As we enter a time of uncertainty with many people facing periods of isolation, it’s important to continue to look after your health and wellbeing and some of the simplest ways to do this is through diet and movement.
You might be wondering how you can keep up your healthy habits during social isolation and with limited options available at the grocery store. Lung Foundation Australia Respiratory Care Nurse Nicole Parkinson sat down to share her tips and advice.
“The food you eat gives you the nutrients and energy you need to breathe and can help your body to heal. If you’re trying to prevent catching any bugs or you’ve been unwell with a flare-up, it’s particularly important to be conscious of what you’re eating,” Nicole said.
“Often people think healthy eating means hours in the kitchen preparing meals and expensive trips to the grocery shop. If you commonly experience fatigue and breathlessness it may be difficult to spend lots of time prepping and cooking.
“It doesn’t have to complicated – choosing nutritious and easy to prepare snacks and meals that only need a few ingredients can help to keep prep time short.
“Cooking may only be realistic a few days a week, which is completely normal so try and cook extras that you can keep in the fridge or even freeze. A slow cooker is great for this and an easy way to ensure you’re getting a variety of vegetables in your diet.
“On the other days it’s good to have things that are really easy to prepare on hand, like a rotisserie chicken and frozen vegetables.”
In the current circumstances it may be difficult to find some ingredients at the grocery store but it’s still important to try and make healthy choices. Some supermarkets have introduced exclusive periods each day for elderly and vulnerable people to improve access to essential groceries during this time of unprecedented demand. We encourage you to speak with the staff at your local store for terms and conditions and, if possible, make the most of this option.
Nicole says it’s also helpful to consider when you feel most energetic during the day and use this time to prepare meals, or even change your mealtimes to suit your body.
“If you feel good in the morning, this might be a good time to cut up the ingredients in preparation for your evening meal or get something going in a slow cooker. If you feel like you have more energy in the afternoon than the evening, consider switching your mealtime to early and having a small, nutritious snack later in the evening,” she said.
“Eating your big meal when your energy levels are highest is less taxing on your body and may make it easier for you to get through the meal. Listen to your body and find what works for you.”
Tips to creating healthy habits
- Keep easy and nutritious snacks options on hand such as yoghurt, baked beans, canned fish, cheese and crackers, fresh boiled eggs, dried fruit and nuts
- To reduce prep time, pick whole foods that are ready-to-eat in their natural form like apples, bananas, carrots or cucumbers
- Consider meal delivery services, such as Meals on Wheels which can provide a three-course meal for about $7–$10
- Ready prepared meals, available through a number of companies including Lite n’ Easy and Tender Loving Cuisine, are easy options you can pick up in your next shop.