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Nutrition tips for quarantine

In order to contain the spread of the corona virus, healthy people as well as people with symptoms or acute respiratory diseases are asked to stay at home. A healthy and good diet plays a major role in health. Especially at times when the immune system is under increased strain. It is therefore important to remain physically active and take these tips seriously:

General tips

Make a plan - take only what you need

Recently, more reports of hamster purchases have been coming in. Such panicky buying behaviour can have negative consequences. Food prices can rise, we consume in excessive quantities or products are distributed unfairly. Therefore it is advisable to check your own needs and make a plan. Write down what you already have at home, what you still need and what you want to cook for the week. You should also consider the shelf life of the products. This way you can avoid wasting food and give others the opportunity to buy what they still need. Prefer fresh ingredients such as fruit, vegetables and low-fat dairy products with a limited shelf life. We have no shortage. You can also freeze leftovers for another meal so you don't have to throw away food.

Take advantage of the possibility of food deliveries

This can save you a trip to the supermarket. Delivery services offer the delivery of ingredients or fresh meals. The great thing is: many offers are "contactless". This means that there is no interpersonal interaction. And so quarantine and isolation measures can be observed.

Cooking at home

Now that you are spending time at home, you also have enough time to prepare fresh meals or try something new. On the internet you can find several healthy and delicious recipes. You should also pay attention to the portion size. Children need a smaller portion than adults.

Safety in food management

Food safety is a prerequisite for food security and healthy eating. Therefore, adequate hygiene is required when preparing food. Thus, contamination of food and food-borne diseases can be avoided. These principles are most important in hygiene:

  1. Keep hands, kitchen and kitchen utensils clean
  2. Separate raw and cooked food, especially raw meat and fresh goods
  3. Cook food thoroughly
  4. Keep food at a safe temperature 
  5. Use only safe drinking water and safe raw materials

Limit your sugar intake

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that ideally less than 5% of the total energy intake of adults (approx. 6 teaspoons) should be covered by free sugar. If you fancy something sweet, you can replace it with fresh fruit. Other options include frozen fruit (frozen fruit and vegetables have almost as many nutritional values as fresh fruit and vegetables), canned fruit in juice instead of syrup and dried fruit without added sugar. Limit sweetening of food and beverages. You must also be aware that low-fat products (e.g. bread, potatoes, fruit, pulses) contain a lot of sugar. 

Limit your salt intake

Canned or frozen foods and processed foods have an increased salt content. The WHO recommends consuming less than 5 g salt per day. You can do this by rinsing canned foods such as beans with water to remove excess salt. You should also note that pickled foods often have a high salt content. Since most foods are already seasoned or salted, avoid adding salt when cooking and at the dinner table. Instead, try using fresh or dried herbs.This will give the food the missing something. 

Limit your fat intake

The cooking method helps to limit the fat intake. This includes steaming or grilling instead of frying. This is because little or no fat is needed. If necessary, you can use small amounts of oils such as rapeseed, olive or sunflower oil. To limit saturated fats, it is recommended that you cut off excess fat from meat and poultry or eat meat without skin. You should also avoid red and fatty meat, butter and whole milk products, palm oil, coconut oil and bacon more often. Processed and fried foods contain the same amount of fats. This includes baked goods such as cookies, frozen pizzas, crackers and margarine. Minimally processed foods and ingredients are a better option for healthy eating. 

Consume sufficient fibre

Dietary fibres help you digest and ensure a longer feeling of fullness. This way excessive eating can be avoided. A fibre-rich diet includes vegetables, fruit, legumes and wholemeal products. Try to cover each meal with fibre.

Make sure you drink enough fluids

An adequate fluid intake is a major component of our health. If the tap water is of drinking water quality, then you can also use this water. It is not only the healthiest and cheapest option, but also the most sustainable. Because there is no waste. If you want to drink something sweet, you can add fruit such as berries or lemons instead of sweetened drinks. You can also enhance the taste with cucumber or herbs such as mint or rosemary. This not only reduces your sugar consumption, but also your calorie intake. Large amounts of strong coffee, tea and caffeinated lemonades and energy drinks can lead to dehydration. This could affect your sleep. You should therefore prefer smaller amounts.

Avoid or reduce your alcohol consumption

Alcohol has various effects on our body. First, it weakens our immune system, making it difficult for our body to fight infectious diseases such as COVID-19. On the other hand, alcohol has a negative effect on the effect of certain drugs. In addition, alcohol is not necessary for nutrition and is not part of a healthy lifestyle.

Particularly recommended foods

  • Long-life fresh fruit and vegetables: oranges, clementines, grapefruit, bananas, apples, carrots, beets, beetroot, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, ginger and onion
  • Frozen fruit and vegetables: berries, pineapple, and mango
  • Dried wholemeal cereals and root vegetables rich in starch: wholemeal rice and pasta, oat flakes, buckwheat and quinoa, unsalted crackers and wholemeal bread, potatoes, sweet potatoes
  • Dried fruit, nuts and seeds: unsalted and unsweetened walnuts, almonds
  • Eggs
  • Canned vegetables: mushrooms, spinach, peas, tomatoes and green beans
  • Canned fish: tuna, sardines
  • Low-fat milk

If you are looking for healthy and tasty recipes, you can stop by here. The WHO Regional Office for Europe has created recipes in collaboration with Portuguese chef Nuno Queiroz. These can be prepared with easily accessible ingredients.


Enjoy cooking and stay healthy!

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