planning, which translates into healthier meals. For those who previously relied more on processed foods with high fat, salt and sugar and low nutrient contents, home cooking can provide significant health benefits.
For reluctant cooks who don’t, can’t, or don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen, there are lots of smart strategies to minimize cooking time. Big batch cooking, using appliances like slow cookers or Instant Pots, creating family do-it-yourself meals (grain bowls, potato bars)– these are just a few of the many tricks smart cooks use to minimize cooking time and share the work.
There’s no doubt that Covid19 presents us all with new challenges, but it also creates opportunities. I encourage you to embrace this time to discover or rediscover your inner cook who will help promote your health– so you can better meet those challenges.
This is a guest post by Joan Davis, RN, MS. She is an experienced Nurse/Educator with over 20 years of experience developing and presenting programs for corporate, community and cruise audiences.
Want to learn more? Joan’s course “Successfully Weathering this Pandemic – and the Next” is part of the Premier Speakers Series. Click here for more information.