Nutritional Tips During Pandemic COVID-19

When countries take stronger steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, self-quarantine and temporary closure of businesses can affect normal food-related practices.  Healthy People, as well as Those with Acute Respiratory Symptoms, are Advised to stay at home. Restaurants and take away services are being limited in some countries, and some fresh products are becoming less affordable. Good Nutrition is Vital to Health, Especially at a Time When the Immune System May Need to Fight Back.  Limited access to fresh foods that compromise the chances of continuing to eat a healthy and varied diet.  It can also potentially contribute to increased consumption of highly processed foods, which appear to be high in fat, sugar, and salt.  Nevertheless, even with few and minimal ingredients, one can continue to eat a diet that promotes good health. It is also Necessary to Remain Physically Active for Optimal Health.  To enable healthy individuals to remain physically active at home, we provide some guidelines for quarantine times, including tips and examples of home-based exercises. 

General Tips 

Make a Plan-Take only What You Need

Several cases of Over Gaining in Pakistan, as well as many other countries, have been reported.  Panic purchasing behavior can even have negative effects, such as Rising Food Costs, Food Overconsumption, and Unequal Product Distribution.  It is also necessary to understand both your own needs and those of others.  Assess What You have at Home Already, and Schedule Your Intake.  You may feel the desire to buy large quantities of food, but make sure to use what’s already in your pantry, as well as foods with shorter shelf life.  This way you will Reduce the Wasting of Food and give others access to the food they need.

Be strategic about the use of ingredients-Prioritize Fresh Products and Then Those with a Shorter Shelf Life.  If fresh foods, in particular Fruits, Vegetables, and Fat-Reduced Dairy Products, remain available, Prioritize These Over Non-Perishables.  Frozen fruits and vegetables can be used safely for longer periods and have a nutrient profile quite comparable to fresh foods.  You may want to Consider Storing any Leftovers for Another Meal to Prevent Food Waste.

Prepare Home-Cooked Meals

 Many individuals often lack the time to prepare home-cooked meals during everyday life.  Spending Longer Amounts of Time at Home will Now Bring the Prospect of Making Certain Recipes that You didn’t have Time to Make Before.  There are plenty of nutritious and delicious recipes available online.  Take advantage of the wealth of information that is freely available, and experiment with the ingredients you can access, but Remember to Keep in Mind the Healthy Eating Principles offered in this guidance. 

Beware of Portion Sizes

Getting portion sizes correctly can be difficult, particularly when cooking from scratch.  Being at home for long periods, particularly without a company or with minimal activity, can also lead to excessive food.  Seek Advice on What Constitutes having Balanced Nutrients for Adults Through the National Dietary Guidelines, and be mindful that young children may require smaller portions.

Follow Safe Food Handling Practices

Food Protection is a requirement for Balanced Diets and Food Security.  Healthy food is nothing but nutritious food.  It is necessary to observe Good Food Hygiene Practices When Preparing Food for yourself and others to prevent contamination of the food and foodborne diseases.  Strong Food Hygiene Recommendations include:  keep Yourself, Utensils and Kitchen Clean, Separate Cooked and Raw Food, Especially Cooked and Raw Meat, Cook Your Meal Carefully, Place Your Meal at Safe Temperatures, either Above 60 °C or Below 5 °C.  Always Use Safe Water and Clean Raw Material. You can avoid several common foodborne diseases by adopting these five main guidelines.

Limit Your Salt Intake

The supply of fresh foods may decrease, and thus More Dependence on Canned, Frozen or Processed Foods may become essential.  Most of those products are High in Salt.  The WHO Suggests Eating Less than 5 g of Salt Per DayPrioritize foods with a Reduced Salt or No Added Salt to accomplish this.  You may also consider eliminating some of the extra sodium by Rinsing Canned Foods such as vegetables and beans.  Be mindful that Pickled Foods often contain High Sodium Levels, too.  In many nations, 50–75 Percent of the Consumption of Salt Comes From the Food We Consume, rather than from what we add.

 Limit Your Sugar Intake 

WHO suggests that Less than 5 Percent of Total Adult Energy intake should preferably Come From Free Sugars (Around 6 Teaspoons).  If you want something sweet, the Priority Should Always be Fresh Fruit.  Some popular choices are Frozen Fruits, Canned Fruits in Juice Instead of Syrup and Dried Fruits with No Added Sugar.  When choosing other dessert choices make sure they are Low in Sugar and Eat Small ServingsWatch Out For Low-Fat Alternatives, as They are Also High in Added Sugars.  Reduce the amount of sugar or honey that is added to the food and prevent sweetening the drink.

Limit Your Fat Intake  

WHO Recommends that total fat consumption be limited to Less than 30 Percent of Total Energy Intake, not more than 10 Percent of which will come from saturated fat.  To accomplish this, opt for methods of cooking that require less or no fat, such as Steaming, Grilling or Sauteing Rather than Frying Food. Use small amounts of unsaturated oils such as Rapeseed, Olive Oil or Sunflower Oil to cook foods when needed.  Prefer foods containing safe sources of Unsaturated Fats, for example, Fish and Nuts. Trim excess fat from Meat and Poultry to Reduce Saturated Fats, and select skinless alternatives.  Reduce foods like Red and Fat Meats, Butter and Full-Fat Dairy Products, Palm Oil, Coconut Oil, Shortened Solids, and Lard. Remove as Many of the Trans-Fats as Possible. Study product labels to ensure that the products Don’t Contain Partially Hydrogenated Oils. If food labels are not visible, avoid foods that typically contain trans-fats such as refined or fried items such as Baked Goods and Cookies, including biscuits, crusts, frozen pizzas, cookies, crackers, and partially hydrogenated fats.

Consume Enough Fiber

Fiber Leads to a Balanced Digestive System and offers an enhanced sense of completeness and helping avoid overeating.  The goal is to Include Vegetables, Fruits, Legumes, and Whole-Grain Foods in All Meals to ensure an adequate intake of fiber.  Wholegrains products include peas, brown pasta and rice, bread and wraps of quinoa and whole wheat, rather than processed grain products like white pasta and rice, and white bread.

Stay Hydrated

Effective hydration is vital to achieving optimal healthThe tap water is the healthiest and cheapest drink whenever available and safe for consumption.  This is also the most natural because, compared with bottled water, this creates no waste.  Drinking Water Rather than Sugar-Sweetened Beverages is an Easy way to Reduce Sugar Consumption and Excess Calories.  Fresh or frozen fruits such as berries or slices of citrus fruits, as well as cucumbers or herbs such as basil, lavender or rosemary, can be added to improve its flavor. Do not Drink Large Quantities of Strong Tea, Strong Coffee, and Especially Caffeinated Soft Drinks and Energy Drinks.  This can cause dehydration and can have a detrimental effect on your sleep patterns.

Enjoy Family Meals 

The Social Distancing associated with the Outbreak of COVID-19 has meant that many People Stay at Home, creating new opportunities to share meals.  Family meals are significant opportunities for parents to be role models for healthy eating and improve relationships with their children. More Time at Home During this Phase can also Provide New Opportunities for Children to be Interested in the Preparation of Nutritious Meals, which can allow them to learn valuable life skills that they can bring into adult life.  Letting kids choose which vegetables to include in their meal may encourage them to eat at the table.  It is important to keep meals simple when involving kids in cooking and to Teach Kids About Proper Food Safety (Including Hand Washing, Cleaning Surfaces and Avoiding Consumption of Certain Raw Ingredients).

Healthy and Safe Food Choices

Fruits

Fruit can be frozen, canned or fresh.  Try to search for choices canned in their fruit juice (not syrup) when looking at canned fruits.  Frozen Fruits, such as Berries, are perfect for making smoothies that can be Filled with Vitamins and Minerals to Help You Through Your Long Days of QuarantineCanned Fruit is stable in storage for up to Two Years and Frozen Fruit is good for up to Nine Months.

Vegetables

The vegetables may be frozen, fresh, or canned, similar to fruits.  Frozen Vegetables are an Ideal Alternative to Fresh, as they hold nearly 100% of the Nutrients.  Canned is certainly better than nothing too!  Check for ‘Low-Sodium Alternatives’ When Looking for Canned Vegetables. When you buy standard canned vegetables, Rinse them off Before Cooking to avoid any of the sodium content.  Canned Vegetables are good for 2 to 5 Years, and Frozen Vegetables are good for up to One Year (before being burnt to freezer).

Grains

Grains are relatively stable.  Whole grains, such as wheat or brown rice, have a shelf life a little shorter than flours but Have a Higher Nutritional Value. Many Processed Grains, such as white bread and pasta, have removed bran and germ to give them a finer texture and longer shelf life, but this Removes the Nutrients From the Grain too.  Intact grains, including oatmeal, uncooked brown rice and quinoa last longer than refined grains, though!  Some wide stable grains include brown rice, whole rolled oats, and whole wheat pasta.

Dairy

Last but not least, the dairy market.  It’s probably the trickiest of all.  When We Think of Dairy Products, We Think of Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese.  All perishable products, there are still ways to make dairy last longer.  You can freeze yogurts and eat them as a cool refreshing dessert (and they’ll last for up to two months in the freezer). Keep Away From Stuff Like ‘Easy Cheese’ or other Packaged Cheese that might seem to behalf stable.  Such products Do not Provide You with Calcium and Vitamin D that natural dairy products do, and they tend to be filled with fat. Shelf-Stable Milk (like condensed milk) is also available, which can be an Option During Quarantine Times. In all, it’s hard to lead a balanced lifestyle during this time, but it’s feasible!  Have Fun, Prepare New Recipes, Try New Items and stock up on all the great choices in the grocery store that will last long past the quarantine.  Fresh doesn’t always mean the best!


Authors: Ali Ikram (Ph.D. Scholar Food Science and Technology)

                    Babar Bin Zahid (MS Food Science and Technology)

Address: Institute of Home and Food Sciences, Government College University Faisalabad, Pakistan

Email: aliikram630@gmail.com

Email: babarzahidrandhawa@yahoo.com

 


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