Confinement and the pandemic have altered the healthy habits of Spaniards, alert, with consequences that will take their toll.

Eating well is essential for good health. It is one of the fundamental basic pillars of a healthy lifestyle and that will allow us to live not only longer, but also with the best quality.

The Dietitian-Nutritionist María Merino draws attention to the fact that the pandemic is closely linked to a worsening in the nutritional habits of Spaniards, despite the fact that eating badly causes a “general worsening of our health”.

Apart from a general worsening of the person’s health, Merino emphasizes that the main problem of a poor diet, along with a sedentary lifestyle, are overweight and obesity: “You will have a higher risk of suffering from diabetes, hypertension, myocardial infarction, as well as certain cancers. Eating poorly, even if you don’t get fat, can also take a toll and cause problems even if your weight doesn’t reflect it ”.

Thus he affirms that there will be a greater risk of hypertension or suffering from insulin resistance when consuming, for example, too much salt or sugar, in addition to less resistance to exercise, a dependency or addiction to these unhealthy products.

In the long term this will condition a bad relationship with food, considers the also author of Breakfast with chickpeas (Sphere): “When I have an emotional problem I take refuge in food, when I am sad I seek pleasure and satisfaction with these products given their habitual consumption.”

Thus, he gives the example of the weeks that during 2020 we remained at home confined and alert that in many people who ate poorly in those weeks continue to maintain it, making it a habit.

Encourage in these cases to try to return to routines, to eat well, to play sports, something that also in his opinion will help us to reduce the levels of stress or anxiety that this pandemic is generating and lead us to “eat emotionally”.

“If in the long run we maintain bad eating habits this will lead to an overweight and obesity from which it will be difficult to get out. It is easy to fall into these bad habits and instead it is difficult to get out of them. If you had good habits before confinement, it will be easier, yes, ”says Merino.

For this reason, this dietician-nutritionist emphasizes that everything depends a bit on the attitude of the person because many have recovered the routine they had in this regard: “The healthy calls the healthy and the unhealthy calls the unhealthy. If you order salad you want water, if you want patatas bravas you want a beer. If you eat salad you want to run, instead the other leads you to a sedentary lifestyle ”.

With all this, María Merino reveals in the following points how to recover the healthy life we ​​had before the pandemic:

1. Clean out the pantry. Open your cabinets and throw away everything that is not healthy (sausages, cocoa creams, pastries). “So you throw away everything bad that you have bought. Shop healthy, plan menus. Get back to a healthy diet and don’t forget to play sports ”, he details.

2. Plan your menu and based on it, you organize the kitchen, you have to have everything minimally prepared.

3 shopping healthily, going to the market, shopping without hunger, and without going through certain unnecessary aisles.

However, María Merino is not in favor of abrupt changes, more than anything because, according to she warns, these are not usually possible, at the same time she chooses to do them gradually. “If you’ve gotten carried away and eaten insane lately, it’s about a work of progression, which begins by emptying the fridge, freezer and cupboards of unhealthy products“, Assures the dietician-nutritionist.

Emotional food

And it is that, according to regret, In these months we eat worse due to an emotional issue in most cases, given the anxiety, stress and uncertainty that the pandemic is generating.

“One way to change those negative feelings is through food because it is pleasant, it produces endorphins that in turn generate pleasure. I feel bad and I can not do anything because I am confined, for example, and like to relieve it, although this is not the solution ”, he clarifies.

In this way, María Merino reveals to us what the formula for a healthy diet is, which, according to her, “has no mystery or secret despite what many believe.” Is about “basing your diet on real food without taking it to the extreme, but in raw materials for example, with few or minimally processed.

Always prioritize the vegetable part (presence of vegetables at lunch and dinner, at least 3 fruits a day), the nuts (a handful a day), seeds, whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit, making a correct intake of protein (meat, fish, eggs and legumes); avoiding overeating red meat and prioritizing white meat ”.