Welcome back DA! My name is Karyn Mancari, the school nutritionist. For those of you who don’t know, I’m available for questions or meetings about anything nutrition-related from allergies, sports nutrition, meal planning, disordered eating, metabolic disorders, general wellness, and anything else food-related. It’s been a crazy first month of school, and I’d like to give a shout out to Mr. McCarthy and the entire dining hall staff for their work to keep our community fed and safe. With the future still up in the air, I thought it’d be a good time to give a few tips on how to stay nutritionally well during the quarantine.
First thing’s first…we each need to give ourselves and our peers a break! What I mean is, allowing ourselves a little bit of grace when it comes to our eating and exercising routines. With limited availability of certain foods and activities on campus, it’s important to be as flexible as possible with our understanding that this crisis is temporary and we’re all in it together. If you find yourself struggling with the limited access to certain foods and exercise, you’re not alone but it will pass. Remind yourselves of your long-term goals and allow for adjustments.
As the campus continues to open up, here are a few ways to help ensure you’re getting adequate nutrition:
- Check the DA menu. Here you can view what will be offered to help you plan. Try and include a protein source, healthy carbohydrate, and fruit or vegetable in each meal as able. Don’t worry if this isn’t possible every single meal…remember, eating healthfully doesn’t mean “perfectly.” One meal (or even day) will not affect your nutritional status.
2) Stock snacks! Teenagers in particular should be eating AT LEAST every 4 hours to help maintain blood sugar levels for energy, mental focus, and appetite regulation. If you can, think of ordering some non-perishable options for your room or stock up on choices from the dining hall. Snacks with fiber, protein, and healthy fats will be help keep you full and energized. Below I’ll list a few options that have helped my family survive!
3) Keep exercise as fun as possible. I get that sometimes it’s tough to get motivated, believe me. It’s getting colder, darker AND we’re stuck in isolation?? Take a breath and try to take advantage of this time to try different activities than you may have chosen before. Check out an online yoga or Zumba class (no one’s there to watch you!). Think of putting together a Zoom workout with friends. Making a meeting with others is a great way to maintain socialization and can help hold you accountable for those days you know you’ll feel better after but literally can’t even. Make a goal to be consistent, whatever that means to you, and include adequate rest days.
One of the best benefits of exercise is the mental release it can provide so schedule it at times you know you may need a break.
Remind yourselves that we’re all making history together. Do what you can, when you can, and focus on flexibility and compassion with yourself and others. Please reach out if you have ANY questions related to food, nutrition, or body image during these times and I’ll see you here next month!
Non-perishable food options: No sugar-added applesauce (try cinnamon too!), Any kind of nut, Quinoa Bowls (Kitchen & Love or Cucina & Amore are great brands), KIND Bar, Rice or quinoa cakes with nut butter (Justin’s almond or peanut butter squeeze packs are pre-portioned for on the go), Baked sweet potato chips (Terra), Baked™ dried fruits, Crunch chickpeas or popcorn, Dark chocolate covered or cocoa roasted almonds, and Individual tuna or salmon pouches on bread or crackers.