Nutrition, Fitness, and Wellness articles for busy women who want to lead a healthy, fulfilled life they love.
This month, even more than usual, health is at the forefront of almost all of our minds. In the face of our current COVID-19 pandemic, you might be wondering: How can I prioritize my own personal health in a realistic and healthy way as the world faces this large-scale health crisis?
Let me start by saying that this isn’t an article promising that you can healthy-eat your way out of catching COVID-19. That would be silly. This article is also not an invitation to panic. Panic is both unhelpful and unhealthy.
What I do want to talk about in this article, though, is how you can set your immune system up for success through proper nutrition and stress management—in the face of the coronavirus, the flu, or virtually any other health issue that comes your way.
You probably know by now that my favorite motto is, “Diets don’t work.” And diets definitely don’t work when it comes to keeping your stress levels down! When you’re trying to boost your immune system, one of the best things you can do is minimize your stress wherever possible. That means this is NOT the time to be stressing about every single calorie and making food decisions that leave you feeling grumpy and miserable.
I’m not giving you carte blanche to eat all the junk food your local grocery store has left on the shelves! However, if you find yourself craving certain comfort foods that leave you feeling calmer, warmer, and happier, then I say there’s no huge issue with treating yourself to some of those comfort foods right now.
Now, that said—comfort foods don’t HAVE to be unhealthy! If you find yourself craving something sweet, fatty, salty, carby, or otherwise not-super-healthy, I’d challenge you to think of ways to make your favorite comfort food a little more nutritionally well-rounded.
For example: I always crave a great, hearty stew this time of year. Especially given the still-chilly temperatures up here in New England and our recent need to hunker down and stay home, I’ve been pining for a bowl of delicious, savory, rich, comforting stew.
“Stew” can mean a lot of things. For me, I opt for lots of lean meat, beans, hearty veggies like carrots and kale, a garlic and onion base, tomato, red wine for flavor . . . Yumm. I make a point to use heavy, starchy ingredients like potatoes sparingly to keep my stew on the lighter side, and I don’t gorge myself on bread or cheese with the stew. In that way, I can enjoy my favorite comfort food in abundance without having to stress too much about how all that stew is going to impact my progress toward my health goals.
Another great example is one of my family’s other favorites, lasagna! Our trick for “healthy-izing” our lasagna is to add in lots of chopped veggies, use different types of veggie or quinoa-based noodles, be a little lighter with the cheese, and select sauce that doesn’t have added sugar. Unless you’re the one doing the cooking, you really can’t taste the difference!
I hope you feel inspired to rethink some of your go-to comfort meals! Post your favorite foods in the comments section, and let’s see if we can brainstorm some easy ways to make them a little more nutritionally sound!
Until next time, stay healthy, safe, and sane! And feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about any of the info above. :)