Healthy Eating in Times of Stress | Community | Advice | Residents
2020 brought unique challenges for maintaining healthy eating habits, but 2021 brings new opportunities to rewrite the narrative of your health story. Consider the following tips on what, where, and how to eat healthy during times of stress to fulfill your new year goals.
1. What to eat
Comfort foods such as burgers, pasta, and pizza, are an easy go-to when experiencing stress, but these high-sugar low-fiber foods can increase chronic inflammation leading to greater health problems down the road. According to the USDA Dietary Guidelines, a healthy diet includes the following:
- Lots of fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Low-fat or fat-free dairy
- Seafood and plant proteins
2. Where to source
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, problems in the food supply chain were amplified and some grocery shelves went bare. Because of this, community supported agriculture has risen, and people are increasingly seeking locally grown ingredients that are fresh, safe, and healthy. There is a variety of farmers’ markets around Portland and across the US. You can learn more about Portland’s local markets here, or find a market closest to you here.
3. How to prepare
How food is prepared can greatly contribute to how healthy the meal is. Low-fat cooking, retaining nutrients, and cutting down salt are all ways to prepare food geared towards a healthy diet.
- For a low-fat option, reduce your use of oil by utilizing cooking sprays, or cook in liquids such as stock, lemon juice, vinegar, or water.
- Water-soluble vitamins can be destroyed during preparation and cooking. Minimize nutrient loss by microwaving or steaming vegetables instead of boiling them.
- Salt is commonly used as a flavor enhancer, but research suggests that a high salt diet could contribute to a range of health problems. Reduce salt intake by substituting for herbs that have beneficial health properties.
Do you have a favorite tip or trick for eating healthier in 2021? Share your insights!