Lockdown & Diet: The Challenges & their Solutions

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Have you heard of the term “burnout” before, or is this your first time? Well, let me tell you a bit about it. Burnout is an emotional or mental state of exhaustion, which is caused mainly due to prolonged stress. If you are too emotionally drained out or unable to meet your constant demands, you will feel burnout. You know where I am going right?

With COVID taking a toll in our lives, people are feeling burned out more than usual. This work from the home scenario is too much to take, especially when you were used to visiting office premises five days a week! The stress of not living a normal life can also cause burnout. So you need to work in some ways, which will help you to keep burnouts at bay!

When people feel emotionally distressed, they always move towards junk food to ease out the pain a bit. With this work-from-home scenario, you always feel like munching on something, even when you are not hungry! Now, that’s a devil in disguise! You don’t know how much calories you are taking in. Let me remind you that being obese will also work as a fuel to your burnout. So, you must start focusing on other ways, where you can use your hunger to good use and avoid adding calories in your diet plan!

What to look for before grabbing a bite?

So, you are hungry (maybe not, who knows!). You saw some good food placed right in front of you and thought of getting a bite. Yes, they are easy to get as you need to open a pack and pour the content into your mouth. But are they healthy? The best way is to stay prepared before and not wait for the last minute meal decision. If you can create a chart of what is best for your health beforehand, you can start arranging for the food accordingly.

What to get for snacks?

Now, in between your main meals, you feel like the snack demon is haunting you. You need to get something in your tummy fast! What will be your options then? Planning for that bag of chips? Hell, no! Let me guide you through some healthy alternatives.
• Why not mix some herbs with hung curd and have it as a healthy substitute? It will taste yum, trust me!
• Then you have home-made roasted namkeens or even sprouts mixed with onion and tomatoes pieces and a bit of chat masala.
• You can try out soup for a light snack, just before you have your dinner. Another great snack option will be boiled oats groats.
• For dessert option, you can opt for fruits and seeds instead of ice-cream, if you don’t want to mess up your body shape!

If nothing suits you, take fennel seeds and munch on them! It surely gives you a refreshing feel!

Purpose of single bowl meals:

I would suggest you go for single bowl meals during this lockdown as well. Want to know why? Let me explain. You can always try and add some different ingredients in a bowl and try fusion meals for a change. You never know, but you might like it more. You can try out new dishes every day and don’t have to go for the conventional daal chawal all the time.

Want to know the best part? You don’t have to clean multiple utensils once you are done cooking and eating! Just a bowl and that’s it! You are done for good.

Try out batch cooking for a change:

If you are too emotionally stressed out because of complete lockdown, then try cooking with your near and dear ones! Maybe it will invoke a new feeling, which you haven’t felt before! Why not try out batch cooking with them. Batch cooking helps you to save some time and cook meals faster. Now the real question is how to prepare for it! Let me tell you some secrets.

• You need an onion, garlic, ginger and tomato in most Indian cooking, right? So, why not cook them together and freeze it later. So, whenever you need it in gravy, take some portions out and put them in the pan!
• Indian spices are known worldwide for their flavours. So, you can easily try to mix and match different spices for creating that wonderful dish in the end.
• No one likes to cook every day, isn’t it? So, prepare a meal in huge batches and then keep them frozen in glass containers. You are sorted for a few days!
• Cooked rajma, beans and Quinoa are easy to store and can be used anytime in your meal, to make it protein-enriched.
• Moreover, you can par-boil the vegetables and keep them in the fridge. Whenever you need to put some in your soup or salad, take it out, warm it up and you are done!

Be sure to maintain hygiene all the time!

Whether you are preparing meals for just a person or your entire family, you have to maintain hygiene. There is no second option to that, especially with this pandemic. So, let me tell you some sanitization tricks to follow, every time you are in the kitchen.
• You can get some fruits and vegetable washing liquids in the market these days. Once you get your groceries, soak them in this disinfect water for some time and then rinse them with plain water. It helps to kill viruses and bacteria.
• Remember that your pantry area and the refrigerator should be properly sanitized more than once daily. You are at home, right? That won’t be difficult for you.
• To retain the freshness of fruits and vegetables for long, try to retain them in zip lock bags or paper bags. It will keep them safe from harmful bacteria for sure!

How can food help create a positive mind set?

Everyone loves to get praise, especially when they are down. If you know you can cook well, then why not feed your family and get some “wow” in return? Remember that cooking is not the end of it. A perfect presentation can also uplift your mind every time you see your creation.
You can try making simple accompaniments like chutneys and salads to go with the main meal. That will make your kids happy! Make sure to wash your dish every time before serving food, and even before re-serving any dish. Try sprinkling some finely chopped coriander on top of your dish to make it pop out a bit. You can also use dried herbs like Kasuri methi for the same!

Let’s talk about a perfect meal chart:

You might be a bit confused now regarding the kind of meal chart you should follow. Let me remind you that meal charts are subject to differ from one person to another. But, I can share some of the basic needs for you to try!

Water:

You can take haldi water, dhaniya water, meethi water and karri patta water whenever you can. Each one of them has anti-biotic, body cleansing and antioxidant features to them.

Breakfast:

For your breakfast, you can add some of the simple dishes on your table. Those are:
• Sprouts
• Milk and fruits
• Poha
• Egg white with toast
• Oats, and more

Lunch:

You have so many healthy options right in front of you, when you are thinking about lunch! You can try having Roti with veggies and salad or can opt for brown rice with dal. Some prefer idli or plain dosa with sambar as an alternative. For some meat in your plate, you can go for chicken salad with sautéed vegetables!

Evening tea:

After a fulfilling lunch, now it is time to focus towards your evening tea. You can have your tea accompanied by some murmura chat or some biscuits. If you are hungry, go for dhokla, hung curd with fruits, sprouts chat or even mix seeds for a change.

Dinner:

For dinner, I will suggest a soup first. It can be anything from clear chicken soup to vegetable or tomato soup. Then you can have roasted or grilled chicken with some vegetables. If you are not into meat, paneer will be a great alternative to cover your dinner time. Don’t make it too heavy!

The final say:

So, what have we learned today? Always pre-empt for the unwanted hunger pangs. Try out batch cooking for some relaxing time with family. Watch out for your hygiene and always focus on the essentials. Staying fit in this pandemic is rightfully in your hands. So, you need to try your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle and don’t let COVID bother you much!