2020, it's been a slice. Of humble pie.
I'm certain you're among hundreds of thousands of people who feel exasperation about SOMETHING, whether it be the never-ending flood of misinformation or "bad news" (however you define it) on media, the blasted cold weather snaps, lack of resources like time or money due to the pandemic, lack of social connection with your usual circle, and the like. It's bringing humanity to a place where we either respond in confusion, anger, or other negative emotion and the worst of us comes out in acts of self-preservation, OR we choose the higher road and act compassionately and humbly toward others, knowing we all have a difficult thing to go through at one point or another.
I wonder, as a Dietitian, how all of this has impacted the world's nutritional health. I worry about food shortages in various parts of the world, and I fret over the amount of stress we're experiencing as a whole and it's role in the chronic disease risk of the general public. I wonder about you, personally, and whether you've been able to keep your head above water and support your own and your family's health by the food choices you've been making.
The story with many of my current clients is that food may be the one outlet they have right now to derive comfort from. Perhaps they have very little time between schooling kids at home, working from home, and attending social distance-appropriate activities that now take a little more time to prepare for. They eat out and order take-out food a lot more because it's the only appropriate outdoor activity to do, aside from being physically active (yes, hard to do in cold weather!). And perhaps the stress and instability of today's world is driving their impulses to eat out of stress, boredom, food availability, or negative emotion WAY higher than normal. I'll confess, it sure has been a challenge even for me, who has all the health-supportive information at her fingertips!
Here are TEN ways I inspired healthy choices during the stay-at-home era: I hope you can get inspired too!
1. Get busy creating "theme" meal rotations.
Make a GOAL each week of what to cook and WHY! Example 1: I have been cooking a different ethnicity each week for the past two months, just to bring awareness to all the lovely flavour combinations out there! Example 2: Make specific days of the week themed to the tune of a flexible meal (ie. healthy tacos, or glory bowls with the reason of trying different proteins).
2. Share a meal with a friend - distance-style, of course.
I sought out new mommies to bake and cook for during the pandemic - I can sense how overwhelming it can get with a new baby to plan out healthy meals! Every time I cooked for someone else, I managed to have a portion of that meal on the table for our family as well.
3. Open a cookbook and make recipes from it, cover-to-cover.
My personal favourite lately has been Vegan Around the World. I have my eye on the new Oh She Glows cookbook. Please let me know in the comments if you have found delicious others!
4. Listen to some inspiring podcasts, audiobooks, webinars, or online resources.
There are so many free resources out there - just be sure they don't inspire change you DON'T agree with! Keep your health at priority number one, and seek out educated registered professionals.
5. Take the challenge of cooking from what you already have, with minimal groceries.
I did this multiple times, looking on the staples like grains or beans from the pantry and coming up with a list of just a few ingredients I needed to make a delicious one-bowl dish, stew, soup, or delightful oven-baked recipe.
6. Ask a friend who is an inspiring home cook to share a few recipes with you.
Okay, you got me. I was the inspiring friend in my circle. Head to www.nourishedbybri.com/recipes if you would like a bit of inspiration - but full disclaimer, the recipes are not all my own creations!
7. Shop at local grocers and suppliers to find something new to cook with.
If you would like to continue to support local, head to some locally-owned cornerstore, butcher, fish shop, ethnic grocer, or bulk food store to select an item you would like to base your next meal on!
8. Get into a homemade version of a special treat you love.
For me, it was homemade bread. I think I have been craving vegan cinnamon buns from a specific shop for the entire pandemic. Somehow, I manage to make a homemade, low-sugar, and tastier version every time the craving hits. Bonus: the aroma of fresh sourdough bread lasts for the day!
9. Refresh your tastebuds with a new kind of breakfast.
Breakfast is typically the meal most of my clients don't change for a long time. If you're usually into sweet breakfasts, try a savoury version! If you're typically an oatmeal lover, change it up with some crunchy homemade granola on fruit!
10. Keep active to stay inspired to eat well!
You'll get the blood flowing to your brain, which will help make better long term decisions: especially when it comes to health and the food choices you make!
Lovely to see you here at the bottom of the list! If you need MORE help getting on track, please don't hesitate to reach out and book a 20-minute Q&A to see if we are a good fit to work together.
Blessings on your health journey!