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Social distancing? Tips for staying healthy. It’s now more important than ever to make sure you and your family are getting a healthy, balanced diet. OK, so you don’t need a medical degree to know that… but healthy and balanced aren’t always the easiest things to achieve if you’re busy self-isolating and your normal routine is all out of sync.

The last thing any of us need right now is to find ourselves reaching to the back of that kitchen cupboard for those crusty old ingredients we never thought we’d have to call upon. No, what we need is practical advice on how to keep everyone on the straight and narrow in terms of what they’re eating.

Here are a few tips Fish is the Dish has put together that hopefully help you to stay nourished until things return to normal.

Lay down the law

When our everyday routine gets interrupted, it’s especially easy to get sucked in to unhealthy eating habits. You might well have found that your home office is in all too tempting a proximity to where you keep the chocolate. Hey, it happens to the best of us. Our tip to combat this is to set out clear rules for yourself, and for the rest of the family if you’re taking care of them too. So, that might be things like;

  • No snacking (or at least planned snacks that are somewhat rationed).
  • Don’t be tempted to eat out of boredom. Easier said than done, especially for kids!
  • Keep your normal mealtimes. Not only will this help curb the snacking, but it’ll help maintain that all important sense of normality.

The time is now for healthy eating

It’s probably pretty obvious to most that it’s absolutely crucial to be taking care of ourselves and others right now. So what should we be eating? Well guidance like getting your five a day (or more) of fruit and vegetables still applies.

Of course if you’re going to be in self-isolation for a while you’ll need some supplies that’ll keep you in good health and also have a long shelf life. Canned or frozen food is perfect for this. Most supermarkets stock a variety of frozen seafood that’s just as good as the fresh stuff in a lot of cases… squid rings, salmon and mussels for example. Usually frozen within a few hours of being caught, all the goodness is locked in from that moment on. This means that you’re getting a healthy dose of the wide ranging nutrients found in seafood, without having to worry about the shelf life, read all about how great frozen fish is here. A little bit of forward thinking is required though, so don’t forget to take your frozen fish out the night before to allow it to defrost, then simply prepare as you would fresh fish.

Canned fish such as mackerel, sardines and tuna also make for a great go-to ingredient for healthy and tasty eating. You can find more info on tinned fish here.

Don’t forget about ‘fresh’

If you’re able to, check to see if your local fishmonger is still open (or doing the rounds if mobile). They may well be doing deliveries, which is handy for those who really can’t leave their house but still want to support a really important facet of local business. Plus you get to enjoy a nice fresh cut of your favourite fish, without having to wait for it to defrost!

Don’t overlook your local chippie either. Reliable food businesses are, of course, taking every measure they can to offer as little interruption as possible to their services whilst making sure their customers can enjoy their food safely. Not only that, but many are upping their delivery services and offering ‘contactless’ handovers.

Most delivery apps offer users the chance to add a ‘note’ to the restaurant, making it easy to let them know to leave your order on the doorstep if you’re not taking any chances. We’re especially proud to see places like Colmans Seafood Temple in South Sheilds putting their customers first – and even offering a discount to those NHS heroes who are no doubt in need of a bit of delicious sustenance at this point. Rosie Ramsay approves too. Excellent work folks!

Convenience is key

If you do find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed with work and taking care of everyone in your household, make sure you’ve got some sustenance that’s not going to be too involved when it comes to cooking. No one wants to be perfecting their soufflé technique when they’ve got a hundred other more important things to do. Boil in the bag or tinned fish make for great fuss-free dishes. Don’t forget your veg and starchy carbs too if you can manage! A well rounded a diet is going to be really helpful to keeping you in , or nursing you back, to full health.

Vitamin D

The weather might be looking like it’s just about to turn a corner and give us some more of that lovely spring sunshine – but since we’ll all be spending the majority of our time indoors, our vitamin D levels may suffer. Vitamin D is makes a significant contribution to how well our immune system functions, so take advantage of seafood such as mackerel and pilchards which are full of the stuff, find more info on that here.

Portion size

Now that many of us have chosen to forgo the gym, we need to reflect that change in our diet. On gym days, we use up more calories than usual. Continuing to feed as if we’re still maintaining the same level of exercise, but without the exercise can result in overeating and weight gain. So even if you’re able to work out at home, make sure your diet (especially your calorie intake) matches your activity level. It’s OK to eat less for now; you’ll get those precious gains back eventually!

That said, staying fit at home isn’t all that difficult. You might need to clear some space first but you’ll find plenty of home workout routines on YouTube (check out The Body Coach for quick targeted workouts that don’t require equipment). And now that all gyms are closed, you may find that your local gym are live streaming of your usual classes so check with them too!