To say that life in quarantine has been different to our normal routine is a bit of an understatement - does anyone even know what day it is? Here at KUWKF, we have been sharing with each other how we keep healthy, but most importantly happy, during these extraordinary times. Here is our list of our top 7 tips to keep you going at home.
Eating Protein for Energy
Energy is something people can never have enough of, whether it is to keep you going whilst busily working from home, or gives you that extra push to get you out of bed and face the day. Introducing more protein into your diet will give you just that! Protein takes longer than carbohydrates to break down in your body, so it provides a longer lasting energy source.
Quick and easy sources of protein you can have by your computer whilst you work include: fruit and nut mix, tuna, Greek yogurt and egg and mayo sandwich. For something more wholesome, BBC Good Food has plenty of dinner recipes to keep you busy.
2. Eating Fruit and Vegetables
With the current pandemic, now is the right time to be focusing all of your attention into boosting your immune system, and what better way than to fill your body than with our main source of nutrition, fruit and vegetables. Eating more fruit and veg does not necessarily mean chewing a raw carrot - there are so many creative ways you can make a fruit or vegetable more attractive if you find them hard to enjoy.
We recommend this ‘melt in the middle’ aubergine parcel recipe. Smoothies, salads, soups and casseroles are amazing ways of using left-over food that may be going off. If you are off work, planting your own fruit and vegetables could be something to think about, this will save you making trips to the supermarket and a great sense of achievement.
3. Combat Food Cravings
It is so easy to binge eat when you are bored at home. There is nothing more comforting than watching a film with chocolate and sweets, but with being home more than usual, it is easy for this to become an everyday occurrence. To combat food cravings, the easiest thing to do is eat voluminous foods, this is done by prioritising eating larger portions of low in calorie foods, so you will have less space in your stomach for higher calorie foods. This will fill you up and put a stop to those pesky cravings. Honey is a perfect substitute to combat those sweet sugary cravings, whilst you should still enjoy it in moderation, you can put it in your tea instead of sugar, on your fruit and porridge - it is filled with antioxidants and healing properties. If you are craving ice cream, try “Nice-creams” these yummy vegan desserts are sweet but still provide you with nutrients and energy.
4. Foods to Avoid
Following on from our tip on food cravings, it is okay to have some unhealthy snacks (in moderation!), but there are some foods you really should avoid as much as you can. Sugary treats like cupcakes, cakes, doughnuts and cookies increase your blood sugar levels, giving you headaches and sugar rush. The oils and bad fatty acids that crisps are fried in, block the good fatty acids that boost your mood and help your brain function at its best. Something like popcorn or baked fresh potatoes are a good substitute instead of fried and processed crisps. Fried food tastes good while you are consuming it, but eating foods high in trans fatty acids causes your brain to not work to its full potential, fried food also takes hours to digest, so you are looking at hours of feeling sluggish on the sofa.
5. Staying Hydrated
Everyone should be drinking 2 Litres of water every day, this is easily forgotten when routine is thrown out the window. Our bodies use water in its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain other bodily functions, but our body also loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, so it is critical to keep ourselves hydrated. Drinking lots of water also benefits us in other ways, it is good for our skin, keeps us full and boosts our performance during exercise. Some straightforward ways to make sure you are staying hydrated are by eating fruit and vegetables, their high water content will keep you hydrated, a lot of our fluid intake does actually come from food. Another way to get yourself to drink more water is to fill up a big bottle and put it by your computer for the day.
6. Meal Planning
Planning and prepping your meals in advance will keep you motivated to stick to a healthy regime, and stop you from going to cook a quick microwave meal or grab a takeaway after a long day of working or keeping busy. To start, find 5 recipes you like and list the ingredients so you know what to buy, then once you have done your shopping, prep everything and put it in the fridge ready for when you want to cook. There are plenty of other ways to help you do this, for example you can batch cook a big dish like a casserole and freeze it. If you are really too busy to think about what meals to have there are plenty of websites, like Hello Fresh that deliver a range of recipes along with the exact ingredients weekly, so you do not have to take time out of your busy schedule to think about healthy meal planning.
General wellbeing has been affected enormously during these unprecedented times, keeping motivated and upbeat is exhausting. Exercise can act as an escape for people feeling anxious, a way to break up your day, something that actually gets you up and out of bed. Doing exercise releases endorphins, these interact with the brain receptors that reduce your perception of pain, they also trigger a positive feeling in the body that makes you feel exhilarated. There are plenty of home workouts that do not require any equipment on youtube, but also apps and websites like Couch to 5k on the NHS website. If you are missing the gym there are plenty of ways you can make your own weights; filling large empty milk bottles with water to lift or using resistance bands and lifting heavy objects. Alternatively, Joe Wicks is doing live PE lessons on YouTube every morning Monday-Friday at 9AM, perfect to do with your family or the people you live with. Exercise is the perfect activity that makes you feel like you have done something that day, even if it is the only thing you have managed to do, it is all about the small accomplishments.
We would like to highlight that these are only suggestions, and things that we have personally found useful to keeping on top of our routine. Remember to be gentle with yourself, but most importantly safe. Stay inside if you can and keep checking up on your loved ones!