Tips to help you break through the isolation binge

By Morgan Dyer

As boredom continues to grow, many people may find themselves retreating to the kitchen as a way to pass time.

Goulburn Valley Health community dietitian Hannah Vass said it was common for people’s eating patterns to have changed since the pandemic began.

However, everyone is being encouraged to stick to a routine and eat a balanced diet during isolation to enhance their physical, immune and mental health.

“Our life schedules have transformed so it's only natural for our eating patterns to have change too,” Ms Vass said.

“Access to food has changed as well. Some things aren’t available at supermarkets, or shops people normally buy food at have closed,” she said.

Ms Vass said people who found themselves `grazing’ on food during isolation should work to a routine.

“Think about your previous work and study schedules and replicate that at home,” she said.

“Pretend to pack your lunch and only have that food throughout the day.

``People who are working or studying from home are also urged to eat their foods away from screens.

“Being aware of what you’re doing in that moment rather than being distracted also helps with setting up a meal routine,” she said.

“Stepping away from the screen will help with your awareness of what you have just eaten.

“If people do have the opportunity to work away from the dining room or kitchen bench, that will also help reduce temptation.”

However, Ms Vass said isolation did have an upside.

“We (dietitians) always advocate for people to get into the kitchen,” Ms Vass said.

“Isolation is a great opportunity for people to learn how to prepare and cook food at home.

“Home cooking allows people to control what goes into their food.

“Many foods people eat while dining out or takeaway can be high in things like salt, saturated fats and refined sugars,” she said.

Ms Vass said people should aim to eat five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit per day, drink plenty of water and exercise regularly.

“People should remember dried and frozen foods still count towards that daily total,” Ms Vass said.

“If people can't get fresh fruit and veg there are other options people can experiment with,” she said.

Ms Vass said it was important that people ate a balanced diet to help boost their overall health during the pandemic.

“If people do identify that food is becoming a major coping mechanism, it’s not unusual,” Ms Vass said.

“However people should try to keep socially connected using technology and have regular sleeping patterns,” Ms Vass said.

“People should also consider accessing counselling to help manage their stress.”

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