Stay healthy at home

It's vital to maintain good habits amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Queenslanders are urged to maintain their healthy eating habits and exercise daily amid the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The warning comes from the Australian Medical Association Queensland (AMAQ) who fear increased sedentary behaviour and reliance on

“convenience foods” could lead to widespread weight gain and mental health problems.

“We know if you have sedentary behaviour and lower levels of physical activity, it can be harmful to both your physical and mental health,” outgoing AMAQ President Dr Dilip Dhupelia said.

“It’s very easy to increase your weight by being immobile. We also know that obesity will cause a lot of health issues, such as heart disease and diabetes.

“People tend to think it’s difficult to cook healthy meals at home or to exercise if you don’t have the equipment or are in a small area, but it can be done.

“By maintaining your physical health with healthy eating and exercise, you can aid your mental health.”

Dr Dhupelia said COVID-19 had bought about many unhealthy behaviours including panic buying, increased alcohol consumption and overeating.

“People have been panic buying as they fear food and alcohol will run out, which is completely unnecessary,” he said.  

“This panic buying has negative consequences as the more food you have in the house, the more likely you are to overeat.

“People also need to be wary of their alcohol consumption as they tend to start happy hour a bit earlier than they normally would and have a few extra drinks at home.”

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Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) spokesperson and practising dietitian Kate Di Prima said people should plan their meals to ensure they’re eating from the right food groups.

“Once you have a plan in place, it’s a lot easier to make healthy food choices,” Ms Di Prima said.

“I tell my patients to do prep for the next day when cooking dinner at night and to incorporate vegetables whether they’re fresh, chopped up or frozen with most meals.

“Leftover dinner can easily become tomorrow’s lunch and prep can be as simple as chopping carrot sticks and making a healthy hummus dip or smashed avocado to avoid snacking on chocolate or biscuits the next day.”

Healthy food

Ms Di Prima said people should focus on eating foods high in fibre and cook with lean proteins such as chicken, fish and seafood.

“Protein is good for body repair and makes you feel fuller for longer and like you have had something decent to eat,” she said.

“If you’re a vegetarian look to incorporate lentils, red kidney beans, chickpeas and hemp protein powders.

“Fibre is also essential for gut health. Research has shown fibre is imperative for a healthy gut and helps to aid digestion and the bodies ability to fight infection.”