5 Tips to a Balanced, Sustainable Diet during Lockdown from a Nutrition Student!
Hello everyone, I am now two weeks away from graduating my Food Science and Nutrition degree and would love to share a bit of what I have learnt! Advice is not universal, and I am an advocate of personalised nutrition; however, there are tips I have for you, which should help contribute to keeping a balanced and sustainable diet during these tough times!
Colourful food! An excellent way to know you are eating all your nutrients, and getting a balanced diet is making sure your food is full of colour! As a rule of thumb, for example, your orange vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes are full of precursors of Vitamin A, blue and purple berries are full of anthocyanin (an antioxidant) and dark leafy greens, including kale and spinach, are an excellent source of fibre and folate.
Keep hydrated! By the time you think "Oh I am thirsty", you are already dehydrated. You should be consuming between 6-8 glasses of water a day, at a minimum, for optimum brain and body functioning! My best tips are always to start and finish the day with a glass of water, that way you are already two glasses down!
Legumes are your friend! So, they may not be the most beautiful food, BUT they sure are health-friendly, containing plenty of fibre, plant-based protein and a variety of nutrients, in addition to an 80g portion contributing to one of your 5-a-day!
Love your unsaturated fats! Unsaturated fats are most often found in liquid fats like oils. Specifically, let's talk omega-3 fatty acids, and the EPA and DHA forms, which are found in oily fish like tuna and also in seaweed products. Research has associated moderate intake of these with reduced LDL "bad" cholesterol, reduced thrombosis, and so a "healthier" heart with reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Try and grow your own! If you can, anywhere from herbs on a windowsill to making a vegetable patch in your back garden. Firstly, it contributes to sustainable living. Secondly, when you need some greens, you do not have to go to the shops, staying home and staying safe! Finally, fruit and vegetables, grown from home are a much richer source of nutrients. This is because when we buy imported products, while it has travelled thousands of miles, much of its nutrients have started to degrade.
I hope some of these help. Please let me know if there is anything specific you would like to know more about from specific food groups to dietary patterns, mental health, or physical activity! You can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org