As we continue to come out of lockdown and into some sense of normality (or at least the ‘new normal!’), new challenges are posed when it comes to our diet and lifestyle. It may seem a particular challenge for some of you to continue keeping on track with your diet or maintenance plan, as things start to open up. With this in mind we thought it might be useful to share some implications on the roadmap out of lockdown for our eating and lifestyle, and some tips to help you through.
- Eating out: watch frequency and choices – Restaurants, pubs and hospitality venues are re-opening, and whilst this is great news for businesses, it might not be such great news if you trying to lose weight. There’s always going to be a temptation to go back to our pre-lockdown lifestyles, which may have contributed to us gaining weight over the years. If you’re on one of our plans, this is unlikely to impact you as much, but if you’re trying to maintain your weight, or are just looking to stay healthy, here are our top 3 tips to help you make healthier choices when eating out:
Pubs opening: drinking alcohol – Along with the opening of hospitality venues bringing new challenges to us in terms of our eating, this also poses challenges around drinking. Alcohol is surprisingly high in calories, with a large glass of white wine containing around 190kcal (about the same as two slices of white bread) and a pint containing around 210 kcal (about the same as a four-finger KitKat). In addition to alcohol, cocktails will rack up extra calories through the addition of syrups, cream and fruit juices. Alcohol is also an appetite stimulant, and can therefore lead to overeating at mealtimes, late at night and even the next day. Here are our top 3 tips for watching your calories from alcoholic drinks:
- Read the menu before you go, so you can decide on a healthy option in advance. Decide beforehand if you’re going to have a starter or dessert, and which one you’ll find it easier to decline.
- Don’t be afraid from asking the restaurant to alter your dish, e.g. replacing chips with a jacket, asking for no butter or oil, or adding a side salad or vegetables.
- Choose dishes based around lean chicken, turkey, fish or lean red meats, as these will likely contain less calories that fatty meats, battered or deep fried options
Cafes opening: is it just another coffee? – Along with the opening of pubs, cafes are now open to sit inside, rather than just grabbing a takeaway. There is a vast array of different coffees, hot chocolates, frappes and other drinks available at your everyday café, many of which are very high in calories. Choosing skinny milk, no added sugar versions, and avoiding extras (like cream and marshmallows) will help you keep your calorie intake down. Keep sugary drinks to special occasions rather than including them regularly.
Continue the good habits you’ve started – you may well have started some good habit over lockdown, such as doing more exercise in general, having a daily walk, eating regular meals, and watching your intake of snacks. Consider ways of how you can stay motivated to continue to keep up these good habits. Exercise, in particular, is one area that’s so important to continue. Now that many groups have re-opened, why not join a local exercise group, running group or bootcamp to help you stay motivated and meet likeminded people?
Flexible working / workplace re-opening – many people are still working from home and will be for the foreseeable future. Others will be going back to their workplace, or find themselves being able to work flexibly going forward, with many workplaces offering flexible working policies as a response to the pandemic. It can be hard to get the right balance and manage the dietary and lifestyle demands of going back into the office, including irregular meals, different stresses. increased frequency of eating lunch out, and managing the office treats.
- Set yourself a limit on how much you plan to drink, in advance
- Choose diet mixers with single spirits, e.g. gin and slimline tonic; vodka and diet coke. Sip slowly so the drink lasts longer
- Choose smaller portions, e.g. half pint, small glass, single measure
We hope these tips and pieces of advice can help keep you on track as we adapt to the new normal, we know it's not going to be easy after 18 months of covid restrictions and we want to remind you we are hear to help and support you every step of the way!
Written by Annemarie Aburrow RD BSc (Hons) PGDip, Slim & Save Dietitian.
Do you have any tips to share on how you intend to cope with the lifted restrictions? Leave your comments below to be in with a chance to win 20 individual sachets of your choice! 3 Winning comments will be chosen on Friday 23rd July 2021 at 4 pm.