The Movement Control Order 2.0 which came into effect recently has significant impact on our daily routine as most of us are required to work from home instead which makes us confine to the homes. It is hard to survive at this trying time, but each one of us has the responsibility to stay at home to contain the spread of COVID-19 infections. Healthy eating habit and active lifestyle during this period can help to boost up our immunity to fight off the virus.
Here are some great ideas to help you to stay healthy during this MCO period.
- Eat regularly
Have your main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) consistently at the same time and stick to the same schedule even if you are at home just how you do before the MCO takes place. Avoid skipping meals as this can make you end up with overeat at your next meal or binge on junk food in between meals. When you are hungry between meals, grab a healthy snack e.g, those low in sugar, salt, calories and fat, and high in protein such as wholemeal bread sandwich, fresh fruits or a handful of nuts, seeds and beans (mixed nuts, almond or cashew nuts). Avoid calorie-dense foods and salty foods (eg: keropok, instant noodles, fried kueh or ice cream).
- Balance, moderation and variety
“Balance, moderation and variety” is the key concept of a healthy diet. Balance means to include foods from all five food groups in your daily diet. Moderation refers to consuming foods within a recommended portions and variety of foods from each food group. Follow this principle in your daily diet to ensure you get the appropriate amounts of energy and nutrients for your body’s need, including strengthening the immune system. Healthy meal does not necessarily need to be complicated and time-consuming, look for simple recipes that include ingredients from all food groups. Include portions of whole grains (brown rice, wholemeal bread etc), protein (fish, chicken, meat or tofu), vegetables and fruits as recommended by Malaysian Healthy Plate (Suku Suku Separuh).
- Cook your own foods
Online food delivery service has become popular as it offers a fast and convenient way to fill your tummy, especially when you have a busy working schedule. However, outside foods typically contain higher amount of sodium, calories and fats compared to home-cooked meals. Moreover, we cannot guarantee the quality of the ingredients used and hygiene. By cooking your own meals, you have control over what is going into your food. There are plenty of healthy recipes on the internet to try out. Opt for healthier cooking methods such as steaming, stir frying, blanching, roasting, baking. Limit unhealthy cooking methods which contribute to excessive energy intake such as deep-frying and coconut milk based dishes such as nasi lemak. Use less oil, salt, sugar and santan in your cooking and use lean meat or fish as much as possible.
- Stay hydrated
Plain water is the best since it contains no calories, drink at least 8 glasses of water daily. Limit caffeinated drinks and high sodium foods which can cause dehydration as people usually mistaking the feeling of thirst for hunger and tend to eat more. Limit sugary drinks such as carbonated drink and cordial drinks to 1 serving per day or it is best to not drink at all. When consumed in excess, sugar turns into fat, which can cause obesity in the long run.
- Be physically active
You can be active by doing indoor exercise as it helps our bodies in many ways, including reducing stress level, re-energize and most importantly it does help to boost up our immune system. Take short breaks and move around the house, instead of being seated for long hours. Walk around the compound if you live in landed house or walk up and down the stairs several times if you stay in a Condo or apartment. Gardening and cleaning the house are good enough to improve blood circulation. There are a lot of workouts such as Zumba, Pilates or Tabata that you can try out by watching YouTube videos. Remember to warm up before exercising and warm down after.
- Pre-plan a simple menu at least 1 week in advance
Work out a simple menu for the week that the whole family can eat. When planning your menu, follow the healthy principle - balances, moderate and variety. This is the perfect time to try out healthy recipes that you never have time to cook before MCO. A pre-planned menu also helps you draw up a better grocery list.
- Grocery shopping
To minimise your exposure to others, go only once or twice a week to limit the trips to the grocery store. You should try to make it a quick trip and find a quiet or less crowded time to go. Remember to plan out a grocery list beforehand to avoid buying unnecessary items and shorten the duration of being outside. Choose sturdier vegetables that keep longer such as broccoli, long beans, potatoes and pumpkin. Stock up a variety of vegetables and fruits with different colours to ensure that you are getting a variety of these nutrients i.e. phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals that can act as antioxidants to boost up your immune system. List similar foods together as they can usually be found in the same aisle. Stock up more fresh foods instead of highly processed foods.
- Store your grocery properly
Make sure to wash your hands with soaps and water at least 20 seconds prior to handling your foods. When washing raw meat, remove excess fat or skin from chicken or meat. Keep the vegetables and fruits in air-tight containers or wrapped in newspaper to retain moisture.
Hopefully the ideas above able to help you change the way you live and have a better health.