Staying healthy is more important than ever as the nation tries to minimise the spread of coronavirus by staying home. While the king of lockdown PE lessons Joe Wicks has been helping to keep families fit, his co-author on the upcoming Wean in 15 cookbook Charlotte Stirling-Reed is giving advice on what to eat to stay well.
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Though Britons are abiding by the two metre social distancing rules in lockdown, it’s a lot harder to be healthy when you’re less than two metres away from the kitchen cupboards and all the snacks and treats they hold.
With many people having to work from home as businesses shut their doors and kids being home all day as schools remain closed, it’s even more tempting to reach for snacks throughout the day.
However, Charlotte Stirling-Reed, Baby and Child Nutritionist who recently partnered with AVEENO® Baby, says snacks aren’t necessarily a bad thing – it’s just a case of picking the right ones.
The nutritionist, who is launching the baby cookbook Wean in 15 with The Body Coach in the coming weeks, has revealed her go-to snacks for all the family during lockdown.
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“During lockdown it’s really hard to always be eating well. We eat for many reasons, not just for hunger/nutrition,” commented Charlotte.
“However, it’s good to try and get yourself and your family into a bit of a routine around meals and snacks – even more so when we’re locked in and always have food available.”
The key is to see snacks as a chance to up your nutrient intake throughout the day, rather than hitting the biscuit tin and mindlessly scoffing sugary treats.
“Ideally we don’t want these to just be ‘empty calories’, as snacks can be a really good way to get extra nutrients into your diet and help to offer fibre, vitamins and minerals,” explained Charlotte.
So what is the best snack to eat if you’re peckish in between meals?
“I like to think about snacks as ‘mini-meals’ such as oatcakes with peanut butter and veggie sticks,” Charlotte advised.
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Oatcakes with nut butter are a winning snack combination; oatcakes have a low glycaemic index, which means they’re particularly helpful in managing blood sugar when paired with good quality fats and proteins such as your go-to peanut butter.
Adding vegetable crudites will add vital vitamins and fibre, making it the perfect snack by keeping you fuller for longer as well as providing health benefits.
Charlotte also recommended yoghurt with a sprinkling of oats and fresh fruits, or beans on toast topped with cheese for extra protein – or even the classic, hummus with vegetable sticks.
The colourful snacks will help the family to avoid filling up on chocolate and crisps. “No snacks are necessarily ‘bad’ snacks because healthy eating is all about moderation and balance. However, grazing on these foods all day might make you less interested in mealtimes and also mean you’re consuming less in the way of nutrients such as vitamin C, iron, fibre and protein – all of which we need to keep ourselves healthy.”
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The registered nutritionist is a big fan of oats as a family-friendly food to have in the kitchen cupboard, and even suggested parents could cook up their own oatcakes and pitta breads with the children to get them involved in a fun way.
“I recently partnered with AVEENO® Baby on a campaign to support parents feeding their little ones during lockdown, with ways of keeping food fun when supermarkets aren’t fully stocked. I baked some really delicious blueberry muffins which were no added sugar, dairy and egg free. They included oats, which is an ingredient I cook with a lot.”
Though many baking ingredients have been scarce as supermarkets struggle to keep up with the demand in lockdown, oats are one item that seems to be in stock.
“Oats are one of my favourite store cupboard staples. They are great for porridge, making bread, baking or adding to puddings for example – they are such a versatile ingredient, don’t cost a lot of money and are usually (even right now!) easily available,” agrees Charlotte.
But what else should Britons be adding to their shopping trolleys to stay healthy?
The influencer suggested topping up on more versatile groceries that won’t go out of date.
“I would recommend finding the frozen aisle and stocking up on fruit and veg (or cutting up fresh produce and freezing yourself). They last such a long time in your freezer and are so useful to easily increase nutrients in every meal!”
Meanwhile her top tip for making sure the kids aren’t constantly expecting snacks is to create a routine in the same way that they would have had at school with break times.
“Try to fit your mealtimes into a bit of a structure – this can really help you and young kids to know when to expect meal and snacks times, but also to allow them to recognise and respond to hunger cues.”
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