From the desk of: Saman Shaikh -article 2

Emotional Eating During COVID-19
Saman Shaikh
Registered Dietitian
Certified Diabetes Educator

These are difficult and uncertain times, in the midst of the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Almost everything is closed.  Most people are staying at home and social and physical distancing to limit the spread of the virus.

During this time, it may be difficult to cope with emotions, feelings of stress, and anxiety. Being stuck at home may also have you feeling bored. It is normal to deal with these emotions by seeking distraction and comfort through food. Here are some tips to help you manage your eating while social distancing:

Acknowledge your emotions
It is important to remember that your feelings are valid.  Be compassionate to yourself and show yourself love and kindness.

When eating, be aware of your emotions and your reasons for choosing what, when, where and why you are eating. Maintain a friendly, curious attitude about the food choices you make. A food journal can be useful to help yourself reflect.  You can use paper, word documents or find free printable options online to assist you.

Make healthy choices
Since most people are at home, this is the perfect time to learn to cook or to become more proficient in cooking. Comfort food dishes, such as chicken noodle soup, casseroles, and stews are also healthy choices.  Choose balanced recipes that are easy to make and include ingredients you already have on hand. When baking, consider choosing healthy recipes such as banana bread and oatmeal cookies.

When going grocery shopping choose broths and canned items with low or no added salt, long grain or brown rice rather than white rice, and choose whole wheat flour for baking.  Snacks such as natural popcorn, multigrain crackers, and canned fruit in water, if available as healthy options.   As part of social/physical distancing, you should be going to the grocery store less often, however, try not to hoard supplies buying only what you need for the next couple of weeks.

Plan ahead
To support eating healthily, it helps to plan your meals in advance.  By planning ahead, you can grocery shop for the items you need to make your meals, as well as using the items you already have at home.
If you stick to your list, this can also help with your budget if finances are tight.

Local food banks can be accessed for individuals and households in need.  You can find locations and details about your local food bank HERE.

To support the community in these challenging times, many grocery stores have options for ordering groceries online or by phone.  Some offer delivery to your doorstep as well.  For more details, contact your local grocery store.

Focus on what you can control
Eat to nourish your body and feel good. Get outside if possible, while respecting the rules of social/physical distancing.  Revisit an old hobby or pick up a new one.  Spend time with the people in your house and spend virtual time with friends and family outside your home when possible. If the news is overwhelming, limit TV and screen time.

We all have difficult emotions, and we all use food to cope with them. You have permission to nourish your body during this challenging time.  Try not to become consumed with feelings of guilt if you find your self craving cookies, potato chips and other less healthy snacks.  These are difficult times and it is important to be kind to yourself.




Please contact Saman Shaikh at the Sharbot Lake Family Health Team if you would like more information about healthy eating.

You can call the SLFHT at 613-279-2100 to schedule a telephone call or virtual appointment with Saman Shaikh, Registered Dietitian.