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Jul 23, 2020

Healthy Living: Nutrition Advice During Pandemic

Since the start of the pandemic, weight gain seems to be one of the more prominent universal side effects of lockdowns and quarantines. While it’s not time to be hard on yourself about body image, it is an opportune time to focus on improving your health. Tonight in Healthy Living, one nutritionist shares five tips on how to reduce weight gain and explains why the best time to do it is now. 


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

The pandemic has introduced an innumerable amount of changes in our daily lives. One less discussed change has been the growing numbers on your scale. It’s casually being called the “Quarantine 15″ the extra pounds you may have packed on since the start of the pandemic. What’s causing this collective weight gain? Nutritionist Doris Sutherland explains that change in routine and stress are to blame.

Doris Sutherland

Doris Sutherland, Nutritionist, Belize Healthcare Partners

“Being at home especially with all that food around us combined with us feeling stress, worry and uncertain about many things tend to lead us to emotional eating or also stress eating which can lead us to weight gain.  Those that are gaining weight. They don’t really notice because it becomes a habit that they get used to it and it doesn’t only have to do with the meals that they eat or the portions or the calories. It also has to do with not being as active as they were before or not doing any type of exercise or disrupting their sleeping hours sleeping late at night and waking up late in the morning and all of these things can affect their weight.”


Sutherland stresses that it’s not about dieting to lose the weight but about being smarter in your choices. She offers a few tips to help to move your scale in a healthier direction.

One: Shop Smart


Doris Sutherland

“Shop smart. Always go to the grocery store with a list of healthier options. Not only foods that will meet your daily requirement, but also those that will satisfy your nutritional needs. For example, if you are buying fruits and vegetables, you can to purchase enough that could last you for a long time. What you can do is purchase fresh or even frozen or canned fruits. You want to consume the fresh fruits and leave the canned or frozen for after.”


Two: Plan Your Meals


Doris Sutherland

“You want to buy foods that can last you for a month or foods that are long-lasting but what we see is that there are a lot of people who tend to consume all these foods in a very short time, so you want to plan your meals, so you have enough for your duration of the month.”


Three: Have Five Meals a Day


Doris Sutherland

“By eating food every 3-4 hours, so you cannot be hungry or not having a lot of cravings because we have been too long without eating. So having these five meals means we should have five big meals a day. We should start with having a large breakfast, having a snack between breakfast and lunch. Having modest lunch having an evening snack and having an even smaller meal in the night.”


Four: Increase your intake of healthy foods – fibre, vegetables & water


Doris Sutherland

“Consider consuming whole grains. We have seen in patients that consume whole grains that especially those that have a high amount of fibre, like wheat or brown rice or anything with fibre would keep them full for a longer time compared to things like white bread or white rice or things that don’t have enough fibre. Also having a serving of vegetables before your actual meal will allow you to eat a lot less at mealtime. Being hydrated. Drinking eight to ten cups of water or even more for the day will not allow you to be hungry too often.”


Lastly and most importantly: Manage your stress


Doris Sutherland

“In order to be able to follow all these general recommendations about eating healthy and exercise, we need to be able to practice ways on how to alleviate the stress. Stress is something that even you don’t among it, and you want to try to eat healthy, it won’t really work. You want to go about managing your stress then you can make changes to your dietary habits.”


It’s not about stressing to lose weight. While a little weight gain may seem like no big deal in the current context, it is critical not to let it get out of control. One reason is that obesity is associated with severe complications in people with COVID-19.

Doris Sutherland

“Take this time to lose some of the weight or prevent yourself from continuing gaining weight and of course there are a lot of other diseases that have not been completely treated like diabetes-like hypertension like high cholesterol that is still around us, not only COVID. So If you want to do it now not only because of COVID but all the other risk factors that weight gain can lead to.”


Sutherland encourages that we use some of the extra time at home to learn to cook healthier meals and to exercise.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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