What should I be focused on eating during the quarantine?

Ever thought about what you should be eating during this weird and unpredictable time? Maybe you can’t stop eating (guilty) or maybe you’re just curious if you’re getting all the right nutrients. Especially since there’s practically nothing left on the shelves to grab. 

I’ll go over some key players and staples in your pantry that you might have that are important for maintaining your body weight and nutrient status during the quarantine. 

Foods to combat the quarantine 15 ALRIGHT, we are focusing on two major things here during this quarantine and that is PROTEIN and FIBER… and let’s throw in some zinc. Here’s why:

  • Protein- one of the lovely macronutrients that helps slow digestion. Protein keeps you full longer and will keep you from constantly running to the kitchen. Some good protein options that you may already have in the house include: 
    • Yogurt (also full of yummy probiotics to keep your gut health on point)
    • Peanut butter or any other nut butter. Lather this on a piece of toast or eat a spoonful. This will help get you through until your next meal.
    • Meat or vegetarian alternative. Try to include at least one source of protein at each meal to prevent overeating.
    • Protein shakes are a good option for a snack if you have protein powder available. 
    • Nuts. Keep the nuts in check though. You don’t want to be mindlessly snacking on this high calorie food. 
    • Jerky
    • Eggs! Egg whites are a great option too for keeping the calories down, but eating in “bulk” to keep you full.  
  • Fiber- Also amazing at slowing digestion and keeping hunger levels at bay.
    • Fruit. YES, fruit. You all can eat fruit, despite the claims of it having too much sugar. Fruit is filled with tons of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The benefits of fruit far outweigh its sugar content. Frozen fruits are easily stored and long lasting.
    • Popcorn is another great snack. It is actually a good source of whole grains! 
    • Oatmeal is a great breakfast or snack option. Oatmeal has a lot of soluble fiber, which is also helpful in lowering cholesterol.  
    • Brown Rice and other grains are easy to make in bulk and go good with almost every meal. 
    • Vegetables, obviously. Frozen veggies can be a great option and last forever. Stock up on veggies and shoot to fill half your plate with them. This will keep you nice and full. 
  • Zinc- Also very important for this particular virus, I have been reading. Luckily, most of the foods I listed above are high in Zinc. It’s pretty easy to get enough zinc in your diet as long as you’re eating some variety. No need to run to the store and sweep the shelves of zinc multivitamins. 

Also, don’t underestimate the power of staying hydrated. This is a great time to focus on getting enough water.

 FUN FACT: I recently learned from an actual water ecologist that drinking water from the tap is actually safer and better for you than drinking out of plastic bottles. So, as long as you have running water (that is relatively clean), you should have no problem with access to water. 

A lot of the foods I eat normally have not been flying off the shelves. Surprisingly, most people are reaching for the canned foods and pasta. Stay away from canned veggies and fruits. They are usually full of preservatives and added sugars. Frozen fruits and veggies are just as shelf stable as the canned products. 

Just to throw this out there. I usually eat chickpea pasta, which is also a great alternative to regular pasta. And it has been FULLY stocked every time I have gone, like people are afraid of it. It’s full of protein and fiber. I personally love the brand Eat Banza. There are other brands too, but that’s a personal fave. I’ve tricked my family several times because it tastes so similar to regular pasta. 

Eating out of boredom Tips
This is an easy habit to fall into, especially when binge watching a Netflix show or hanging out in your pajamas all day. Some things you can do to combat eating out of boredom or mindlessly binging in front of the TV.

  1. Read a book. Divert your attention elsewhere if you find yourself getting up to go to the kitchen when you just ate 30 minutes ago. 
  2. Eat a snack that will give you a bang for your buck. Any of the above listed or snack on some light popcorn if you feel like mindlessly eating. 
  3. THINK before you eat. Check in with yourself and say “Listen,______. Are you eating this because you are hungry or are you looking for something to do?”
  4. Keep yourself busy with something that you’ve always wanted to get done. Somehow I feel lazier with the extra time, but if I remind myself that this is a good time to do something that I’ve had on my “to do” list then it helps me get off the couch. Even just for a bit. 
  5. Lastly, don’t obsess during this time. We are all going through a rough time and it is okay if your weight changes because you don’t have access to a gym or the best quality food you can find. Don’t be hard on yourself. We’re all going through it and weight fluctuations are normal during times of stress.

Stress and weight gain I can’t “stress” this enough (muahaha). Stress is not helping us ward off the quarantine 15, my friends. There are countless things that we could be stressing about right now. “Am I getting enough to eat? Am I gaining weight? Will this ever end? How will I lose this weight? What do I eat to fight off Coronavirus?”

Let me start by saying that the more we stress, the more we diminish our immune system and drive up our hormonal levels, which in turn, aides in fat storage. When your body goes into a heightened stress state, it’s main goal is to keep you surviving. Fat storage has always been a great way for our ancestors to survive during tough times. Stress also raises cortisol levels, which dips our immune system response.  

The best way to combat stress is movement. So move even a little bit. Do some yoga, stretch, walk in place, go for a walk outside… anything. This doesn’t include walks to the kitchen and back. 

Comment below if you found this useful! Please like and share my instagram post! 

hi there, i’m michelle

welcome to my little home on the internet! I'm a Registered Dietitian and am here to share with you evidenced based and realistic ways to better your health for the long haul. Here you'll learn ways to eat that are both practical and sustainable. Enjoy!

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New Hampshire

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