Women share how their eating habits have changed during Covid-19 pandemic

Has the pandemic changed your eating habits?
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If there’s one thing that has changed during the pandemic, it’s the way we eat. We change our eating habits for a variety of reasons – stress, health issues or it could be that we’re just bored.
 
But there are also the benefits of trying out a new diet that’s healthier than your current one.

And now that we’re all supposed to be considerate and try our best to dine at home, it’s a great time to opt for sustainable meals and switch to healthier options.

Food doesn’t just affect your physical energy levels. It’s also a vital part of our mental and emotional wellbeing.

We asked four women how their eating habits have changed this year and if they’ve experienced any interesting results:

Esther Lien, 28 - Became pescatarian  

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1. How has your diet changed during this Covid-19 pandemic?

I used to be someone who can’t live without having steak or fried chicken every other week. But during the CB, I would feel very lethargic after consuming my usual diet of meat and carbs.

I wasn’t ready to go meat-less, so I decided to just cut out all types of meat except seafood and fish. And I’ve been pescatarian for four months now.

2. How long did you take to adapt to this new eating habit?

It was actually much easier than I thought! It took me about three weeks to get fully used to it.

I mean, I still do crave fried chicken occasionally but I’ve managed to curb the cravings. Having fish and chips once in awhile has helped satisfied the fried food crave. And I think having a pescatarian diet has given me much less excuse to indulge in a meat-heavy meal.

3. What results have you noticed?

I didn’t lose any weight, if that’s what you want to know. But I did feel less bloated. I have mild gastritis, and having fish instead of other meats regularly seems to be alleviating the condition.

Sam Tan, 39 - Became vegan  

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1. How has your diet changed during this Covid-19 pandemic?

I’ve successfully transitioned into being fully vegan. I was in and out of the diet in 2019 – I’d binge eat meat after two weeks of vegan food. And that was mainly due to the lack of vegan options near my office. So you can imagine how bored I was of having cold salad for nearly every meal!

Come CB, I started working from home. I had more time to prepare my meals. I also rearranged my grocery shopping schedule where I’d go to the supermarket once every week. I used to drop by the supermarket every day after work and would shop for items without prior planning.

I guess my eating habits are much more…organised these days.

2. How long did you take to adapt to this new eating habit?

It took me about a month of staying home to fully cut out animal products from my diet. I was already off dairy products and had meat substitutes on hand. But committing strictly to the vegan lifestyle was difficult due to my hectic office life.

When I was forced to stay home due to Covid-19, I had more time to prepare my lunches and dinners. So it didn’t take long before I fully transitioned into being vegan.

3. What results have you noticed?

Weight loss was a definite thing, since cutting out store-bought food meant that I could also control my meals’ nutritional value.

But most importantly, I felt a lot happier and didn’t binge eat. I’ve always loved animals and tried to live sustainably. So I guess becoming vegan was the final step for me.

Elaine Yee, 42 - Started having more family dinners  

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1. How has your diet changed during this Covid-19 pandemic?

I’m having more real conversations with my family members during meals. I used to come home really late so I’d either have dinner out or just have my husband keep the food for me. Then, I’d eat alone while checking emails – yes, I’m a workaholic…

But now that I’m still working from home three days a week, I’m starting to appreciate what family conversations can do for my mental wellness.

My husband and I used to quarrel a lot because we didn’t have time to discuss problems we faced. I’d only see him for less than five hours a day: 30 min before heading to work and 3 hours from dinner till bed time. And we’d either sweep our problems under the rug, wait for it to surface again, or simply just give each other silent treatment.

2. How long did you take to adapt to this new eating habit?

No time at all. It was something I didn’t know I needed.

3. Results?

We have time to talk things out and understand each others’ schedules. My kids will be asleep by 9pm and my hubby and I will have some alone time till 11pm.

Previously, I’d only come home at 9pm and could only kiss my kids goodnight.

Dorota Lee, 34 - Started having better breakfasts and lighter dinners  

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1. How have your diet habits changed?

I used to skip out on breakfasts because I value sleep time more than anything else. I’d rather sleep for another 10 more minutes than use the time to get some breakfast.

Once I started WFH, I didn’t have to worry about beating the peak hour traffic. So I started doing this thing of having a cup of tea or coffee, along with a breakfast snack, before starting work.

Eventually, I got used to having time to make half-boiled eggs and kaya toast!

2. How long did you take to adapt to this new eating habit?

I think it took awhile…definitely more than a month. When I heard the new WFH news, the first thing I thought of was that I could sleep more. And I did…until I realised that skipping breakfasts were the main reason why I was always so tired by lunch.

3. What results have you noticed?

I’m definitely more energised! And come dinner time, I don’t have to stuff myself with food because of my nagging hunger.

This article was first published in Her World Online.