Emily Whitelock is one of the Senior Nutritionists at UFIT. After the not so great news that the Circuit Breaker is being extended it's a good idea to give yourself something positive to focus on and stay fit and healthy over the next few weeks. Here are 9 nutrition tips from Emily to keep you on track.
Try to include lean protein at least at main meals to help maintain and build your muscles and other body tissues. Opt for chicken and turkey breast, tuna, white fish, salmon, lean beef, eggs, beans, lentils and low-fat dairy.
2. Vitamin D
Whilst abiding to social distancing rules, get outside in the sunshine for at least 30mins 2x/week. Workout on your balcony, go for a walk or run, get some UV rays which are required for Vitamin D synthesis in your skin (still apply sun cream). Food alone won’t provide you with the required Vitamin D you need but oily fish, eggs & some fortified products can contribute. In 2010, 40% of Singaporeans were found to be Vitamin D deficient and 8% to be very deficient, let's not let COVID-19 increase these %s!
You may have a little more time on your hands, why not learn to cook a few new dishes? Switch those take-aways to home-cooked versions, that way you know the quality and exact ingredients going into your food.
If it's not in your house you are unlikely (or can’t under current circumstance) to go out to buy it. Have a glass of water before you go for a snack as you may actually be thirsty! Ask yourself “am I actually hungry?” If yes, opt for snacks rich in fibre and protein to help keep you fuller for longer. For example, fruit, a small handful of nuts, salted popcorn, peanut butter on brown toast, yoghurt with berries, raw vegetables and hummus.
Help keep all the processes in your body working optimally by drinking at least 3 litres of water per day, more if exercising. Instead of going for sugary drinks why not try hot or iced green or fruit teas, a slice of lemon and mint leaves in sparkling water.
6. Listen to your body
Are you hungry or are you actually just thirsty or bored? Eat slowly and give your body time to react to what you are eating and signal to you you’re full, which can take up to 20 minutes. Thoroughly chew your food. Drink water with meals. Limit distractions while eating, and focus on enjoying your food!
7. Whole Grains
Choose whole grains over refined carbs, so you get more vitamins & minerals, as well as fibre which will help keep you fuller for longer & reduce snacking. Opt for oats, sweet potatoes, brown rice, rye bread, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, beans, lentils… These should make up ¼ of your plate.
8. Fruits and vegetables
Try to eat at at least 3 portions (80g/1 cup) of vegetables and 2 portions of fruits per day. Variety is important to ensure you get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay healthy and help keep your immune system working at its best. Go for different coloured fruits and vegetables. Why not give yourself a goal to eat 25 different types of fruits and vegetables over the next week!
Since bars and restaurants are shut you may feel tempted to stock up on alcohol but alcoholic beverages are a source of “empty calories” as they lack any nutrients we require. Having a Friday night drink is of course fine, but for health reasons it's advised not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week. Even less would be better! A unit of alcohol equals e.g. ½ pint, 1 shot (25ml) of a spirit and a small glass (125ml) of wine = 1.5 units. If drinking, have 1 glass of water for every drink you have and try to opt for "lighter: drinks such as gin and slimline tonic, or vodka and soda.
If you are looking for a more personalised approach to nutrition we now have an Online Bespoke Nutrition program for you, with 1-to-1 help from one of our senior nutritionists.
About the author
Emily enjoys being part of her clients' fitness and health improvement journey and helping them achieve their goals whilst having fun in the process. She wants to make a difference to her clients' lives, hopefully helping them achieve a long-term change and maybe even work towards something they didn’t initially believe they could.