Did you suffer from the “quarantine 15?”  According to a WebMD survey of 1,000 people, almost half of the women and a quarter of the men surveyed indicated they gained weight during quarantine.  Healthy eating habits may have given way to comfort food, gyms closed and exercise habits may have changed, and routine health checks and doctor appointments may have been missed.  With the days getting shorter and the air getting cooler, it is time to “fall” into health.

Get your nutrition back on track by drinking plenty of water, and increasing your fruit and vegetable intake.  Apples, pears, grapes, pineapples, bananas, cranberries, and kiwi fruit are all in season in the fall.  Some fall vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, peas, spinach, potatoes, pumpkin, and winter squash.  You will find most of these fall fruits and vegetables in the meals served at Meals On Wheels, and the produce may even be coming from a local farm.  Remember to skip the sugar and calorie containing beverages and opt for more water.  Even substituting water for one soda or juice a day can make a difference.  Also, keep in mind that you need plenty of fluids even when it is cooler outside!

After filling your plate with those fall season fruits and vegetables, focus on your physical activity.  Older adults can find chair exercise videos on YouTube, and many gyms offer both in person and virtual Silver Sneaker classes.  Homebound or not a class person?  Colder temperatures might tempt you to go for a walk, or simply add extra steps to your day.  Take a lap around the house or block when you go outside for the mail, walk up the steps in your house a few extra times, or park further away while running errands and attending appointments.  You can also try a few chair exercises during TV commercials.  While improved mobility and exercise can help mood and many medical conditions, always remember to check with your health care provider before starting a new exercise program.

Eating healthy and exercising will certainly help you “fall” into health.  But, think about other aspects of your health that may have fallen by the wayside during quarantine.  Did you reschedule that dentist appointment you missed?  Have you recently been seen by your primary care physician and your specialist?  It is now more important than ever to stay up to date on all vaccines, and preventative and routine health care.

How can Meals on Wheels help you or a loved one “fall” into health?  Our home delivered meals are rich in the fruits and vegetables mentioned above.  They are high in fiber, and controlled in sodium, fat, and added sugars.  Our frozen chef packs are also a great option, and our team of staff and volunteers are committed to helping keep you safe and healthy!

Author: Hayley Daubert, MPH, RDN, LDN – Consulting Dietary Nutritionist to Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley