Tips on healthy eating, stress relief, and increased activity while social distancing

March 26, 2020
| Created by Harmons

The Coronavirus pandemic has already changed the way we live, from our grocery shopping and food storage to our exercise and free-time activities. With the current social distancing directives in effect, the Harmons dietitians have some suggestions to make this time easier. Below they answer a few questions that might have occurred to you, and some that you may not have considered. They also provide a few tips that will make it easier to stay both mentally and physically healthy.

Can eating garlic or ginger help prevent infection?

Unfortunately, no. Garlic and ginger are both high in antioxidants and garlic has some antimicrobial properties, but there is no evidence showing they will protect you from the outbreak.

What can I eat for health and immunity?

While diet cannot prevent infection, eating for immunity is always beneficial. Even minor deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals can cause your immune system to be depressed. So, focus on getting a well-rounded diet that includes whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats, and a variety of fruits and vegetables.

How should I prepare for possible self-quarantine?

Do not panic buy. Purchase foods to make meals you enjoy, and plan for a good variety of shelf-stable and frozen foods such as pasta, marinara sauce, tuna, beans, fruits, vegetables, and frozen entrees. Also, unopened blocks of cheese have a fairly long shelf life. If you prefer fresh produce choose those with a longer shelf life such as potatoes, winter squash, cabbage, onions, carrots, beets, and apples and make sure to store them correctly. Do you have a favorite soup or casserole that freezes well? Make a double batch now, freeze it and enjoy it later. Don’t forget foods that you might want during a movie or board game marathon. Lastly, don’t forget about non-food items such as cleaning products and toiletries.

How should I store fresh produce to make it last?

· Potatoes: store in a dark cool place that is around 40°F. Never refrigerate.

· Onions and garlic: store in a dry, cool, and well-ventilated place. Never refrigerate.

· Winter squash: store in a place with a temperature of about 50°F to 65°F.

· Cabbage: store in a sealable plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer for up to 2 weeks.

· Carrots, parsnips, beets, and other root crops should be stored in a cool, dark place such as basement storage.

This whole thing is stressful. How can I avoid anxious eating?

It’s okay if food helps you cope with the stress and anxiety of the world right now, but focus on other forms of stress relief too, like spending time with a loved one, exercising, or reading a good book.

Use healthy food to make yourself happy.

A balanced, healthy diet is beneficial for body and brain. Consider food a form of self-care. It feels nice to be cared for and taking time to cook for yourself an excellent meal or making a good food choice is all a part of that.

Find interesting events and classes online

Change things up by finding interesting things to do. Are your favorite Utah businesses holding online events? Lots of local artists are teaching online classes, bars are holding trivia nights on Facebook live, and musicians are holding live concerts.

Get creative with your exercise

Are you having a tough time releasing stress and sleeping well without your usual workout? Get creative! Many gyms are holding yoga and other fitness classes online and trails are still available for hikes and bike rides. Do you miss the weights? A gallon of water, a can of peaches, or a bag of potatoes will work just as well.

Connect with others via technology

We have the technology, so let’s use it. Video chat with friends and family! Have a dance party, throw a happy hour or dinner party, or help one another with home school questions.

Attend online church services or 12-step meetings

Missing your faith community or support group? Most churches are holding online services during this time, and there are numerous 12-step meetings available online.

Hopefully, this list will give you other ideas to make your life easier as we all adjust to a difficult situation.