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Written by TeamUCL Nutritionist and fitness professional, Sophie Tully. 

Some simple advice

Maintaining as close to a healthy balanced diet as it possible is one of the most important things you can do to help protect your health and wellbeing at this time. However, stress, lack of food availability and other pressures and worries might be thwarting your otherwise good intentions. The following tips will help you focus in on the most important nutritional factors as well as how to stick to eating well even when motivation and resources might be lacking  

What should I be eating?  

  • 1-2 Palm of protein these include meat, fish, eggs, beans, pulses, tofu, etc.
  • 1-2 Fists of veg   
  • 1-2 Fists of complex carbohydrate such as wholegrains, potato, root veg, fruits  
  • And a thumb or two of healthy fats – nuts, seeds, olive oil, full fat organic dairy 

Making meal planning simple 

Keep it simple  - there is no need to overcomplicate things. 

Let go of preconceived ideas about what counts as a meal  

Batch cook and enjoy leftovers – slow cookers are great too!  

Be Creative! 

Most recipes taste fine with one or two ingredients swapped or eliminated so don’t worry about having everything –   

                                     

Have your go-to’s and eat these regularly – you want to take the thought out of meal prep so if you have a few healthy staple meals you can cook in large volumes do this often.  

Stock up on the staples: olive oil, herbs, spices, carrots, potatoes onions, garlic, broccoli and stock. If you have these in your cupboard you are already halfway to most tasty meals. 

Google it! I rarely follow one recipe to the letter instead I find a few and pick and choose what I want/or what I have in the cupboard so get a bit creative and don’t worry if you have to  ad-lib you may surprise yourself – I once made a rose wine chicken risotto and it was delicious!

How to avoid emotional eating   

Maybe this is something you are worried about, now that everything is different and so far from being normal 

  • ALWAYS eat the healthy stuff first if you still want the not so healthy stuff at least you won’t eat so much of it  
  • Be prepared! Emotional, stress eating will happen so, have tasty, healthy, ‘grab and go’ snacks available. Nuts, seeds, hardboiled eggs, cheese, fruit, raw veg sticks, dark chocolate, oat cakes and peanut butter etc. Choose thing you enjoy but aren’t going to make you feel guilty after eating them.   
  • Try to recognise and only eat when you are hungry, rather than feeling emotional or eating because the food is there front of you.  
  • Don’t have it in the house!  
  • If you decide to eat it enjoy it – the guilt we place on ourselves is more detrimental than the food itself and can fuel a negative cycle of eat, stress, wallow repeat so if you’ve tried all the above and you still want to eat the whole box, tub bag, give yourself permission and enjoy every bite!