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How to eat healthy in the pandemic, over the holidays, and always

by | Dec 15, 2021 | Hospital News

With the holiday season upon us, as well as potential COVID-19 surges, the likelihood of poor eating choices becomes more pronounced. Our relationship with food has been severely tested throughout the pandemic.
“The enduring disease has created more stress and exacerbated sedentary lifestyles that have led to an increase in unhealthy eating habits” says Daneydy Hernandez, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at North Texas Medical Center.
According to a University of Minnesota study conducted last year on the pandemic’s impact on eating behavior, several different kinds of unhealthy eating were found among those who participated in the study. That included mindless eating and snacking, increased food consumption and eating to cope with stressful events.
“Guilt and shame can be huge obstacles to overcome. At this moment in time, make your health a priority, take baby steps at a time, and don’t try to change everything at once,” Hernandez said.
Nutrition experts recommend the following to prevent an expanding waistline and the consequences of unhealthy eating problems:
● Start with modest goals- Set realistic goals. Make small changes to your daily eating habits. Instead of eating fast food three times a week, reduce take-out food to once a week.
● Eliminate high -carb, sugar sweetened drink and snacks – Consumption of ‘added’ sugars, particularly in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages, is associated with weight gain and insulin resistance which leads to diabetes.
● Don’t use food as a coping mechanism –Instead of trying to relieve stress with a bowl of ice cream, engage in a hobby such as playing cards or crafting.
● Create an environment for success- Remove processed foods and sweets from your home and replace them with healthy snacks such as nuts, hummus, and fresh fruit. Have healthy snacks available and visible for when hunger strikes.
● Emphasize health, not weight- “I encourage my patients to focus on non-scale victories, we want to improve health regardless of the number on the scale,” Hernandez said. “When you’re eating more nutritious food, you’re bound to feel more energetic and stronger.”

{Daneydy Hernandez is a {Registered Dietitian Nutritionist} on staff at {North Texas Medical Center in Gainesville, TX}. The hospital and its staff are dedicated to improving the lives of patients and the communities we serve. This article provides timely, topical and informative content focused on how to stay safe and healthy in the pandemic and beyond.

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