The last year certainly had its challenges, and we’re not out of the woods yet in terms of needing to maintain our social distancing, but it’s looking like we’re going to get through this soon. But many people still suffer from unemployment and underemployment, in addition to the feelings of depression and anxiety that come with isolationism. And with plenty of us being unable to celebrate the holidays with those closest to us, it’s understandable that we’re feeling a little down.
That’s why it’s more important than ever that we support one another. Indeed, the kindness, patience and compassion we’ve seen from the members of our communities has been inspiring and gives us confidence that together we can get through this.
One of the biggest challenges during extended lockdown has been maintaining our physical healthy eating habits and taking care of our bodies. Most leading medical sources agree that on average, we are burning about 400 fewer calories every day than we were at this time last year. On top of that, stress and anxiety about work and isolation from loved ones combined with unfettered all-day access to our cupboards and refrigerators has made overeating a problem for far too many of us.
Here we are again in January, and it’s obvious that weight loss and establishing a fitness routine are likely to be at the top of a record number of New Year’s resolution lists worldwide. If this is you, don’t despair! We’re right there with you. So we thought we’d take this opportunity to share with you some helpful tips and a few healthy recipes to go along with them in order to set you up for success!
Find Ways to Stay Active
The benefits of exercise are well known, but not everyone is aware of how helpful it can be to us, especially in a crisis periods. First, exercise is a very good immunity booster, helping us fight off or (ideally) avoid infection. Secondly, exercise is a mood elevator and powerful reducer of feelings of anxiety and depression.
Some of us sure do miss our gyms and trainers right now. But online, asynchronous workout and exercise programs have exploded in popularity, and the competition between them has made subscription fees more affordable than ever. You can even find some free options online! Finding an “accountabilibuddy” through your personal network or on a local social media group could also help in sticking to the program.
It’s also important to find ways to exercise that you enjoy or at least feels less like a chore while you’re getting into your new routine. This can mean finding a new solo sport or physical activity you like or trying different workout channels and coaches until you find one that “clicks” for you and your needs.
Make a Meal Plan
Establishing a plan composed of healthy, minimally processed and lower-carb foods (instead of reaching for the cupboard each time hunger strikes) is the best way to control your intake and avoid unhealthy snacking. What’s more, schedule your meals so that you’re eating at regular times each day and aren’t finding yourself unexpectedly hungry and unprepared.
Your meal plan should start with a shopping list full of healthy whole foods. If you’re finding yourself short on time, remember that plant-based meals cook faster and many don’t require cooking at all. Many recipes also go great with nuts and seeds, ensuring that you’re getting the protein and other high-energy essential nutrients you need.
Try New and Healthy Recipes
Sometimes getting busy in the kitchen trying out new and healthy recipes can take the drudgery out of eating well and losing weight, and even make it fun! While many people avoid nuts when they are trying to lose weight because of their perceived fat content, nuts and dried fruit both can help us not only reduce weight but improve the functioning of our hearts, and our bodies’ overall health.
A lot of nuts – like walnuts – contain polyunsaturated, omega-3 fatty acids, in addition to a ton of other vitamins and minerals that lower our cholesterol and actually help us successfully lose weight.
The high levels of magnesium in cashews is essential for regulating the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates, which may further help you lose weight.
Almonds are also considered one of nature’s superfoods for their rich content of protein, antioxidants and heart-healthy fats. The mono-unsaturated fats found in almonds are known to prevent overeating because the dietary fibre contributes to the sensation of being full – even if you only eat a small amount. In fact they are a good source of an amino acid called L-arginine that helps you burn fat, making them a terrific pre-workout snack!
Take a look at some of the recipes listed below and work them into your meal plan for the next few months. With the addition of regular exercise, we’re confident you’ll be feeling better both mentally and physically. And each day you’ll see and feel the difference as you get closer and closer to your goal.
This smoothie tastes great, is easy to make, gives you energy and makes for a healthy start to your day.
Cashew Cream of Broccoli Soup
An incredibly simple yet delicious soup you can have on the table in less than 30 minutes! Also, very easy to customize to your personal preference.
Feeling a little tired or blah? This delicious drink will help perk you up and keep your body fuelled to get you though that afternoon slump.
Chicken Crusted with Almond and Flax
Take your chicken to the next level, and if you don’t eat meat, the same recipe can be used on tofu!
Wraps are a great meal, easy to customize, and this recipe is full of flavour! A savoury meal with a bit of sweetness from the fruit, and a satisfying crunch from the fresh apple.
Sue’s Savoury Nuts
Rancho Vignola founder Sue Vignola’s famous flavoured-nut recipe. Don’t forget the beautiful simplicity and flavour of some flavoured and roasted nuts in your diet!