Be Food Smart

Healthy eating during COVID-19

Covid-19 /coronavirus has changed many of our daily lives - how we work, our incomes, childcare arrangements and how and when we shop for food. Figuring out what to cook and eat each day is now probably a lot more challenging.

Eating well and monitoring portion sizes is really important for both our physical and mental health.

Here are some top tips you can try to maintain a healthy lifestyle:

1. Eat fruit and vegetables

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Buy veg to bulk up stews, soups and curries and make a large portion so you can freeze and eat meals at a later date.

If you struggle to eat fruit, why not add some to a smoothie or yoghurt for a dessert. Don’t forget you can use tinned and frozen fruit and veg as an alternative to fresh produce.

2. Tinned and dried food

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Tinned fish such a tuna, salmon and sardines are rich in protein and omega-3 which is good for your heart and overall health. You can add them to sandwiches, pasta dishes and salads.

Canned and dried chickpeas, lentils and beans are also great and affordable additions as they can be stored for months and added to stews, curries and salads.

3. Healthy snacks

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We all know how easy it is to snack if you are feeling low or at home all day! The odd sweet treat is okay but it is better to consume healthy snacks throughout the day. Here are some nutritious snacks you can try, which will fill you up for longer:

Dried fruit such as raisins, mango and apricots

Chopped raw veg such as carrots and cucumber

A small handful of plain seeds and nuts

A yoghurt

Plain popcorn

A small chunk of cheese (no bigger than a matchbox)

Toast with peanut butter

4. Keep to a routine and involve the family in cooking

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Try to maintain a structure and routine around your daily mealtimes. Also, cooking together as a family can be a great chance to bond and entertain the children.

There are some more meal ideas here – why not give them a try!

For more information on how to eat well during the COVID-19 lockdown, visit the BDA website or check out these healthy eating tips from gov.ie.

5. Vitamin D

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You may not be getting enough vitamin D from sunlight because you are staying inside for longer. Consider taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day to keep your bones and muscles healthy. The NHS website has more about vitamin D and food sources.

6. Healthy Start vouchers for milk, fruit, vegetables and vitamins

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Healthy Start helps you give your family the very best start in life. If you are pregnant or have a child under four years old and you receive benefits or tax credits, you could qualify for Healthy Start vouchers to help buy some basic foods. Check to see if you qualify.

Please note that the application form no longer needs to be signed by a health professional, e.g. a health visitor or a midwife, before you send the application off.

For help claiming Healthy Start vouchers, you can email healthystartsupport@croydon.gov.uk or visit the website www.healthystart.nhs.uk