Making Healthier Nutrition Choices during COVID-19 

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many Americans struggling. First there were toilet paper shortages and a lack of perishable foods on the grocery store shelves. Then came a loss of work for many or a total upheaval to everyday life. The stress has impacted many, either physically or emotionally—sometimes both at once. As the economy has opened back up and food has become more readily available, it is still difficult to get the things we need, when we need them. Added stress can lead to less-than-healthy food options or even the thought of shopping for comfort items, including alcohol. Learn more about how you can make healthier choices—and stay the course of sobriety—during the pandemic.

The Physical and Emotional Impact of COVID-19

A study based out of Poland published in PubMed.gov discusses the effect quarantine can have on people. They have shown mandatory quarantine to produce high levels of psychological distress. This can show up as frequent emotional highs and lows, exhaustion, trouble sleeping and/or staying asleep, anger, post-traumatic stress and depressive symptoms.

They noted the extended length of being quarantined to our homes—coupled with constantly watching negative headlines in the media—added to the stress and are likely to increase the desire for comfort foods and snacking. There can also be an increase in drug and alcohol use.

Living Well and Eating Healthy in the Middle of a Pandemic

Nutrition is more than food, according to the University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry.  There are two important goals when talking about our health. The primary needs relate to our relationships, career, how active we are, our spirituality and getting creative. The second health goal is the food we eat, how much of it we eat, and how it affects our bodies. Focusing on slight changes in the primary and secondary goals can make a major impact in our overall health and wellbeing.  

Make Breakfast a Priority

For some, preparing a healthy breakfast doesn’t happen because of hectic mornings. However, if we take a little extra time to make a nutritional breakfast it could have a positive impact on the rest of the day.

Breakfast suggestions:

    • Eggs – a great source of protein and can help reduce hunger
    • Oatmeal – filling and a good source of fiber
    • Cereal – offers some vitamins and minerals
    • Fresh vegetables – add to eggs for an omelet 
    • Fresh fruit – increases the nutritional value to oatmeal or as a side to eggs
    • Muffin – can be store-bought or homemade with fresh vegetables or fruit

Tips to Curb Cravings & Feed Your Body Well

Check your mood – If you find yourself stressed and/or overwhelmed before heading for a snack, try something calming instead of eating. Read a book or listen to music. 

Drink water – Water is important to avoid dehydration. It can also signal to your brain that you are hungry when you need a drink of water instead.

Boost your food intake – If you aren’t eating enough, it can lead to low blood sugar. This can cause mood swings leading to poor choices. 

Note the change in season – With the change of seasons, the body can crave different foods. During the winter months you may crave foods heavy in fats and oils; these are heat producing foods. You may also find fruits more appealing during the summer. 

Enjoy the comfort food – Foods we enjoyed in childhood can become foods we crave for comfort as adults. Make your favorite comfort foods but in different forms, such as adding a bunch of vegetables to macaroni and cheese. 

COVID-19 has brought significant changes into our lives. If you have found that you or a loved one is abusing drugs and/or alcohol to cope during these trying times, please call us  (737) 600-8565. New Hope Ranch provides thorough assessments and access to individual treatment plans tailored to meet your needs.  

Patient, Family & Staff Safety is our Priority: COVID-19Update