Healthy Eating for Healthcare Workers

Healthcare workers are at the frontline in the fight against COVID-19. During this time, your job may require changes in your usual work activities. It is important that you practice healthy eating to maintain your own personal health and well-being which would then enable you to provide quality health care for all.

Here are some healthy eating tips:

  1. Start with the Caribbean Six Food Groups as your guide when planning meals for both you and your family. These food groups include Staples, Foods from Animals, Legumes (peas/beans/nuts & seeds), Fruits, Vegetables and Fats & Oils.
  2. Plan ahead- Pack a lunch bag to ensure that your meals and healthy snacks are covered for the duration of your duty.
  3. Visualize your plate-
    • 1/4 of your plate should be your staple choice such as multigrain breads, cereals, rice, ground provision or pasta,
    • ¼ of your plate should be protein such as chicken, turkey, fish or lean meats for vegetarians select peas/beans
    • ½ of your plate should consist of both your raw and cooked veggies.
  4. Manage your time for meal preparation- Pre-preparation of foods can help to shorten your time spent on cooking meals. You can cook dried peas or beans as well as meats and poultry in bulk, cool and freeze for later use. Frozen and canned foods can greatly assist in reducing cook time.
  5. One pot meals such as pelau or soups and casseroles such as tuna or lasagna are nutritious and can also be portioned for more than one meal, to save time in the kitchen.
  6. Read food labels when grocery shopping- When shopping for canned foods look for terms such as ‘reduced sodium,’ ‘no added salt,’ or canned in water. You can also rinse contents with water to help reduce the sodium. Other terms to look out for are ‘reduced sugar,’ ‘no added sugar’ or ‘added fibre.’
  7. Think like the rainbow- Boost your immune system by including a lot of antioxidant rich foods such as different colored fruits and vegetables, especially those in season such as watermelon, pineapple, citrus, spinach (bhagi) and beetroot. A good way to utilize a variety of these foods in your diet is by doing smoothies; these can be used for a quick breakfast or healthy snack on the go. Foods rich in zinc such as seafood, legumes and wholegrains can also assist with boosting your immune system.
  8. Snack Smart- Snacks can be a good way to maintain your energy levels throughout the day. Some healthy choices include nuts, seeds, granola bars, popcorn, fruit and vegetable chow, yogurt, crackers with peanut butter or cheese, plain vegetable chips such as potato or cassava.
  9. Maintain hydration – Water should be your beverage of choice and should make up most of your daily fluid intake. You can also choose 100% fruit juices or herbal teas. Practice caution with caffeine based beverages and soft drinks, which may help to give quick energy but over use may not be beneficial to your health.