Diet & Lifestyle

Getting through the Pandemic

Keeping Healthy During COVID-19

While some things may be out of our control during this time of uncertainty, there are plenty of ways to ensure that you and your family are healthy as we come out the other side. We asked one of our resident Dietitians for some tips to stay well… here is her reply.

A Healthy Diet: can help keep your immune system strong and give it the best chance of fighting infection. It is important to eat a range of foods that contain vitamins A, B, C, D and E and the minerals iron, zinc and selenium. In order to achieve this, try to eat five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit each day; along with wholegrain cereals, lean meats, low fat dairy foods and nuts/seeds. Limit highly processed foods.

Regular Exercise: also contributes to a healthy immune system. Aim for 2 1/2 to 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity every week (e.g. walking very briskly; mowing the lawn) or 1 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours of high intensity physical activity (e.g. jogging; fast cycling).

Get Healthy Information & Coaching Service: For support with eating well and exercising during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can access the Get Healthy Information & Coaching Service. It is a FREE, telephone based service where you can speak to a qualified professional (dietitian or exercise physiologist) from the comfort of your home. They can provide support and advice on healthy eating, physical activity and drinking less alcohol.  

Food planning at a time of uncertainty

With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the globe, eating nutritious foods and having an adequate access to food is important. Below are some steps to help you feel prepared in the event you need to isolate for a period of time. It’s important to have a plan, in case you or a family member becomes ill and you can’t leave the house.

Step 1: Look at what food you already have at home

Check out what you have in your pantry/freezer and look at the use-by dates

Step 2: Make a shopping list and go shopping

Choose long lasting and shelf stable foods, as outlined below:

• Fresh fruit (choose those that last longer e.g. apples, bananas, citrus fruits); frozen and canned varieties

• Fresh vegetables (choose those that last longer, such as potatoes, onions, carrots, pumpkin, cabbage); frozen and canned vegetables (e.g. tinned tomatoes, corn, beetroot)

•Cans of soup

•Canned fish (salmon, tuna or sardines); legumes; nuts and seeds

•Long life milk (preferably low fat varieties)

•Consider a range of grains such as rice, pasta, quinoa, cous cous, rolled oats and cereals. Freezing a loaf of bread or wraps can extend its freshness and shelf life

•Long life sauces/herbs and spices

•Foods for enjoyment: In times of isolation or uncertainty, having foods that are a comfort, or a reminder of daily routine, can be beneficial for your mental health (e.g. coffee or chocolate). While you won’t need much, it’s important they’re not forgotten

Step 3: Get cooking

It is worth cooking a few meals ahead of time to place in the freezer, so that if you fall ill, you have nutritious options ready to go.

Adapted from the Dietitian’s Association of Australia (DAA).

For more information you can access their website

Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District