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Healthy Eating Through the COVID-19 Crisis

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By:

Laura Tenbus

April 22, 2020
Have you found yourself snacking more now that you’re at home? We’d all like to think that we’ll use our extra time to eat better and exercise more, but that’s easier said than done. Jana Wolff, RD, LDN, Director of Nutrition at the GBMC Comprehensive Obesity Management Program, spoke with WMAR host, Christian Schaffer, about simple steps that people can take to stay healthy during and after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

As a registered dietitian, Jana helps her patients develop healthy eating habits based on their individual body weights and lifestyles. Despite the various patients she works with, Jana said she’s seeing a common issue: boredom eating. This is especially problematic during the evenings and on weekends when we would normally be occupied with other activities. We often associate food with rewards and positive experiences, so our brains have learned that eating is a way to feel better. “If we don’t set up our environment correctly, we can really fall into this without thinking about it, and it’s happening almost on autopilot,” she explained.

A good way to avoid this is to put snacks away in the closet or pantry. When all of your snacks are visible, it’s easy to pick one up and eat it without even thinking. Jana also suggests that you set limits on when you eat. It’s helpful to stop eating a couple of hours before you go to bed so that your body can digest before it’s time to sleep.

Intentional choices about the way we eat can make a huge impact on the way we feel. When we eat too much sugar, our blood sugar levels tend to rise, causing a lack of energy, whereas getting protein throughout the day will increase your energy levels. Another way to ensure healthy eating throughout the week is through meal planning. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated – just having food ready to go is enough to make a difference.

Jana provided these tips and others for healthy eating:
  1. Don’t skip meals
  2. Have a source of protein with each meal
  3. Eat proper portions – half of your plate should be vegetables, a quarter of your plate should be a lean protein, and the remaining quarter should be a healthy starch
  4. Avoid sugary snacks and drinks (including juice)
  5. Listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues
“Because this situation is lasting so long, there are waves of doing well and then falling off. It’s not about perfection in your eating and exercising. Progress is better than perfection!”

*Click here for more information about the coronavirus (COVID-19)*

If you would like to learn more about giving back during this time, please visit gbmc.org/donations or donate to the GBMC HealthCare Workers Fund to support our healthcare heroes.
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