Pop quiz: What are the four food groups in the movie Elf? Answer: Candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup. Well, my friends, if this resembles your actual quarantine food groups, it might be time to reign it in.
We may have taken just a little bit of liberty with our eating habits over the past 2 months and gone into vacation mode with our nutrition. A break from everyday routines often equals a temporary change in our eating habits. A little chocolate here and some chips there is ok for an occasional treat. But after a couple of months, you might be starting to feel the weight of your decisions (see what I did there?)
First and foremost, don’t beat yourself up. We’ve been coping with a stressful time full of change and a time of change is the easiest time for bad habits to creep in. But, the good news is, you’ve got the power to turn this bus around. It’s time to add some success habits back into your nutrition and start focusing on foods for nourishment again. Getting back into the groove of healthy eating and exercise is way easier after 2 months than it is after 6 months or a year. So there’s no better time than right now to get those success habits going.
Take a look at what you’ve been eating and see where you can clean it up step by step. Maybe this week you replace your after dinner cookies with an apple and a walk. (For a little inspiration, check out this Time article about how walking for 15 minutes after a meal benefits your blood sugar and digestion.) Then next week, you cut down on the soft drinks or beer and replace them with water. And the following week, start adding salads to your dinner. Sneak those success habits back in the same way the bad habits crept in.
Speaking of salads, I know there have been concerns about eating fresh fruits and veggies that have been sitting out on shelves at grocery stores. Some people are wiping them down with Lysol or scrubbing them with soap and water. This is a totally understandable thought process but I have more good news: it’s completely unnecessary.
According to this article published by the Huffington Post, experts actually warn against bathing your veggies in soap or lysol. “Based on research related to foodborne illnesses and other viruses, somewhere between 90% and 99% of what’s on the produce can be removed with running water, explains Ben Chapman, a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University.” Soap doesn’t do any better than that, and what’s more, digesting soap can make you sick and even mimic coronavirus symptoms. So just give it a good rinse with water and you can enjoy your fresh foods with confidence.
If you can implement these success habits at home now, it will help balance things out when our next healthy eating battle begins: the reopening of restaurants and bars. But once you have the confidence to replace failure habits with successful ones, you’ll be up for the challenge.