Your Health

Healthy Eating and Savvy Shopping in Lockdown

Healthy eating can be more important than ever in lockdown

We’ve all experienced significant changes to our daily lifestyle in recent weeks, with many of us living in lockdown or working from home across the UK.


Everyone is trying to adapt to an ever-changing “new normal”. However, the key principles of good health have not changed at all; eat healthy food, move or exercise daily, get adequate sleep, avoid stress, and make time for fun and relaxation. But all of this can be easier said than done under present circumstances.


Of course, healthy eating has always been important, but now there’s even more reason to keep your body in peak health to help fight off any possible immune challenges.


For most people, and especially families, the key question is how do we manage our health while staying at home and when pretty much everything apart from supermarkets is closed?


Key tips for healthy eating during lockdown

Plan your meals ahead


Ideally, try and plan your meals for two weeks at a time, factoring in three meals a day and optional snacks. This may seem like a challenge, but it will save you a lot of time and worry in the long run – you can create your food shopping list from this, you’ll only need to buy food once every two weeks, and you’ll have peace of mind that you’ve got food on hand for the next fortnight.


You can involve the family, too. Sit around the table and discuss everyone’s favourite food and dishes. Ask the kids if they’d like to help you cook or make a dish themselves? This is a great opportunity to spend time with the kids, school them on nutrition and make some fun dishes together.


Find a ‘new-normal’ eating schedule


Being stuck in the house all day can lead to grazing and overeating or snacking on foods that aren’t going to supply you with nutrients you need. Developing a schedule for your meals and snacks can help; it’s easier to delay the urge to eat from boredom or anxiety when you know you’ve got a snack planned in 45 minutes.


meal planning should be a key part of eating healthily in lockdown


Keep it simple and practical


You’re not running a 5-star hotel! Start with the main meals and just fill your menu chart with healthy meals that you enjoy. It doesn’t need to be complicated. For example, make Monday chilli night, Tuesday salmon night and so on, and pair each main with sides; perhaps a small serving of starch such as a sweet potato with two servings of vegetables, or just a large salad and veggies.


Fill up on protein


Include protein at each meal; protein is essential for immune health and will also keep your blood sugar more evenly balanced, helping you to stay satisfied and prevent cravings and frequent snacking. Remember, plant protein is a good source of protein, so try to include some healthy vegetarian meals too.



Variety is the spice of life


Look for different ways to prepare your meals. For example, if you typically have chicken on Tuesdays, instead of your usual chicken tacos, try making a chicken curry, chicken stir fry or even a cold chicken salad with citrus fruit. There are so many different ways to flavour baked chicken and fish to mix it up, so try out different sauces, herbs and spices.


Eat together as a family


Use the unexpected time at home as an opportunity to reconnect and make family meals a regular routine. Involve your kids in tasks like setting the table so they can feel like a part of the process.


Be mindful of new habits


Habits you develop now may last long after the pandemic is over. As we settle into an extended period of social distancing, we all need to figure out sustainable strategies for eating well.


Smoothies = lifesaver!


When you don’t have time or the inclination to prepare a meal, make a protein shake and throw in some super foods such as blueberries and spinach. Freeze smaller servings and use as ice cream substitute.


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Don’t forget fibre


Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, selecting lots of different colours for a variety of vitamins and antioxidants. If you can’t get what you want in the fresh produce aisle, it’s okay to buy frozen. Opt for sustainably and organically grown frozen fruits and vegetables since they retain vitamin C and other phytochemicals.


Have a set place to eat


This can be really important for maintaining boundaries. If you eat on the sofa or in bed, you wind up associating those places with the act of eating, and in the future, being in bed or on the sofa may prompt you to want food.


Food shopping during the pandemic


With millions of Brits staying home under lockdown, many supermarkets are now offering delivery.


If you do go to the supermarket, always wear a mask, practise social distancing, and carry hand wipes or hand sanitiser, only touch what you buy, don’t use cash, and wash your hands the minute you get home and again after you’ve unpacked and wiped down your groceries. Avoid touching your mask and face while shopping and driving home.


Try to only buy what’s on your list. Make swaps and pick the closest alternative if the supermarket is out of something on your list. With some items, you might want to buy in bulk for more than two weeks; for example, if you plan buy organic brown rice, you might want to buy a large bag of the rice as small packets can be more expensive.


As well as eating well and shopping safely, it’s also important to stay active during this time. Discover our tips on keeping your mind and body active at home.


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Garden of Life

Garden of Life

Writer and expert