Struggling to know how or what to eat in these difficult times? We asked Rebecca Dent, a well respected dietitian who works with a host of mountain athletes, to give us some advice....
1. Allow Time To Adjust - working from home, having time on your hands, a change in training, adapting exercise within restrictions and resources, simply getting your head around it all. This may take days so take the pressure off going from what was normal straight into the unknown, find your feet, make a new plan then go again.
2. Stick To Routine And Structure - keep to regular meal times, working hours, work outs wherever you can and build in time for other tasks.
3. Plan Meals and Snacks - BUT allow for those days when it might not go to plan, this is a stressful and emotive time for us all. Take your time to walk around the supermarket to determine what is available (hopefully the panic buying will calm down). Plan your meals and snacks for the week, create a shopping list and write down what to eat each day (including snacks) in order to reduce the temptation to eat during every visit to the kitchen. Stick these plans to the fridge door, keep them visible and be accountable - avoid grazing all day so you are not hungry when it comes to meal times!
4. Reduced Activity Means Reduced Energy Expenditure - but remember to eat enough protein at each meal (aim for a minimum of 20g per meal). Choose higher protein snacks as these will keep you feeling fuller for longer (see examples below). Be mindful of how much butter/oil/creamy sauces you are using in your cooking. Limit the ‘junk’ food you have in the house!
5. Use A Food Diary - it will help you be accountable and stay on track of what you are eating.
For active mountain folk Rebecca recommends a daily protein intake of between 1.4 and 1.6g/kg. Further information can be found here.
6. Increase your NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) - all activity done that’s not planned is still exercise! Research has shown increasing NEAT helps control body weight via an increase energy expenditure. Try to reduce sedentary time/time sitting between training sessions. Go up and down the stairs as often as you can! Take out the washing from the machine in separate bundles. Clean, DIY, paint, gardening - Walk the dog regularly!
7. Maintain Hydration - we often mistake hunger for thirst.
8. Get A Good Night's Sleep - your hunger hormones are raised following a poor nights sleep, plus it protects your immune system.
9. Nutrition and Coronavirus - there are no nutritional supplements that will prevent or cure the coronavirus. Protect your immune system by avoiding a calorie deficit. Aim to maintain your weight during this time. If you are continuing to train at home ensure that you include carbohydrate around your exercise. A good balanced diet over time, including plenty of fruit and vegetables, will support your immune system.
10 Try These! - high protein yoghurt ( such as Skyr or Fage), boiled eggs with raw carrots, protein shake (whey or plant based), cottage cheese on rice cakes or raw carrots, rice cakes and nut butter, protein cereal bars, tinned fish, egg muffins (can find recipe easily online), sliced apple and nut butter, banana and nut butter, berries and cottage cheese or yoghurt, berries blended with a scoop of whey protein, home made banana pancakes (2 eggs and 1 banana, you can make these up into mini pancakes and keep them in the fridge as snacks). Some other snacks to consider - lightly salted and sweet popcorn, dark chocolate, dark chocolate rice cakes, nuts and dried fruit, fruit - but be mindful of portion size and calorie content of some of these!
Part 7 of "Isolation" can be found here.
Please get in touch if you'd like to take part in other "Isolation" posts!