Health & Wellness

Hoping for Better World Health in 2021!

Bridget Swinney, MS RD
By Bridget Swinney, MS RD

As we look back upon a year that still has the dark cloud of COVID-19 hanging over it, it’s time to be hopeful for new beginnings and healthy habits as we head into 2021.

When faced with uncertainty and stress, many turn to food. In fact, I’m sure there will be a new term developed for the pounds people have gained during the pandemic. Kind of like the “Freshman 15”.  Will it be the “COVID-10 or the Covid-20”?  On the other hand, some have used the extra time at home to embrace fitness, cooking healthy or taking up a new hobby. As we try to figure out what our “new normal” will be, let’s pause to revisit how to move toward healthier habits for the coming new year! Starting with some myth busting:

  • Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive. As people are feeling the pain due to loss of jobs or business, it’s easy to fall back on the idea that eating healthy is too expensive. It’s true, it can be expensive, but there’s also a way around that, by eating more of a plant-based diet and cutting back on convenience foods. Beans and lentils are the ultimate nutrient rich protein food; calorie per calorie, they are also the cheapest protein source. Another one? Eggs! Eggs actually contain perfect protein, and at about 10 cents each, it’s another food that provides a lot of bang for the buck. Fruits and veggies are cheapest when they’re in season, so think about buying broccoli and cauliflower, leafy greens like lettuce, spinach and swiss chard, beets, cabbage, apples and grapes.
  • Carbs are not the enemy but they can be depending on their level of processing. Sugar-sweetened beverages like soda and sports drinks? The worst for your health. Potatoes, sweet potatoes and whole grains like oatmeal, barley and quinoa? The perfect partner for a healthy diet.
  • Staying active doesn’t have to be painful or pricey. We all know we “should” exercise, but that doesn’t make it easier. The trick is to find an exercise that you enjoy. Like to dance? Try Zumba on YouTube. I like Danielle’s Habibis because there is one person in the video you can follow that’s doing low-impact Zumba—important if you have back or knee issues.  If you’re like me, I know I should do Yoga, but where to begin? Try Yoga with Adriene. An international yoga teacher in Austin, Texas, she brings yoga to the world for free, and also has a subscription based community of ad-free yoga and workshops.  Check out a simple yoga stretch video here.

Let’s face it, the news lately has not been all that positive and add to that being socially isolated from friends and family or even possibly losing a friend or family member to COVID. It’s easy to hit rock bottom mentally. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some tips and resources for coping with stress during a pandemic here. And remember that good nutrition can help mental health as well as keep your immune system healthy.  In case you missed my post from April, here’s a link to “Plant Power Your Immune System.”

Cheers to Good Health!

Bridget Swinney, MS RD
Bridget Swinney is a health communicator, award-winning author and well-regarded nutrition expert specializing in teaching people to embrace a healthier diet and lifestyle. In her 25 years as a registered dietitian, she has worked in public health, as a clinical...Read More
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