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Lock down, work out, eat up

Lock down, work out, eat up

By Sian Porter, Merchant Gourmet Consultant nutritionist, registered dietitian

 

Here we are in Lockdown 2 and you may well have a sense of déjà vu. Being active is part of a healthy lifestyle and helps not just with physical health but mental health too. Maybe you have picked up where you left off after Lockdown 1 with an online workout regime or have been able to switch your run or walk to earlier in the day. However, with gyms closed, wet and windy weather and the clocks having gone back, many of us will have put a bit of thought into how we are going to continue to be physically active.

Adding in exercise does not have to be a challenge. Find something you enjoy that can fit in around everything else in your day. You don’t need to sign up to an expensive website or buy special clothes. Much online exercise content is free, and your living room, outside space or nearest park and loose clothing will do the job.

It may not be just exercise that we need to re-visit. Being at home more can also have advantages for keeping your diet healthy and in line with your activity levels. You can stock (not stockpile!) your cupboards, freezer and fridge with healthier choices which will fit the bill. Rather than grabbing food on the go, relying on what you can find, you will be able to make the choices you want in your own kitchen. You don’t need to prepare or cook anything complicated. If you need some inspiration, check out our pre-cooked lentils & wholegrains or our delicious and simple to prepare recipes.

 

Protein contributes to maintenance and growth of muscle mass as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle including resistance exercise. It also helps to keep you feeling full. The amount of protein needed depends on our age, lifestyle and health. An adult sitting at a desk most of the day would need 1g/kg whereas if they are more active, exercising at higher intensity multiple times a week a higher protein intake is recommended.

Protein in the diet can come from animal or plant sources. Plant sources include beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, soya and soya products such as tofu, Quorn and wholegrains including quinoa, wheat berries and rice. When it comes to protein, plant proteins are more than up to the job. Eating a variety of plant proteins will provide the essential amino acids we need. A variety of protein foods should be spread throughout the day and included at each meal and snack. Choose combos such as wholegrains and lentils, seeds and quinoa, rice and beans

 

You may have to adjust the quantities and how often you eat to reflect your lockdown lifestyle and activity levels. Choose a variety, mix them up and add plenty of vegetables and fruit. Try this sample meal plan to make sure you’re daily intake of protein and nutrition is well balanced and wholesome:

 

Breakfast:

Chestnut, Freekeh & Quinoa Granola – this one is perfect for batch cooking, so you’re guaranteed to have enough to last the week.

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Lunch:

Puy Lentil & Chestnut Kofta’s – Another recipe which is perfect to make in bulk and save time cooking by eating them throughout the week for lunch or light dinners.

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Dinner:

A hearty lentil Moussaka – A perfect hearty dinner for cold nights!

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Snack:

A handful of seeds and nuts.

 

Dessert: A slice of Chocolate & Beluga Lentil Mousse Cake

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By Sian Porter, Merchant Gourmet Consultant nutritionist, registered dietitian

Sian Porter Merchant Gourmet Nutritionist, merchant Gourmet, Nutritionist