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Some strategies to help stay focused on keeping good nutritional habits during lockdown….

With the lockdown period continuing it is easy to lose focus on what your goals were a few weeks ago for a variety of different reasons such as: there being a different structure to your day, work routine, waiting for fertility treatment to start or resume again. This is where some people are finding it difficult and some bad habits are starting to creep in such as eating more, snacking more, eating and drinking the wrong things and not being able to do as much exercise. Others are feeling anxious. Try to keep in your mind that at some point fertility treatment will start again and give yourself the goal of getting and (keeping) in the best health you can leading up to when it does as this will help give you the best chance of success.

Here are a few strategies that may help to stay on track

  • Include a good range of fresh, nutrient dense, wholefood of a variety of colours in your diet to obtain a wide range of nutrients to support the body and mind. Try to include at least 7 portions of fruit and vegetables a day (these may be frozen). Easy ways to reach this amount are to make soups, smoothies, salads and stir fries for example.
  • A healthy body and mind require a good blood sugar balance as if this is not balanced moods and hormones can be affected. Eating slow release complex carbohydrates helps to achieve this balance (sweet potatoes, vegetables, oats, wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, brown rice) rather than fast releasing carbohydrates (white bread, biscuits, cakes, fizzy drinks, sugary cereals, crisps, sweets).
  • Try to aim for 3 distinct meals a day and for any snacks in between to be healthy such as vegetables/nuts/seeds and low sugar fruits (berries, apples and pears are great). Don’t eat near a computer – take yourself away and chew your food well to obtain nutrients from your food and actually try to enjoy it.
  • Aim to consume some protein with slow releasing carbohydrates in each meal, as this slows down the release of sugar from the carbohydrate component of your food. This could be eggs with a small slice of seeded toast or yoghurt, with fruit, honey and nuts at breakfast for example, nuts and seeds added to porridge or avocado and egg on wholemeal toast for lunch.
  • Keep hydrated! Sometimes we think we are hungry when we are actually thirsty! Aim for 1.5- 2 litres of water a day. A slice of lemon or cucumber with some mint in water makes for a refreshing change.
  • Eat some good fats – cell membranes, hormones and your brain needs them! Try to eat oily fish twice a week (salmon, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, trout, herring) and have nuts and seeds as snacks. Walnuts are particularly high in Omega 3, so good to have as quick snack or on natural yoghurt for breakfast drizzled with honey. Olive oil and avocado’s are great too as they contain a healthy fat called monounsaturated fat.
  • Magnesium rich foods and B vitamins are good for anxiety so try to include dark green leafy vegetables (broccoli, spinach, kale, rocket), meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, beans, avocado, dark chocolate, legumes and wholegrains.

Other tips…

  • Try to get into a good regular sleep routine too – 8-9 hours of good quality sleep will help enormously with mood and your health in general. Try to go to bed around the same time and get up around the same time, even if it is the weekend.
  • Exercise – try to do something you enjoy each day for at least 30 minutes (depending on your lockdown restrictions).
  • Chat to a friend or family member each day even if for a few minutes.
  • Make time to relax – have a nice warm bath, try some meditation or yoga if you don’t already or take up a new hobby to divert your mind – this will help reduce anxiety.
  • Keep a good routine as this will make you feel more in control of what you are doing.

Text created by Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy) for Clínica Tambre