Diet tips: Here's how to eat right during the COVID-19 lockdown
During these days of lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak, most of us have several areas of concern. We need to figure out 'how to eat’ in order to keep our immunity intact, how to manage healthy meals with limited ingredients on hand, how to cook when some of us may not be very experienced cooks and also how to be disciplined about our diet and health goals.
The idea that I want to encourage you to adopt is to SIMPLIFY. Here are some of the questions you need to focus on during the lockdown period...
- What you eat
- How you cook
- How you think about ingredients
- When you eat
- How many times you eat
Where do you begin?
The goal is to plan your meals and simplify your cooking and minimise ingredients. Focus on foods that will ensure that your health and immunity are enhanced.
Here are some principles that you can follow...
‘Time Restricted’ Eating
According to the concept of ‘Time Restricted eating’, on most days (at least 5 days a week), eat within an 8-12 hour window and fast for the rest.
This would mean that you have a 12-16 hour gap between your dinner and breakfast the next morning depending on which fasting time frame works best for you.
There are several benefits of doing this, in today’s scenario. Digestion is an energy consuming activity. When we eat, the body has to dedicate several resources towards digesting our food. Having a longer gap between dinner and breakfast helps the body optimise the recovery, cleansing and that, in turn, strengthens immunity.
I am sharing a few meal plans that you can follow and customise according to your schedule and lifestyle...
To simplify meals, it would be good to opt for a one pot meal that is easy to prepare and easy to clean up afterwards.
Khichdi is rich in healthy lentils and greens
I really enjoy making khichdi, which you can make using simple pantry staples, vegetables and some spices. Nutritionally, it is a complete meal. It is also easy to digest and cook.
When you opt for a one pot meal, you can create great flavours with a broad spectrum of nutritive choices.
Focus on condiments
Make simple dressings that are healthy and delicious
Another way that you can simplify your meals, is by making simple condiments, like chutneys or dips or dressings. This will stay for a week and can be put together by blending everything in your mixie. These condiments will add a huge nutrition boost and flavour to your meals.
You could also use herbs and spices that are rich in anti-microbial properties in your dishes like garlic, ginger etc. Mint chutney and peanut-sesame chutney, for instance, can really boost the micronutrients in your meal!
Add some tempering
Tempering is an important step in Indian cooking
The under-appreciated method of adding immunity boosters to every meal, is through tadka or tempering, which is an important step in most Indian dishes. Spices like jeera, fennel, kalonji, hing are excellent for digestion and gut health, apart from being mineral-rich. They really enhance the nutritive quotient of each meal.
Sip on herbal teas
Herbal teas are true supplements for immunity. I have shared a recipe, but it can be customised. Even one or two of these ingredients, steeped in hot water is great! Just make this tea once a day for the whole family.
A recipe for a tea that can build immunity
Make uncomplicated snacks
Snacks should be simple and light
When it comes to snacks, opt for simple and uncomplicated recipes like roasted nuts, apple with peanut butter or homemade popcorn. These are super easy to make. If you do not plan your snacks, it could result in mindless snacking on packaged foods like biscuits or namkeen.
Desserts should be healthy
Desserts, when healthy and simple, are the best! It is important to create small moments of fun and pleasure with uplifting and healthy food and your best option would be more fruit-based desserts. It is healthier to use jaggery as a sweetener.
A recipe for Fruit cream dessert
I love this recipe idea that I have shared above that is made of cashews and dates. The sweet cream is both decadent and satisfying, and healthy too.