Healthy Life, Healthy Mind

I don’t know about you, but being quarantined at home has had a significant impact on my eating habits. Normally, I would eat breakfast around 7am before leaving to work. Now, I find myself eating breakfast more around 11am/12pm or skipping it altogether. This shift has caused me to eat later and later in the day. The later in the day it gets, the less likely I am to prepare a healthy meal and instead continue to snack on some not so healthy food options.

It was much easier to stick to a set eating schedule when I wasn’t at home all day. Overtime, I got pretty good at meal prepping and planning out my meals ahead of time. Doing this kept me accountable and prevented myself from spending too much money eating out. Now that my workspace is practically two steps away from the fridge, my self-control has gone out the door.

When I eat healthy, I feel better— and finding that rhythm of eating healthy while quarantined has been incredibly challenging.

Today I thought enough was enough. Something has got to change. So I sat down and established some guidelines for my eating habits moving forward.

Most diets primarily centered around whole foods, fruits/veggies, and lean meats require some preparation. So given my lack of desire to prepare food later in the day, I decided it’s best to continue prepping meals as if I was still leaving my home to go to work/school each day.

Photo by Thomas Le on Unsplash

Another notable issue is continuous snacking throughout the day. Snacking not only adds a significant amount of unnecessary calories each day but aids in disturbing your eating schedule because you are never truly hungry for a full meal. Plus, it’s improbable you are getting your daily nutrients from just snacks, hence why complete, balanced meals are incredibly essential, and it is advised not to skip them.

Each time I am in the grocery store and walk by cookies (my weakness), I think to myself it’s okay if I have these in my house I’ll only have one a day. Well, when most of my time was spent not at home, this theory may have been correct. However, now that I am home all day, I tend to justify a couple of extra cookies here and there throughout the day. Therefore, I told myself I need to be honest and WALK AWAY from the cookies. Better yet, not even walk down that aisle at the grocery store to eliminate my temptation.

Here is the eating schedule I have come up with:

Breakfast 7am

Snack 10am

Lunch 1pm

Snack 3pm (optional)

Dinner 5pm

**more or less an hour or two

I might also note that for this eating schedule to work, I am also making it a priority to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. A disruption in my sleep schedule also played a significant role in my eating schedule alterations. When you don’t wake up till mid-day, you have already missed half of your meals. Your body tries to make up for this loss of calories by increasing your feeling of hunger late at night— one of the easiest ways to gain unwanted weight.

Here are is an example of what I plan on eating moving forward:

Breakfast: Avocado toast, scrambled eggs and fruit
Lunch: Baked chicken breast over spinach with a side of quinoa, asparagus and raspberries
Snack: Organic oats, blueberries, banana and peanut butter
Dinner: Baked salmon, broccoli, spinach and rice

My diet consists typically of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. As a personal preference, I stay away from red meats and instead eat chicken, turkey and seafood. I enjoy dairy alternatives such as coconut milk and almond milk— again, this is a personal preference and not intended to discredit any other diet preferences.

Breakfast: Avocado toast, scrambled eggs and fruit
Lunch: Sauteed shrimp over spinach with a side of quinoa, broccoli and avocado
Snack: Acai bowl with blueberries, coconut shavings, cacao nibs and crushed assorted nuts
Dinner: Baked chicken, broccolini, spinach and rice

Below is a typical grocery list I follow:

Establishing a diet that you enjoy is essential. Make healthy eating fun and start experimenting with new ingredients. If you don’t enjoy your food, you most likely won’t stick to a consistent diet. Now is the best time to start cooking if you haven’t gotten into the habit. You’d be surprised what cooking skills you can acquire after this quarantine is over.

If sticking to a set eating schedule is difficult for you, you may want to try implementing intermittent fasting into your daily routine. Intermittent fasting, if you are not familiar, is when you go through periods of fasting and eating. I really enjoy the app Zero – Fasting Tracker. There are multiple different fasting methods, with their benefits explained in detail on the app.

For example: The 16:8 intermittent fast goal involves an 8hr eating period and a 16hr fasting period. I really enjoy this app because it makes keeping track of your eating patterns simple and fun. You feel really accomplished when you go back and see your progress overtime.

Benefits of intermittent fasting include:

  • Weight loss
  • Reduce insulin resistance
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol helping decrease your risk for heart disease

Although not required, intermittent fasting makes a healthy lifestyle much simpler.

Now that you have all the tools you need, all you have to do is start!

Comment below and share what recipes you’ve made during this quarantine.

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