Last night I had the honour of speaking on the Sinai Health Webinar “Navigating the New Normal”. I had the unique opportunity to share the panel with two physicians from Mount Sinai Hospital, a sleep expert, and a meditation and mental health specialist. If you didn’t have a chance to tune in, I focussed on the topics of diet & nutrition during COVID-19, and I wanted to share a quick recap with you.
To preface, this is a particularly stressful time, especially because working from home means having full access to the kitchen and pantry. You are not alone if you feel like you can’t stop grazing or binging. When it comes to diet and nutrition, I believe in a holistic approach that revolves around creating healthy habits in every aspect of your life.
The following tips may sound obvious, but the key is in the consistency of each.
- SLEEP: When possible focus on 7-8 hours of sleep and make it a non-negotiable. To optimize the best sleep possible, avoid screen time before bed, ensure you keep your room as dark as possible, and make sure your room is not too hot. I actually turn down the temperature in my condo right before I go to bed.
- MORNING ROUTINE: During the week, I like to wake up at the same time everyday and avoid snoozing! I get out of bed, brush my teeth, drink a big glass of water, write down 3 things I am grateful for, and sip on my coffee! A morning routine will look different for everyone, but the key is giving yourself a few minutes to get grounded before your morning grind begins.
- DAILY MOVEMENT: This can look different for everyone, but I aim for at least 20 minutes of movement each day. This can mean going on a walk (make sure you choose an area that doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic!), doing online pilates, or lifting some weights! Bonus points if you are able to get outside, because this is extra helpful for mood.
- STRUCTURED MEALS: If you don’t know where to start I recommend aiming for 3 meals and 1-2 snacks each day. While I think eating intuitively is important, it’s important to implement some structure and routine to develop great habits. If you end up grazing during the day, and binging at night, consider adding more structure and ensure you have a balanced plate at each meal! Set a rough time to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and avoid eating a few hours before bed.
- PLANNING + MEAL PREP: I like to create a grocery list for essentials, and brainstorm meal ideas every Sunday. After a stressful day it can be difficult to think about meal ideas on the fly. Planning ahead is very helpful. When in doubt, I like roasting a bunch of veggies, making energy balls, and hard boiling some eggs to have as staples throughout the week.
- DIET: My rule of thumb has always been having a rainbow on my plate. Focus on real unprocessed foods. I wouldn’t stress about fresh, canned, or frozen. There are benefits of each and you need to do what is cost effective and accessible. Stick to the 3 macronutrients: fat, protein, carbohydrates + make sure to have lots of vegetables and fibre! Here are some options:
- Fat- olive oil, almond butter, nuts & seeds, avocado, coconut, flax, chia seeds
- Protein- chicken, fish, tofu, turkey burgers tempeh, greek yogurt
- Carbohydrates- chickpea pasta, brown rice, roasted sweet potatoes, quinoa, butternut squash
- Veggies- asparagus, rapini, roasted zucchini, kale salad, ( literally any vegetable!)
- DITCH THE GUILT: – This is a stressful time! Please focus on feeling good! There is no such thing as a perfect diet!
- Oatmeal with berries and almond butter
- 2 egg veggie scramble with hot sauce and a slice of toast
- Protein smoothie
- Greek yogurt with berries and chia seeds
- Avocado toast with eggs and sliced tomato
My move is always some type of big salad! Get creative with this and make sure you load it with fibre rich vegetables, protein, and healthy fat! I often will incorporate leftover dinner options!
- Zucchini noodles with turkey meat sauce
- Baked salmon with sweet potato and kale salad
- Salmon burgers with quinoa salad
- Lentil Soup and salad
- Quinoa + greens bowl topped with roasted vegetables, hummus and a lemon vinaigrette
- Sweet potato turkey shepherds pie
- Beef Stew with potatoes and carrots
- Chickpea pasta with broccoli and tomato sauce
- Pesto pasta, chicken breast and sauteed rapini
- Grilled fish tacos
- Asian cauliflower bowl with steak and vegetables
- Veggie burger with butternut squash and salad
- bars (simply, bullet proof, midday squares, low sugar kind bars)
- Healthy energy bites
- Healthy banana bread or muffins
- Crackers with veggies and hummus
- Hard boiled eggs