Over the past few months you may have found that your eating habits have changed along with the new routine. For some, that may have meant more time to consider what you eat each day and trying out new recipes for cooking and baking. For others, it might have meant that time and options are more restricted than previously. Either way, getting our intake of food and fluids is important to our current and future health and wellbeing. Below are some key tips for managing your nutritional intake whilst working from home.
Remembering to stay hydrated
Hydration is vital to our health and helps us to maintain our concentration particularly if we are having to stare at the computer for longer periods of time than usual! The minimum recommendation is 6-8 cups of fluid a day. This should ideally be from water, however lower fat milks, lower sugar or sugar-free drinks, tea and coffee are also included in this. Fruit juice and smoothies also count, however remember that they contain sugar which can damage teeth and should therefore be limited to approximately 150ml a day.
As we have experienced some sunny weather recently, you should also look to increase your fluid intake if you are spending periods of time outside in the sunshine, particularly if exercising.
Tea and coffee count towards our fluid intake, however caffeine intake should be limited to 400mg a day. On average a cup of tea would have about 40mg of caffeine and instant coffee about 80mg. However, this can vary depending on the type of tea/coffee and caffeine is also in coke and food items such as chocolate.
Managing your nutrition
Try to get as many fruit and vegetables into your diet as possible. These provide fibre and a range of vitamins and minerals to help the immune system. A colourful plate, particularly when including a range of vegetables (not colourful pink wafer biscuits!) tends to ensure a range of nutrients are eaten. The NHS Eatwell Guide may also help you to consider how many portions of each food to include in your food and fluid intake.
Increased levels of vitamin D
With the weather sunny at the moment you might be getting increased levels of vitamin D from being outside in the sunshine, however if you are not able to get outside much you may want to consider ways to increase this in your diet, through foods and supplements.
Monitoring your alcohol consumption
As restrictions start to ease and we are able to socialise more with friends and family, consider how much alcohol you are consuming. To reduce health risks, it is recommended that alcohol intake is limited to 14 units a week. This Drink Aware tool is a useful way of checking how many units are in different types of drinks . As a general guide 14 units is the equivalent of six pints of 4% beer and 14 units is the equivalent of six 175ml glasses of 13% wine.
Dr Nicola Arjomandkhah is a Lecturer in Nutrition for Sport, Exercise and Health and Programme Leader for MSc Health and Wellbeing.
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