With the Covid-19 pandemic restricting one's day-to-day movement outdoors, it is extremely crucial to set a routine and structure yourself at home. The current situation of lockdown which is here to stay for the next couple of weeks combined with the lack of physical activity and binge-eating is going to have some serious consequences on our health however it's not too late to get things in order.
Aside from isolation and social-distancing, keeping a check on your diet is one of the biggest challenges when you work from home.
Attending a conference call from home can lead to two things: You've either wandered your way into the kitchen and snacked on an entire bag of chips, or forgotten to eat all along, and end up over-eating a bag full of chips.
Either way, you've consumed an entire packet of chips. One of the biggest challenges you face when you are working from home is keeping one's nutrition in check. There is easy access to the refrigerator and plenty of food available. And unlike in the office, you're free to graze all day. But this habit can wreak havoc on your waistline, deteriorate your metabolism and have a negative effect on your overall health.
Thus, the real social-distancing that one needs to maintain is with the refrigerator and isolation needs to be from junk food.
Nutritionist Pooja Makhija is here to help you with some tips to ensure your health is monitored and your diet is not derailed during this home-stay.
1. Keep Hydrating
One often tends to forget sipping on water especially when you have your caffeine mugs at your disposable. It is extremely essential to complete your 8-12 glasses intake of water daily. Being hydrated also acts as a barrier to potential unnecessary snacking cause most of us often confuse thirst with hunger. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and affect your productivity. Best way to keep a monitor on your water intake is by setting hourly reminders on your phone or setting a target to complete a jug of water by EOD just like your work tasks.
2. Keep a caffeine check
Try to be mindful of how much caffeine you're consuming and when, as drinking it too late can affect your sleep cycle. Having access to endless cups of coffee might seem like a great idea, but too much caffeine can cause digestive issues namely more acidity and gas, anxiety and headaches. Try and stick to 2 cups of coffee, and avoid excess creamers and sugar. If you need your sweetness dose, try and switch to a stevia-based low calorie sweetener and substitute it for your regular sugar. This helps in weight management and helps reduce your calorie-intake.
3. Plan your meal times
Since we are currently not working according to a scheduled time zone, it is important to not skip any meals. Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day and ensuring your breakfast is healthy is essential. Repurpose your 30 minute commute time by preparing a healthy and sufficient breakfast meal filled with oats, fruits, protein and rich in fibre foods. Schedule all your other meals as well, be it lunch, dinner or even your evening snack break. Pay attention to your hunger signs and realize that not eating on time can affect your alertness and productivity. Also if you don't eat the right food at the right time, you are more likely to eat the wrong food, especially at the wrong time.
4. Clear the clutter
Trigger foods like junk and chocolate that tempt you to snack or over-indulge should be cleared from the cupboards. In an office full of people around, it's a lot easier to eat one biscuit but when you're working from home, finishing an entire packet of biscuit isn't too difficult. Stock up your pantry with healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, dry fruits, rich in fibre foods, healthy fats, etc and replace your regular sugar for stevia-based low calorie sweeteners.
5. Do not eat at your desk
You might be tempted to continue working through your lunch break especially while working from home. Don't do it. It can lead to distractions and lead to over-eating and decreased satiety from the meal. Instead, get up and enjoy your meal properly. This will enable a balanced meal, proper chewing and avoid excess-eating. If you're a chronic snacker, replace the chips with healthy options such as fruits, walnuts, olives, chopped carrots, stuffed dates, protein bars, etc.
Self-isolation during a pandemic is a lot more different than casually working from home. It's all about adapting to these emotional weeks and taking life in stride. You want to come out of this period healthier, stronger and fitter. The next couple of weeks are crucial to realise, reorganise and rediscover your body and build a great immunity system. Be more mindful of your food choices and conscious of your intake. Lastly, keep sanitising!
About the author: Pooja Makhija is a well-known nutritionist, clinical dietitian and author.
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