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Tracy Palmer: Five tips for eating well at home

Author: UNB Alumni

Posted on Jun 30, 2020

Category: Insights

Before becoming a naturopathic doctor, Tracy Palmer (BN’06) was a registered nurse in internal medicine and oncology. Since experiencing her own health challenges and discovering naturopathic medicine, she has been practicing as a Naturopathic Doctor since 2012 and is founder of Roots to Branches Whole Health Clinic.

We are all having to adjust to a new normal during COVID-19 and social isolation. People are spending a lot more time at home, whether that is working from home, homeschooling, and/or managing family life at home. With this extra home dwelling, the urge for more snacking, junk food, and less frequent trips to the grocery store can make choosing healthy food options a little more challenging than usual. Now, more than ever, we need to prioritize foods that will fuel our health and well-being, and that’s why I am excited to share my top five tips to help you stay on track:

Eat to promote blood sugar balance

You may be less apt to feel hungry and peckish for snacks if you have eaten a solid meal that promotes healthy blood sugar balance. Three main components to include in your meals to promote blood sugar balance and help you feel fuller longer include protein, healthy fat, and fibre.

Choose lean proteins, predominantly produce, legumes, and some whole grains for fibre, and avocado, nuts, seeds, and olives or olive oil for healthy fats. Fresh foods are a great option, but frozen produce is also an excellent, nutrient-dense, convenient choice during these times of less frequent trips to the grocery store.

Set yourself up for success

If you know you will reach for more refined sugary treats if they are easily accessible, avoid bringing them into your house!

Practice eating mindfully

There have been a lot of changes going on and with that can come heightened emotions. Often, this can result in turning to food for comfort. When you are having cravings, try to slow down and ask yourself: Am I hungry? What emotion am I feeling? If you are unsure, I often encourage clients to have a glass of water or an herbal tea first. If you are indeed hungry, would a healthy snack satisfy you?

Some options include: trail mix, cheese and grapes, apple with almond butter, yogurt and berries, dark chocolate (70% cocoa) with walnuts, or veggies and hummus. My last mindful tip? If you decide you want to have a treat and indulge in some comfort food, have it! Portion it out, actually taste it, enjoy it, and then move on! Drop the guilt with your food choices.

Plan your meals ahead of time

Pre-social isolation I was a big advocate of meal planning, but with less trips to the grocery stores, I’d say this is one of the best ways to stay on track with healthy choices. Having a plan of what you are going to eat for the day and week can save you from making food choices that your body doesn’t feel good about, and save you time, money, and food waste.

For more on my top 8 tips on how to start meal planning and to grab your free meal planning template, see Meal Planning 101: Eating Healthy Meals Made Easy.

Nurture other aspects of your health

When we are feeling mentally well and rested, we are better equipped to make healthy food choices. That means, focus on getting good quality sleep (ideally minimum 7 hours), incorporate daily movement (outdoors if you can), and prioritize stress management by staying connected with friends and family (with proper social distancing of course), exploring your creativity, and/or practicing mindfulness and meditation.

For more information on Dr. Tracy Palmer ND, or naturopathic medicine in general, check out her clinic or email tracy@rootstobranchesnb.com.