Have you been eating a lot less healthy ever since the COVID-19 pandemic? Well, you’re probably not the only one. It goes without saying that coronavirus has been causing a lot of changes in the daily lives of people around the world. Now that we’re living in difficult times, it’s no surprise that you might have developed unhealthy eating habits that affect both your physical and mental wellbeing.
With stay-at-home policies in place, many of us have the tendency to overeat and make bad food choices. Chances are you’re always grabbing a snack and ordering fast food to reduce stress and anxiety or to simply satisfy your cravings. With panic buying and inconsistent food supply, people are shifting towards greater consumption of processed and ready-to-eat food for the sake of convenience and longer shelf-life. The thing is, it’s time to realize how important it is that you practice healthy food habits now.
Eating Healthy During the Pandemic
Evidently, COVID-19 has changed everything in the world and food is no exception. According to the World Health Organization, eating a healthy diet is crucial when you’re in the midst of a pandemic. What you eat affects your body’s ability to prevent, fight, and recover from illnesses or infections.
While no food or dietary supplements can prevent or cure the coronavirus, the Nestle Nutrition Institute claims that eating a well-balanced diet lowers the risk of acquiring chronic illnesses and infectious diseases by strengthening your immune system. Good nutrition can also reduce the likelihood of developing other health problems such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
So, instead of relying on convenience food and spending a lot of money on take out, this is an ideal time to create new habits and focus on your health and lifestyle. Setting up a health-focused kitchen can be a great way to kickstart your healthy eating journey.
How to Set Up a Health-Focused Kitchen
Don’t get discouraged if you’ve cheated on your diet more than a couple of times, or haven’t really bothered about the food you eat for quite a while now. Instead, make healthy eating easier on yourself by getting the right kitchen setup. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Make time for grocery shopping and meal prepping
Nothing beats a good plan when it comes to healthy eating. When you plan and prep your meals, you’ll find your diet more fun and easier to stick with. Schedule a time for grocery shopping once a week and list down everything you need to prepare your meals. Look for healthy recipes online or watch cooking videos so you’ll be inspired more to cook for yourself. Don’t be afraid to experiment or get creative in your kitchen, as long as you cook and eat a healthy menu.
While it’s ideal to prepare your meals for the entire week, you can always take things slow and just cook either breakfast, lunch, or dinner until you get the hang of a week-long meal prepping. Having at least one of your meals prepared in a day already makes a whole lot of difference, especially in the hustle and bustle of a busy week.
Stock up on herbs and spices
Who says healthy food can’t be delicious? Whether it’s fish, meat, or vegetables, any food can be made more savory and flavorful with herbs and spices. Not only do these ingredients tickle your tastebuds, but they also come with a variety of health benefits. Plus, they make your kitchen look nice and make your cooking more interesting. Stocking up on herbs and spices will also help you cut down on less healthy choices like butter and salt and help protect you against various diseases.
Optimize your cookware and appliances
Take out your fancy kitchen equipment inside your cabinets or under the counters! Whether you have a juicer, a non-stick pan, an air fryer, and other cooking appliances, place them where they can be seen and used frequently in your kitchen. After all, you either bought or got your cookware and appliances for a reason, so you might as well learn to optimize such helpful equipment.
If you have the budget, investing in good cooking items is also a great way to stay excited about healthy eating. It can be as simple as new pots and pans, a food processor, or even a knife. What matters is that it inspires you to keep building a health-focused kitchen.
Load up on fresh produce
Having fresh fruits and vegetables in your pantry adds a lot of life and color to your kitchen space. Not only does fresh produce inspire healthy cooking, but they also make for easy grab-n-go snacks and cooking ingredients on the daily. According to the World Health Organization, including fruits and vegetables as part of your diet may reduce the risk of some noncommunicable diseases.
Organize your fridge and pantry
Having a clean and organized storage sets you up to cook healthy options. So throw out the leftovers in your fridge or the expired food items in your pantry. In fact, take everything out and give your refrigerator and pantry a good cleaning. Another tip is to put healthy ingredients front and center and at eye level so you are more likely to choose those foods to prepare. Better yet, get rid of all (or most) unhealthy food items or in your storage to avoid temptations.
Cook with music
Who says healthy cooking is boring? Spice up your cooking roll by turning on your radio or audio speakers to listen to your favorite tunes and podcasts. With COVID-19 rattling our daily lives, a cooking playlist can be a great solution to cook among the chaos. Music also helps you to become more productive in the kitchen and to think a little less about everything that’s happening outside.
Track Your Progress
Surely, all of us have our off days and may not eat healthy all the time, but it’s what we do 80-90% of the time that counts. After all, healthy eating ois all about balance and small daily changes. What matters is you track your progress and do everything in your power to stay motivated, like building a health-focused kitchen. Once you’ve started, there’s no going back so make sure you stay on track and keep going. Stick to your healthy eating habits and use them to carry you to your next goal. Some days you might only stick to some and then other days fail at all of them, but what’s important is you pick up where you left off the next day. Hopefully, these tips can help you on your journey towards setting up a health-focused kitchen.