Dietician CLARE WOLSKI has some clues from getting out of the lockdown eating blues
AS Canberra emerges from it’s longest lockdown, it’s timely to reflect on the influence of the restrictions on your food patterns and whether some things need to change.
Here are some of the common habits I have noticed emerge:
Without the ability to go out for a social drink, many people have found drinking alcohol at home has become more frequent (or more voluminous).
I absolutely wanted to finish my Wednesday with a glass or two of wine or sit in the sun at lunchtime with a G&T. Luckily, being pregnant during this lockdown was a good deterrent for this urge!
If you have found a little tipple has become a more frequent habit, it might be time to re-evaluate and make some changes so that drinking alcohol is less automatic:
- Store beer and premixed drinks out of the fridge.
- Skip buying mixers and wine in your grocery shop for a few weeks.
- Store bottles of wine at the very top or very bottom of the pantry – out of sight and (mostly) out of mind.
- Pick a particular day to enjoy a particular bottle and write it on the label.
- Stock the fridge with non-alcoholic alternatives. There are a wide range of non-alcoholic beers, wines and cocktails on the market which may help to treat yourself with less impact on your liver and your waistline.
Over lockdown, many people discovered how convenient ordering in can be. However, as restrictions ease and we start to dine out, the take-away habit can stick, resulting in a much higher intake of meals high in salt, sugar and fat (which is what makes take-away taste so good).
Have a look back at the last two or three weeks. How many times did you order takeaway? Is this a pattern you’d be happy to continue with? How often would it be realistic to include takeaway in your household?
Some simple meals to swap for a takeaway might include:
- Barbecue chicken burgers with a pre-chopped salad.
- Steaming some frozen pork buns or vegetable dumplings with a side of Asian greens.
- Fish tacos made with oven baked fish fillets, pre-chopped slaw and a Mexican aioli.
- A tasting-plate meal with your favourite cheeses, dips, veggie sticks and fruit.
Some of my house-bound clients have struggled with constant access to the pantry and mindless snacking, while others have found that they are less prepared for snacks and get to the end of the day ravenously hungry, which can lead to poor food choices at dinner and more home delivery.
Whether it’s better to snack or only have three meals a day is a very individual question and a topic for another article.
Changing your snacking habits is all about recognising when you commonly reach for a processed or convenient food and then planning something healthy to eat for that time. Having a whole-food snack ready and stocked somewhere obvious makes it far more likely that you will make a choice you are happy with.
Here are some whole food snacks to consider planning:
- Chopped mango with yoghurt.
- Roasted chickpeas.
- A packet of popcorn.
- Snow peas and your favourite dip.
- Apple with a bitey cheddar or blue cheese.
Clare Wolski is a dietician at The Healthy Eating Clinic on 6174 4663.
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