15 Dietitians Share Their Top Tips for Staying Healthy During a Pandemic

Elizabeth Vennefron

by | Read time: 6 minutes

Everyone has been affected one way or another by the COVID-19 pandemic, including our team of dietitians. Our roles and responsibilities are ever changing as our program continues to grow at Kroger, Vitacost’s parent company, so we are used to switching gears. However, no one could have guessed that our entire workflow would have changed this much.

Woman Working From Home Practicing Self-Care to Stay Healthy | Vitacost.com/Blog

In the past few months, we’ve struggled just like everyone else, adapting to the work-from-home life. Below you’ll discover how our team is creating or maintaining healthy habits during this challenging time.

1. Make a routine

Get up, make coffee, watch the news, go for a walk, start working – whatever it may be. You must plan your day, or you can easily fall off the wagon.
– Ashley Martinez, MFN, RD, LD, NASM-CPT

2. “Pack” lunch

Everything can feel different now but a crunch for time has remained the same for so many people. Since time remains in short supply, even when working from home, it can be helpful to continue to “pack” your lunch and snacks for the work the evening before. This helps prevent skipping meals while also giving you something to look forward to – a delicious, filling lunch waiting for when you step away from the computer. This shortens the time it takes to decide, prepare and eat lunch during a potentially limited break time.
– Bridget Wojciak, RDN, LD

 3. Join a fitness group

Try group fitness at home by taking classes from someone you know personally via apps such as Instagram, Zoom and FaceTime. You’re able to make a better connection when you personally know them, which means you’re more likely to stay motivated.
– Ashley Martinez, MFN, RD, LD, NASM-CPT

4. Sweat and shower

Working out in the morning has been helpful to establish a routine and ensure that I get in physical activity and movement. I typically would vary my exercise routine when not working from home, but I found that I am less productive when I sit all day and haven’t moved in the morning. Another part of this routine – showering! Makes me feel like a human!
– Amelia Noel, RDN, LD

5. Experiment in the kitchen

Since most people, including myself, are getting tired of the same cook-at-home meal routine, it has been helpful to experiment with a new ingredient such as an ancient grain (quinoa, amaranth, farro, etc.) or a new recipe. This has helped me look forward to planning meals a bit more and diversify my cooking skills and nutrition. With more time at home, it was time to finally buy an at-home exercise piece that I was thinking of purchasing for a while. It’s sort of fun to use the new equipment. I find that if I plan out in advance the day of the week that I am going to fit in some resistance training, then I am more likely to do it. I do keep it flexible though because life changes. If I miss the day, I immediately plan again when it will happen next.
– Katy Keogh, MS, RDN, LD

6. Satisfy your sweet tooth

You’re going to give into the cravings! So, have something ready that tastes even better and is better for you like these peanut butter snack balls with chocolate chips.
– Ashley Martinez, MFN, RD, LD, NASM-CPT

7. Take time for self-reflection

With more alone time, or time for self-reflection on our hands, it’s a great opportunity to improve intuitive eating skills. If I find myself craving a certain food or sweet, then I non-judgmentally ask some curious questions: “what might be causing this? Have I nourished myself well today with enough: protein, carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, water or food in general? Have I had satisfying meals with foods that taste good to me and enough time to savor them? Am I well rested, stressed, or having an emotional cause?” If I still want the food, then I go for it and enjoy and savor it. If there is some other reason than try to correct that reason whether now or in the future.
– Katy Keogh, MS, RDN, LD

8. Try the “10,000 challenge”

Set a firm goal of 10,000 steps per day. I use a FitBit and love seeing the screen light up with an animation when I hit that number, but it also has forced me to think about moving just as much during quarantine as I did previously. For me, this sometimes looks like pacing in circles around the room while watching TV in the evenings, or walking up and down our flight of stairs numerous times in order to hit the mark – and that’s totally OK!
– Molly Hembree, MS, RDN, LD

 9. Schedule workouts

A way to help maintain my fitness and overall routines has been keeping a schedule in my planner. Knowing that I want to work out at least five times a week means I must look at work and personal plans and set a time to work out and stick to it! Whether it’s at 6 a.m. or 7:30 p.m., being able to visualize the day ahead of time can set you up for success.
– Victoria Le Marie, RD, LD

10. Reset your breakfast

I’ve reset my breakfasts during the COVID-19 pandemic. I used to not think ahead for breakfast too much and just rummage through my lunchbox to find enough to sustain me in the morning, but now I wake up to a bowl of protein cereal with soy milk and sometimes a banana, which I’ve really enjoyed.
– Molly Hembree, MS, RDN, LD

 11. Break out the blender

Smoothies have been a great way for me to stay healthy during the pandemic. My breakfast smoothies typically include grass-fed protein powder, frozen fruit, handful of greens, chia seeds and unsweetened almond milk. Smoothies keep me feeling full all morning while also packing in vitamins, minerals and healthy fats to hopefully keep my immune system optimal.
– Anna Smith, MS, RDN, LDN

12. Cut down on caffeine

I am a self-admitted diet soda addict (I know, no good!). But I managed to break that ten-year habit during quarantine! I was drinking about five diet sodas a day (my only caffeine intake), but have replaced three of them with water, and am now only having two. This has saved me on caffeine, artificial sweeteners, headaches and money. Next stop: only one diet soda per day.
– Molly Hembree, MS, RDN, LD

13. Learn virtually

Join a virtual community whether it’s for online cooking classes, dance lessons or arts and crafts demonstrations. Stay engaged and feel productive throughout this pandemic.
– Ashley Martinez, MFN, RD, LD, NASM-CPT

14. Opt for grocery pick-up and delivery services

During the pandemic, I have greatly relied on Kroger Pickup and Kroger Ship (home delivery) for my groceries. Shopping this way has helped me maintain social distancing, save time and save money. I found that I’ve also cut down on “impulse purchases” that typically happen when I’m shopping in-store and have also used the digital coupons feature to keep me on track budget-wise. Grocery shopping online has also helped me stay organized with meal planning during this crazy time.
– Emily Rider, RDN, LD

Note: You can also stock up and save on organic foods, natural vitamins, non-toxic household cleaners, cruelty-free beauty essentials and so much more at Vitacost.com – and we’ll deliver it to your door!

15. Walk it out

With the pandemic closing my gym, I struggled with incorporating physical activity into my daily routine. My solution was to begin and end my day with a walk whenever possible. By starting and ending my day this way, I was able to clear my mind and begin and end the day on a good note. Sometimes I would add in a walk during lunch if the weather was nice.
– Sarah Limbert, RDN, LD

Whether you just started working from home or already have been the past few months, it’s never too late to tweak your diet, start a workout program or get some mental clarity through a mindfulness practice.

What matters is that you’re doing something that will keep you motivated to do your best work and be your best self. Remember, being healthy is not just about eating the right foods. It’s also about improving your emotional, physical and mental well-being. We hope you and your loves ones can take advantage of these ideas to work toward a healthier, happier lifestyle.