Eating healthy during quarantine

Mary Free Bed dietitians provide healthy tips
Posted at 5:38 AM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 10:34:45-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — People may find themselves more inclined to eat emotionally during these unprecedented times. While we shouldn't be too hard on ourselves right now, we also don't want to throw all the rules out the window, because this is the time to stay as healthy as possible.

Jesse Holden, a registered dietitian with Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids, urges clients to live by the saying, "Organize, don't agonize," which means keeping a schedule as normal as possible right now: Try to wake up and eat around the same time every day like we used to before the pandemic changed our daily routines. This will help take some of the guesswork out of planning out the day.

Holden also emphasized the importance of eating fresh fruit and vegetables. Good news: canned and frozen varieties are just as nutritious. Holden suggested aiming for lower sodium or 100% real juice cans and cups, or rinse the canned produce to wash excess salt and sugar away.

"Fruits and vegetables, even if that's canned or frozen, is definitely going to help you continue to get a lot of antioxidants in," Holden explained. "You're able to get some berries, get some oranges, bell peppers are all really high in vitamin C. Those things can help keep our immune system healthy. But, more importantly, keep getting in that fiber and those whole grains. If we're all sitting a lot more, not being at work. Our digestive system might not be moving as much, so it's important to still keep our fiber intake up."

When it comes to emotional eating, Holden said it's hard to stop cold turkey. She suggested taking the snacks out of the bag or box so that the portion is visible.

There are even ways to make take-out meals more healthy, such as swap a side for a veggie, or adding a salad with that pizza.