Healthy food (illustrative)
Healthy food (illustrative) iStock

Are you reaching for chocolate?

In these days of virtual lockdown, the snack cupboard can be tempting. A new campaign from Hadassah urges us to think and think again before reaching for those fat-coated chips or sugar-packed cookies.

“Everyone who has tried dieting knows it’s very easy to put on a few kilos but tough to lose them,” says Hadassah Medical Organization’s chief nutritionist and dietician Rivki Harari. “That’s especially the case right now when so many people are housebound and not exercising as much.”

The advice given is not re-inventing the wheel but reinforcing what we already know is best practice:

  • When shopping, minimize purchases of processed foods. Buy fresh whenever possible. Not only are they lower in fat, salt and sugar, they are less expensive – a key factor when many families’ income is down.
  • Try not to nosh during the day – stick to three square meals.
  • If you are feeding someone in isolation, leave vegetable and fruit platters with them.
  • Families should start the day with collective exercise – even those behind closed doors.
  • Dine at a table – it breeds healthier eating habits than sitting in front of a screen.
  • Serve vegetables at every meal. Olive oil is the healthiest for any dressing.
  • Drink plenty of water. Cut out sweetened beverages.
  • Don’t eat because of boredom.

The information is airing on an Israeli TV channel and was distributed to media. Harari created the campaign with colleague Hodaya Fried who is quarantined at home.

“Four of our dieticians are self-quarantined. It means there’s more pressure on the team but hospital staff are well-drilled,” says Harari. “Each meal is tailor-made, whether for corona patients or the other patients. We have a dietician permanently in the kitchens to oversee what’s freshly prepared each day.”

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