How to optimise your nutrition during COVID

Nutrition during covid

We have all been affected by covid in some way which has in turn affected our nutrition, whether it’s gaining weight, eating less regularly, moving less or emotional eating we want to give you some tips on how to improve your nutrition.

There are some themes emerging through COVID-19 and lockdown life

  • Increased snacking 60% of people are engaging in significantly increased snacking 1​
  • Reduced motivation and food control, including control over portions and food choices 1​
  • Increase in the use of meal services such as Hello Fresh, Marley’s Spoon, Dinnerly, Lite and Easy and others 2​
  • Increase in emotional eating 3

What are the reasons for increased snacking during covid

Research tells us that 60% of people have increased their snacking during covid, there are a few reasons people might be snacking more,

  • Boredom
  • Being at home with access to more snacks
  • Not eating balanced main meals
  • Not being prepared

If you like snacking we recommend making your own healthy snacks or buying pre packaged options for convenience like the ones pictured here. You can optimse your nutrition during covid by picking well balanced snacks such as,

  • Cheese, biscuits and carrot sticks
  • Yogurt, fruit and nuts
  • Muesli bar and a piece of fruit
  • fruit
  • Veggie stick and dip

Lack of motivation during covid and want to improve your nutrition?

Let’s rewind back in time… 2 years ago maybe, you had a good routine including packing a lunch for work, creating home cooked meals and getting in some movement. A lot has changed since then so let’s get into some tips on creating good habits to help improve your nutrition. Checkout our past blog on exercise (Click Here)

Tips to improve nutrition during covid

Tips to improve nutrition

Nutritious breakfast ideas

  • Wholegrain breakfast cereals such as rolled oats, muesli, wheat biscuits or bran cereals with milk and fruit
  • Wholegrain toast, sandwich or wrap with toppings such as baked beans, eggs, cheese and tomato, banana and honey, baby spinach and avocado
  • Breakfast cereal drink and a piece of fruit
  • Homemade mini quiche or vegetable slice

What are the benefits of packing a lunch box (even when working from home)

  • Want to maximize your energy levels​
  • Want to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight​
  • Save money by not buying lunch ​
  • Control portion sizes

Pack a lunch if you

  • Have tried to change your eating patterns without success​
  • Find yourself snacking constantly
  • Find it difficult to resist temptation​
  • Have a nutrition-related health condition such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes​
  • Find it difficult to choose what food and how much you need to fuel you through the day.

Nutritious lunch box ideas

  • Sandwich​: Chicken, cheese, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and low-fat mayo
  • Wrap​: Roast chickpeas, halloumi, beetroot, spinach
  • Salad with lean meat​
  • Wholegrain crackers with a tin of tuna or baked beans ​
  • Leftovers
No lunchbox dayPacked lunchbox
Fruit muffin 60g​Bread, Mixed Grain 2 slices​
Cappuccino       180ml                ​Margarine       10g                ​
Foccacia 2 slices​Chicken Breast 50g​
Chicken Schnitzel 150g​Lettuce 2 leaf​
Lettuce 1 leaf​Mayonnaise Low Fat 10g​
Mayonnaise 20g​Low fat yoghurt 200g​
Cheese 25g​Apple 155g​
Coke 1 can​Tinned fruit 150g​
Cappuccino 180ml​Vitawheat + marg+ veg 30g​
Monte Carlo 2 biscuitsWater 600ml
Energy: 6780kJEnergy: 2992kJ
Carb: 189gCarb: 108g
Fat: 73gFat: 15g
Sat fat: 32gSat fat: 5g
Protein: 51gProtein: 31g
Fibre: 9gFibre: 11g

Equivalent to weight​ loss of 37 kilograms ​ over 1 year

Portion control

A lot of people find that they might eat well however they don’t know how to portion their plate and think they eat too much. We call this the healthy plate model and it is one of the easiest ways to improve your nutrition during Covid or anytime. Checkout this fact sheet for more by clicking here .

To make it easy we will show you a visual – aim for half your plate coming from salad or vegetables, ¼  from carbohydrates and ¼  from protein.

Healthy plate model to improve nutrition easy
1/2 plate vegetables
1/4 Plate carbohydrates
1/4 Plate protein

Plan and prepare to boost your nutrition during covid

Plan meals out for the week​

Establish staples for breakfast and lunch​

Involve the family

Create a shopping list

Meal preparation

Sequence dinner meals​

  • M: Meat and veg​
  • T: Savoury mince (pasta, baked potato, shepherds pie, taco…)​
  • W: Chicken​
  • T:  Fish​
  • F: Home made pizza/hamburgers​
  • S: New recipe/takeaway/eat our​
  • S: Baked dinner​


  1. Robinson E, Boyland E, Chisholm A, Harrold J, Maloney NG, Marty L, et al. Obesity, eating behavior and physical activity during COVID-19 lockdown: A study of UK adults. Appetite. 2021 Jan;156:104853. 
  2. Poelman MP, Gillebaart M, Schlinkert C, Dijkstra SC, Derksen E, Mensink F, et al. Eating behavior and food purchases during the COVID-19 lockdown: A cross-sectional study among adults in the Netherlands. Appetite. 2021 Feb;157:105002. 
  3. 1.Cecchetto C, Aiello M, Gentili C, Ionta S, Osimo SA. Increased emotional eating during COVID-19 associated with lockdown, psychological and social distress. Appetite. 2021 May;160:105122.