During these difficult and unusual times, it can be a challenge to think about eating healthy and staying physically active. Particularly as many find themselves facing financial uncertainty, planning your weekly grocery budget and saving money is a particular concern across the US. (Contact the Lowcountry Food Bank if you are low on food, or visit one of many local Blessing Boxes across the state – including ours at Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic. Trident United Way is another great resource to assist families with basic needs and utilities.) Here are a few tips to help keep you and your family fit over the weeks to come:
-Try to keep to your regular eating schedule. Don’t skip meals. It can make you eat too much, and ultimately give in to your less-healthy cravings and gain weight.
-Remember to include veggies and fruits when you can. Local farmers markets can offer the latest produce at reasonable prices. Fresh, frozen and canned foods also help everyone meet their daily nutritional needs. Look for canned fruit in its own juice and low salt or low sodium foods. These are good items to snack on.
–Drink more water and less sugary beverages. This important swap can fuel you with more energy and decrease your weight gain during the stay-at-home guidance. If you’re looking for more flavor, try adding fresh fruit to your water to give it some zing!
–Keep active. Take a walk around the block, keeping socially distant if walking with others – and have a mask or face covering with you for any close encounters. Dance with your kids to help them burn off energy, or try a free online video that you can do as a family. You can also get your kids to help you garden – planting fresh herbs to enhance your meal plan.
All are great ways to stay fit and healthy- aim for at least 30 minutes a day. It can improve everyone’s mood as well!
You may also find this list of area and national resources helpful as you plan for your health and safety during the weeks and months ahead – please share with your friends and neighbors.
Stay safe and in good health, Charleston!
Joanne M. Gallivan, M.S., R.D.N. is a registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She served as the Director of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) in the Office of Communication and Public Liaison for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from 1997-2016. Previously, Ms. Gallivan has served as project manager for NIDDK’s Weight-Control Information Network (WIN), a national source of information on weight control, obesity, and weight-related nutritional disorders for health professionals and the public; as Contract Manager for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s National Cholesterol Education Program and Obesity Education Initiative, and as Director of the Prince George’s County Health Department Nutrition Division located in Maryland.
Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic is a free clinic in Charleston, SC, that provides free medical care to eligible patients, just like any family practitioner or internist. The Free Clinic serves uninsured adults living at or below 299 % of the Federal poverty level who live or work on Johns, James, & Wadmalaw Island or Folly Beach, or serve the Hospitality Industry of Downtown Charleston. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.