Looking back at New Zealand’s COVID-19 2020 lockdown, it was proven that stress and lockdown boredom lead Kiwis to reach for junk food and alcohol more often than they usually would.
The Covid Kai Survey showed that despite more home cooking, there was an overall shift toward an unhealthy dietary pattern, with an increased consumption of sweet snacks (41%), salty snacks (33%), alcohol (33%), and sugary drinks (20%).
To help you manage your eating habits during the current lockdown, we spoke to Dietitian and HelloFresh’s Director of Culinary, Hannah Gilbert, to grab five easy tips to work into your lockdown eating routine:
Tip one: Create a meal plan
At the start of the week or ahead of each day take a moment to think about what ingredients you have at home and what meals you can pull together.
Create a meal plan outlining what you will have for breakfast, lunch and dinner and do your best to stick to it.
When people are hungry and don’t know what to eat, the risk of heading to the pantry for a bag of chips or sweet snack is too great.
“It can be difficult to plan ahead during lockdown as people often don’t know what will be available or in stock at the supermarket. When you know what ingredients you’re working with, create a realistic plan and prep for the week ahead. If it’s possible to get hold of fresh produce, do so, and use this to cook large batches of soups, stews or other dishes that last a long time and provide meal options for a few days. This ensures meals are simple, yet tasty and nutritious,” says Gilbert.
Tip two: Stick to a routine
It’s been said before and we’ll say it again – maintaining a daily routine is key to keeping you positive and healthy during lockdown.
Try allocating time for meal breaks based on your normal regular eating routine.
If you typically have three main meals a day then stick to it, or if you typically have smaller meals then continue this.
This will help keep your body and mind happy while avoiding slipping into bad eating habits.
Tip three: Reduce your meat intake
Many Kiwis will have experienced the lack of meat on the supermarket shelves during lockdown.
Although this might throw you off at first it’s actually a great chance to reduce your meat intake and see how you feel.
Reduced meat intake is a good way to increase other beneficial foods such as vegetables, nuts, grains and dairy. An added bonus, it also helps reduce your carbon footprint.
Tip four: Opt for healthy snacks
Swap those sugary or savoury snacks for healthy alternatives, it’s simple yet so effective.
Snacking doesn’t need to be a bad or unhealthy habit, it just depends on what you’re snacking on.
For example, try to swap the chips and chocolate for vegetable sticks with hummus, wholegrain crackers or fresh fruit.
Tip five: Get creative
If you have more time on your plate this lockdown then take this opportunity to get creative with what you eat.
Reach for a recipe book and try out some healthy dishes using fresh produce and seasonal veggies.
You never know, you might surprise yourself.
“A balanced meal doesn’t mean lack of flavour, so experiment with your favourite ingredients where possible. If you’re lacking inspiration have a look at the HelloFresh recipe archive where you can find a wealth of recipes to choose from, including carb smart recipes. Always remember, a nutritious meal doesn’t need to be boring,” says Gilbert.