How to eat healthily in a pandemic

Chris Roberts MBE
4 min readDec 12, 2020

Nutritional Therapist shares tips and a tasty recipe for eating healthily in a pandemic

Nutritional therapist, Caroline Peyton, is offering some useful tips for everyone around eating healthily in a pandemic.

A qualified naturopath, Caroline has run her clinics in Swindon and the Cotswolds for 10 years helping people improve their lives through nutrition and healthy eating. She said: “As we approach Christmas, the normal attitude is ‘to hell with the diet’. It’s understandable as there is usually non-stop socialising, parties, late nights, extra drinking and rich food from the beginning of December until we hit the New Year. Obviously, this year is different. Not only are our social plans massively curtailed, but we also have an ongoing viral pandemic and the risks associated with it. For some people, this has understandably created a lot of fear. And now that we are in the depths of winter, it’s easy to give up on any notion of healthy eating because we think ‘what’s the point?’”

Caroline believes, with the risks around Covid-19 and other winter viruses, looking after your immune system is more important than ever. “You can do so much to keep your immune system strong and fighting for you and not against you. Nutrients vitamin C, zinc and selenium are essential nutrients for creating a strong immune system and help the body mount a healthy immune response.”

Studies have already shown that there is an increased risk of a poor outcome with Covid-19 for those who are categorised as being obese, have diabetes or have symptoms associated with poor metabolic function (carry excess weight, high cholesterol or insulin resistance).

Caroline has come up with 10 tips to maximise intake of immune-supporting nutrients and to help keep weight and blood sugar levels under control:

  1. Make batches of non-starchy vegetable soups, freeze and eat a portion each day (not potatoes, parsnips or swede, which are high in starch/sugar).
  2. Eat a rainbow of vegetables every day. Aim for at least five varieties and portions. In soups, stir-fries, roasted, steamed or casseroles. For anyone who struggles with vegetables, add cauliflower to mash potato; carrots and peppers to a tomato sauce; greens to a casserole.
  3. Restrict your fruit intake and avoid fruit juice. The high sugar content can upset blood sugar levels and lead to weight gain.
  4. Avoid sugary fruit like bananas, grapes and tropical fruits and opt for the less sweet apple and pear varieties and berries.
  5. Keep bags of frozen berries in your freezer and add to porridge or a protein smoothie for breakfast.
  6. Have a small handful of plain nuts and seeds every day.
  7. Eat one to two portions of seafood a week such as prawns, crab or sardines.
  8. Eat two portions of pulses a week (e.g. make a chickpea and vegetable stew; add lentils to your vegetable soup, eat hummus).
  9. Add protein to each meal, as this helps to keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day e.g. eggs, chicken, salmon, tuna, lean mince.
  10. This cannot be achieved by diet alone — everyone should supplement Vitamin D3 throughout the winter. Studies have shown how essential this nutrient is to immune resilience, yet populations in northern countries are often deficient, as we obtain it mostly from sunlight on our skin. If you are on medications, speak to your pharmacist.

Enjoy Caroline’s healthy Salmon Kedgeree recipe, which serves 6–8 people:

INGREDIENTS
200g basmati rice
500ml water
2 eggs (optional)
400g salmon
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion
2 tsp mild curry paste
150g frozen peas
2 tbsp passata
Sea salt & black pepper
Handful of parsley roughly chopped
Juice of ½ lemon

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C / gas mark 6
2. Wrap salmon in tin foil and bake in oven for 20 minutes. Then flake.
3. Boil eggs for 6–8 minutes. Then cool under cold water. When cold, shell, cut into quarters or slices.
4. Place rice in pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes until rice is cooked. Drain.
5. Heat oil in a large frying pan, fry the onion over a low heat until soft, add curry paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add cooked rice, peas, passata and salmon. Season.
6. Stir over a moderate heat for 5–10 minutes. Add parsley and lemon juice.
7. Serve and place egg slices on top.

This recipe uses basmati rice, but you can use brown rice, which has more fibre and nutrient content, but the cooking time is longer and more stock may be required.

Caroline is an established and leading naturopath and nutritional therapist with clinics in Swindon, Cirencester and Kempsford and, in 2020, she celebrated her 10th business anniversary.

If you’d like to talk to Caroline about anything to do with nutrition, gut or digestive health, stress management or anxiety, please vist: https://www.peytonprinciples.com.

For more stories/info, visit: www.chrisrobertsmbe.co.uk.

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