3 Things to Change About Your Diet, Top Quarantine Snacks & Essential Vitamins
Brief Introduction/Tell Us About yourself:
My name is Gabrielle Kahn, MS, RD. I am a Registered Dietitian with my undergraduate and master’s degree in clinical nutrition from New York University. I am the owner of Methodd Nutrition, which is a virtual private practice based out of Long Island, New York. I have been working in the field of nutrition for more than half a decade and I focus on helping moms with young daughters create a healthy relationship with food and their body.
How did you become passionate about healthy eating?
My passion and inspiration for nutrition stems from my childhood experience with developing an eating disorder as a result of growing up around disordered eating habits. I intimately saw how the influence of diet culture within a family, and especially from a mother to daughter relationship, affects internal worth, food choices, body image and overall self-esteem. Now, I am on a mission to help people feel confident in their body at any shape and size, achieve food freedom and help protect their children from a life of dieting, body disapproval and disordered eating.
If you could persuade people to change three things about their diet during these challenging times, what would they be?
The first recommendation would be to focus on adding more nutrients to your plate. Rather than trying to reduce the amount of food you eat, try to pick a meal you enjoy (even if it’s a pasta or starch based meal) and add more nutrients to it like extra vegetables or fruit. This helps you to nourish your body because you are not eliminating food groups, but adding more vitamins, minerals and nutrients to your plate. The second recommendation would be to focus on consuming an adequate amount of water. Though the specific water requirements for each individual is different, the general goal is to aim for at least 64oz of water per day. During difficult times, we forget to nourish ourselves, especially with water, so it is important to make sure we are staying hydrated for optimal health and body function. The third recommendation would be to have fun with your food. As crazy as it may seem, be adventurous, try new food combinations, shapes, and colors so that each meal is exciting. Many of us may be stuck to similar mundane meals due to lack of variety and availability of food in the grocery stores, but finding ways to enjoy and have fun with food will lead to greater satisfaction, happiness and reduce the instance of food boredom during these challenging times.
Most of the world is practicing social distancing and working from home, how important is it to hydrate while doing so?
It is extremely important to stay hydrated while working from home. We need to consume an adequate amount of water in order for our body to function properly and now is a great opportunity to focus on hydration. Though the specific water requirements for each individual is different, the general goal is to aim for at least 64oz of water per day. One tip to ensure you are consuming adequate water is to keep a water bottle in-front of you and track how much you are consuming. For example, if you keep a 20oz water with you, aim to have at least 3 full bottles per day!
What are 3 at-home x kitchen must haves for people practicing social distancing?
Three at-home kitchen must haves are a blender, knife set and measuring tools. Blenders are great to have during this time because it provides an easy way to consume vegetables, fruit and create new sauces and soups in the kitchen. A knife set with cutting boards is important because it allows you to do more at-home cooking and be creative in the kitchen. Lastly, a measuring set is needed if you plan on following recipes or creating your own. I recommend purchasing different size teaspoons, tablespoons and measuring cups that can be used in any recipe.
What are 5 ‘must stock’ foods each of our readers should stock up on from the grocery store during social distancing?
Five foods that are easy to stock up on are canned beans (look for no salt added or low-sodium), rice, pasta, frozen or canned vegetables (no salt added or low-sodium) and frozen or canned fruit (in it’s own fruit juice or no sugar added). Beans are a great protein source and there are a wide variety of canned beans you can choose from like black beans, kidney beans, white beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans and cannellini beans. Each of these beans provide a slightly different taste, color, texture and size that can be a great addition to any meal, soup, snack or plant-based burger. Rice and pasta are important to keep in the house because it is a great starch source and will help keep you satisfied. You can pick brown rice or whole wheat pasta for extra fiber. Lastly, canned vegetables and fruit a great way to complete your plate. There is a wide variety of frozen fruit you can purchase, which tends to be even better than fresh fruit because it is picked at its peak and then frozen.
What are some ways to boost your immunity amid the coronavirus outbreak?
Great ways to boost your immunity are to make sure you are having adequate sleep, hydrating, nourishing your body well, moving your body and taking care of your mental health. We need to nourish and take care of our body in order for it to protect us so try to focus on the areas that may need extra care right now. For example, if you get less than 7 hours of sleep per night, you may want to focus on different night routines so you can go to bed earlier and get adequate sleep.
Any at-home detox recipes or secrets?
Our body, more specifically our lungs, liver and kidney, naturally detox for us so there is no recipe or secret for at-home detoxes. Instead, take care of your body during this time so it can do the work for us.
What is your favorite quarantine snack?
My favorite quarantine snack is whole grain crackers (I enjoy Mary’s Crackers), roasted red pepper hummus and cut up vegetables with a side of dark chocolate espresso beans! This snack provides me with fiber, carbohydrates, protein and fat that helps keep me satisfied. It also includes fun foods like the chocolate covered espresso beans. If you don’t have access to fresh vegetables, you can always heat up frozen vegetables to use in your snack!
What’s one simple plant-based dish our readers can recreate at home, less than 30 minutes and eat multiple times throughout the week?
An easy plant-based recipe is frozen vegetable bean burgers with roasted vegetables and sweet potatoes. Plant based burgers made with beans or rice tend to have a higher protein content which helps keep us full. Use frozen or fresh vegetables (sliced thin to cook faster) with olive oil spray, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper, roast in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for ~15 minutes until they become slightly crispy. At the same time, slice your sweet potato very thin like fries, spray with olive oil, add salt and pepper, and roast in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes. This meal provides you with protein, fat, carbohydrates and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Plant based living is becoming more and more popular. When eating a mostly plant based / vegetarian diet, are there certain foods to focus on to make sure we’re getting enough nutrients and protein?
Plant based protein sources include beans, legumes, grains such as quinoa, tofu and eggs (if you are not vegan). When creating a plant-based meal, you want to make sure you have one protein source on your plate. Also, in order to get a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, add different colored vegetables, grains and protein sources. If you are plant-based vegan, then you may want to consider taking a B12 supplement because we can only consume B12 from animal-based food sources and our body needs B12 to function properly.
Do you have any plant-based nutrition tips to fight coronavirus?
Unfortunately, food cannot fight the coronavirus, but taking care of your body through optimal nutrition, sleep, hydration, stress management and movement can help your body take care of you. Make sure you are doing something each day that can help you achieve one of the above categories so your body can help fight for you.
What’s one of your favorite organic/natural supplements or vitamins you recommended?
I highly recommend Vitamin D because many of us do not get enough exposure to the sun during the winter months and especially now that we are spending more time indoors. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for the average healthy individual is at least 600 IU of vitamin D per day.
What are three things you are most grateful for during these uncertain times?
Three things I am the most grateful for during these uncertain times are my family, my dogs who provide unconditional love and my body for taking care of me as I take care of it through proper nutrition.
During these uncertain times how do you stay positive? What’s your secret?
My trick to staying positive is to appreciate all that I have right now. Rather than beating myself up for what I have lost or do not have access to, I appreciate what is right in-front of me. I appreciate the food on the table, my health, my family, my ability to move my body as I choose and the community of people I surround myself with who are supporting each other right now.
Any self-care, self-care or self-development tips for our readers?
My biggest tip is to focus on things you can control, not the things that are outside of our reach. Our mental health and stress levels are really important right now. If we want our body to take care of us, then we need to take care of it. Focus on stress reducing activities, sleep, exercise and fueling your body with both nourishing and comforting foods. If you are working from home or have kids who are in virtual school and find that you have less time for you, focus on 5-10 minutes per day where you can devote time to taking care of yourself.
Any favorite health / nutrition podcasts or books you recommend to our readers?
I highly recommend the Intuitive Eating book by Evvelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch, MS, RD, FADA, CEDRD. This book is a great read on how you can break the diet mindset, create peace with your body and eat any and all foods while listening and honoring your body’s needs. I help my clients become intuitive eaters so that they no longer feel stress around food and if you are experiencing food stress right now than this may be a great book for you to start with.
Where can our readers find you? (Instagram, Facebook, etc)
You can find me on Instagram @gabikahn.rd, on Facebook at Methodd Nutrition or on my website at https://www.methoddnutrition.com. I show up on Instagram daily and provide daily tips, education and support!
Anything else you want to add? Any other health, wellness or nutrition tips?
My last tip is that if you are finding more stress and anxiety around food right now, I want you to know that you are not alone. Right now is a stressful time, there is so much unknown and uncertainty and many people are experiencing increased anxiety around food. Make sure you take time to take care of you, seek help if you need additional one-on-one support and remember that you are doing the best you can to take care of you!