With more time at home and increased anxiety and boredom during the pandemic, many people’s eating habits suffered over the last year. As we mark one year of the pandemic and look forward to better days to come, commit to healthy eating habits. Here are some tips to improve your own nutrition.
Eat mindfully. Separate where you eat from where you work, and banish distractions such as email, social media and television while you’re eating. When you are distracted, meals become less enjoyable and there’s a much greater tendency to overeat.
Shop mindfully. Make those visits to the grocery store count; stock your kitchen and freezer with healthy go-to options such as dried beans, whole wheat pasta and crackers, nuts and nut butters and fruits and vegetables.
Elizabeth Voyles, MS, RDN, LDN, a clinical dietician in the NCH Weight Management Clinic, suggests, “When ordering take-out to support local restaurants, choose meals that are grilled, steamed or baked rather than fried. Swap out sides like fries for fruit, salad or a baked potato. Many restaurants offer nutrition information online, so check it out before you order. Choose meals with less saturated fat, sugar and sodium when possible.”
For those who are seated at a desk during the workday, Kimberly Hammon, MS, RD, LDN, CDCES, a registered dietician for the NCH Weight Management Clinic, recommends, “Try to add movement each hour or build some physical activity into each day, even just a simple walk outside. Remember, food is fuel for your body, so fuel it well.”
Rather than emotional eating when you’re anxious or feeling lonely, Hammon says, “Call a friend or a family member, even if you can’t see them. Try not to turn to food as your emotional friend.”
Above all, these expert dieticians offer words of encouragement. “Give yourself some grace and remember it is a lifestyle change. Healthy eating is a marathon, not a sprint. Take baby steps and introduce one healthy food to your meals daily.”
Corn & Quinoa Bowl with Chicken
Recipe courtesy of MINDFUL by Sodexo
Prep time: four to five minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Yield: four servings Serving size: one bowl includes one cup quinoa/corn mixture, 1/4 cup cucumber, four to five slices of chicken, 1/4 avocado, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of sauce
½ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 scallion, white and light green part, dark greens sliced and reserved for garnish
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus 4 lime wedges, divided
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
1-pound skinless boneless chicken breast, pounded to ½-inch thickness
3 ears corn, shucked
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¾ cup pre-rinsed quinoa
½ English cucumber, chopped
2 medium radishes, thinly sliced
1 ripe avocado, sliced
Place the cilantro, basil, scallion, ¼ cup of the oil, the 1 tablespoon of lime juice, and ½ teaspoon of the salt along with 2 tablespoons water, in the small bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth.
Brush the chicken and the corn with the remaining tablespoon of oil and season them with the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt. Then season the chicken with the black pepper and the cumin. Grill the chicken and the corn over a medium high heat until the corn is tender and lightly charred all around and the chicken is cooked through, 4-5 minutes per side for the chicken and about 15 minutes total for the corn, turning it every 3-4 minutes so it is evenly cooked. Allow the chicken and the corn to rest of 5 minutes, then slice the chicken and cut the kernels off of the corn. The sauce, chicken and corn may be prepared up to three days ahead. Bring to room temperature before serving.
When ready to serve, put the quinoa and 1 ¼ cup of water into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, 12-15 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Stir in the corn. Divide the quinoa/corn mixture among 4 bowls. Arrange the chicken slices, cucumber, radishes, and avocado on top. Drizzle with the sauce and garnish with scallion greens and lime wedges.