10 healthy eating tips from UAE Team Emirates’ nutritionist

UAE Team Emirates

Being cooped up at home for weeks now means that health and diet are arguably more important than ever. Extra time spent at home means easy access to some of our favourite treats, increased boredom and ultimately more snacking.

To keep your body healthy during lockdown, you need to stay active, drink enough water and eat the right food. Luckily, there are many ways to do that during lockdown – UAE Team Emirates’ nutritionist, Gorka Prieto talks through 10 tips which are super easy to follow.

1) Maximise your supply of vitamins and minerals by eating 3-4 servings of fruit and 2 servings of vegetables per day. They will support your immune system, provide the fibre you need for the proper functioning of your intestine, increase hydration and are also low in calorie count.

Tip: Berries, Strawberries and Spinach are two products loaded with nutrients and antioxidants which are very important during lockdown.

2) Stay on top of your hydration. If you do a workout, try to hydrate yourself with 500-700ml of water/h + mineral salts. If the session lasts more than an hour, add 40g of carbohydrates before in the form of an energy bar, isotonic gel, isotonic drink + 700ml of water/h. Weighing yourself before and after doing a workout is a good strategy to know how much weight you have lost and to know how much you need to rehydrate.

Tip: Multiply the weight lost in Kg by 1.5 and the result will be the liquid you must drink to properly rehydrate.

3) Try to ingest a minimum of 30-40 g of protein divided into 4-5 intakes per day. This should be enough to preserve your lean tissue (muscle mass) and help with recovery after each workout.

4) Try to periodize carbohydrate intake based on exercise workload. If you do moderate/high intensity exercise, try to eat whole carbohydrates at each meal of the day (rice, potato, bread, sweet potato, pasta, cereals, etc.). If you do not exercise, try to decrease the amount of these during the day.

5) Consuming fat is also important: consuming healthy fat such as nuts, blue fish, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, is important for the proper hormonal function of your body.

6) Try to buy foods that are low in calorie density. Avoid all ultra-processed foods and replace with quality foods such as vegetables, nuts, fermented dairy products, eggs, fish, lean meats, and legumes.

7) Try to consume blue fish 3 times a week (salmon, mackerel, horse mackerel, sardines, tuna, etc). Foods high in omega 3 (EPA and DHA) contain many anti-inflammatory and immunological benefits that will keep your immune system strong during lockdown.

8) Make your menus in advance. Not improvising is the key, having a weekly menu prepared will help you not to be tempted to eat processed and unhealthy food.

9) Avoid vitamin D3 shortage: in the current situation, most of us cannot sunbathe, so it is important that we consume foods rich in vitamin D (vitamin found in fat). Also consider supplementing with vitamin D3 if you are inside all day. 15-20 minutes in the sun is equal to between 1000UI-2000UI/day.

10) Take care of your mind: try to carry out daily physical activity. In addition to keeping your weight stable, it will help you mentally as well. 40-60 minutes a day is enough to maintain healthy physical and psychological levels.