Eight simple diet rules to push you forward in these crazy days

Want to come out of the pandemic healthy and fit? Here are some rules you should abide by.

 Asian women workout (illustrative) (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Asian women workout (illustrative)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

It's much easier to order ready-made food when you’re in isolation at home for days, and deliveries of ice cream from friends are really fun. But if you want to finish this COVID-19 wave and any future ones healthy and fit, here are eight diet rules you should follow.

Many people are in isolation these days, and even those who aren’t infected with Omicron feel the impact of this period on their health. Isolation days affect us emotionally and physically as we’re more stressed, move less and our entire eating routine changes, often not in a positive way. While these are particularly challenging days, you can still eat well and feel great. Here are some practical tips to help you maintain healthy eating habits even when you’re in isolation, or need to stay indoors for an extended time period.

1. Less ordering in

Another evening on the couch and the urge for quick, delivered food rises again. All you want is something available and fast, without a lot of work and mess in the kitchen, but remember that food we receive in deliveries is usually heavily processed, loaded with carbohydrates, sugars and trans fat.  Regularly eating this way may increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and various types of cancer. In addition, the whole process of ordering fast food produces an addiction to food without health benefits or nutrients.

2. Exercise at home, too

 A man screams mid-exercise as he focuses during his workout (Illustrative) (credit: PIXAHIVE) A man screams mid-exercise as he focuses during his workout (Illustrative) (credit: PIXAHIVE)

Isolation leaves us closed between four walls but we can still move our bodies. Exercise is important for our physical and mental health, improves sugar levels, reduces blood pressure, increases blood circulation and improves one’s mood. Staying at home limits the variety of options, but you can find creative ways to stay fit: skip rope, push-ups, squats, planks and abdominal crunches are good examples, all of which don’t require leaving the house. What do they require? Motivation, wearing comfortable sportswear and warming up the body. You can also search YouTube workout channels or join a Pilates class via Zoom.

3. No white flour

No white bread, pastries, pastries, crackers or pretzels! White flour is an empty carbohydrate that breaks down easily and dramatically raises sugar levels. Today there are many low-carbohydrate breads that can be bought or made, such as tahini bread, almond bread and flax bread. For diabetics it’s recommended to test the effect on sugar levels using a continuous sugar meter; don’t measure via finger prick. 

4. Healthy gifts for people in isolation

If there is any fun part in being in isolation it’s receiving delicious and pampering deliveries. But there is one problem with such deliveries; they’re usually laden with sugar, and are snacks and cakes without nutrients. Want to surprise those close to you with pampering packages? Think outside the box and send them packages of soothing tea, nuts, almonds, spices and red wine.

5. More vegetables, less fruit

Vegetables are rich in dietary fiber and contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Vary the types of vegetables and enjoy cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, sprouts, mushrooms, green beans, bell peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. It’s highly recommended to also eat leafy vegetables which are really low in carbohydrates.

Fruits can be rich in carbohydrates, so choose correctly. Low-carb fruits for example are strawberries that are rich in vitamin C and lycopene which is a particularly powerful antioxidant associated with reducing the risk of prostate cancer. Avocado is also considered a fruit with a low amount of carbohydrates, and thanks to the generous amount of fiber in it contribute to a feeling of satiety over time. For diabetics, it helps in slowing down the reaction to meals because the fat in it inhibits the absorption of carbohydrates in the meal into the blood.

6. Plan your meal times

Put together a balanced diet, rich in protein and according to what your body needs. Conscious eating causes us to listen to our bodies and lead a healthy and conscious lifestyle of what we consume. A little tip: keep an eating diary in which you record what you eat and drink, and thus your self-control will be good and will also lead to weight maintenance. Avoid snacking and eating food packaged in bags or in bulk, i.e. anything that can be eaten with your hands and/or when standing.

7. Drink water

The winter, staying at home and lack of activity makes us not feel thirsty throughout the day. Despite this, our bodies need fluids, and inadvertently we may become dehydrated and damage the kidneys and urinary tract if we don’t drink enough fluids. The recommendation is to drink about 2 liters of water a day.

8. Be sure to eat at a table

Be sure to sit at the table during the meal, as this way you can really see how much you eat. Set an example and role model for children as the whole family eats together and dedicates a place of honor to the food that enters the mouth. Keep food away from the desk and avoid eating without realizing it.

Adina Bachar is a diabetic and ketogenic dietitian at the DMC Center for treating diabetes.