Kimball: 5 nutrition tips for quarantine

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 22, 2020

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While quarantined for the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s important to eat healthily. Ochsner registered dietician and Eat Fit founder Molly Kimball shares five easy ways to eat healthy during quarantine.

  1. Look for nutritious alternatives to crave-worthy favorites.
  • When you’re sick, tired or bored, you likely reach for something carb-y, salty or sweet and not at all nutritious. Acknowledge your weaknesses and be ready for them. Surround yourself with healthier versions of your favorites:
    • Ice cream – There are many varieties of higher-protein, lower sugar ice creams. Better yet, make your own frozen yogurt pops with Greek yogurt and frozen fruit – blend it just like a smoothie, then add to popsicle molds or small, disposable cups and freeze.
    • Chocolate – Look for at least 70 percent dark chocolate.
    • Crunchy – Try Beanitos instead of tortilla chips. Replace saltines with Triscuit Thin Crisps. Mary’s Gone Crackers and Van’s Crackers are great gluten-free choices.
    • Pasta – Try higher fiber, higher protein options like chickpea pasta, spiralized zucchini (found in freezer section) or spaghetti squash. Download Ochsner’s Eat Fit smartphone app for recipes, brand-specific shopping guides and more.
  1. Pack in the probiotics
  • Probiotics are good bacteria that offer several health benefits, including immune system support. They occur naturally in fermented foods, such as Greek yogurt (look for plain low-fat Greek yogurt), sauerkraut (look for refrigerated kinds or make your own) and kombucha (look for brands that have Kombucha Culture at the top of the ingredient list).
  1. Stay hydrated
  • Staying well-hydrated is essential for energy, focus and alertness, plus it helps thin out congestion, flush out germs, and keep your digestion and immune system running smoothly. Consume for half of your body weight in ounces of fluid (80 fluid ounces for a 160-pound person). Reaching your fluid goal is easier than you think: soups, smoothies and Greek yogurt count toward your total. Sugar-free sports drinks and electrolyte tablets add flavor and minerals (I like BODYARMOR Lite and Nuun tablets). Squeeze a little lemon, lime or orange into your water or tea for flavor and vitamin C.
  1. Don’t forget the produce
  • Nutrient-rich fresh produce may have taken a back seat for you, but keep in mind that frozen vegetables and fruits can be just as nutritious, if you look for varieties without added sauces, salt and sugar.
  • Turn frozen spinach into creamed spinach by adding low-fat Greek yogurt. Riced cauliflower, spiralized zucchini and ancient grain blends are now available in the freezer aisle of most supermarkets.
  1. Eat to keep stress at bay
  • How we fuel our bodies impacts our stress levels. Minimize alcohol, sugars and white carbs.
  • Keep an eye on your caffeine intake, as too much can leave us feeling restless and frenetic. Limiting or omitting caffeine after lunchtime can lead to a successful night’s sleep.

Molly Kimball is a registered dietician. She is the nutrition manager and founder of Ochsner Eat Fit. To learn more about COVID-19 updates at Ochsner, visit