Nutrition, especially during the pandemic, has been one of the key pillars of sound physical health, cognitive abilities and most importantly, immunity. Today, many are scrambling to amp-up immunity by getting a dose of nutrients through supplements, whole foods, ayurvedic concoctions, and the like. And while this became the norm in 2020, with immunity-boosting foods and products taking over the market, the ongoing pandemic is reason enough to take forward these healthy eating habits and long-term health investments.
An ongoing campaign, the Right To Protein Initiative is a national public health advocacy drive centred around nutrition education and awareness. With TC46, they shed light on some vital nutritional facts from a plethora of leading nutrition experts, chefs and fitness enthusiasts that are key to making 2021 a healthier year for all.
Right To Protein’s Nutrition Lessons For 2021
2020 has been a year of revelations. And while this year has come with hardships and change for almost everyone around the world, we cannot deny that 2020 has been pivotal, influential and an eye-opener in ways we didn’t yet realize. With health becoming the number 1 priority, it was soon clear that good health is directly associated with our overall lifestyle and the food that we consume plays a significant role in it. 2020 has us all scrambling to relook at our diets, experiment with healthier ingredients, increase our protein levels to build immunity, and adapt to home cooking.
As we countdown to the end of 2020, here’s looking back at moments of learning, trends, and changes we observed this year and where we might see them go in 2021.
1. Increased Focus On Building Immunity
The pandemic has made us aware of the need to boost immunity in order to keep our health in check. Intake of turmeric mixed in hot milk, taking ginger shots, intake on vitamin C, and consuming enough protein-rich foods to boost immunity has become a part of the new normal. It is no secret that adequate protein in one’s diet is vital to build and repair body tissue, fight viral and bacterial infections. The natural immunity boosters for our body, proteins are essential to strengthen our immune system’s powerhouses such as antibodies and immune system cells. With the need for high immunity ever more pronounced in these unprecedented times, it is essential to include high protein foods in our daily meals.
Be it dals and legumes, fish, eggs or lean meats like chicken, dry fruits and nuts, dairy products, fresh green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, the sources of protein are manifold and affordable to suit everyone’s need; while being flexible enough to prepare a delicious meal. It is imperative to be mindful of your daily protein requirement based on your lifestyle and to ensure you consume an adequate amount regularly, one must ensure to consume at least ¼ of their plate with protein-rich foods for every meal.
In fact, an increasing number of people have renewed their interests in functional foods – foods that are fortified in protein and provide health benefits in the long run. This year also witnessed an increase in awareness and acceptance of protein-rich foods from a variety of sources. Many individuals realized that the food they consumed earlier was not meeting their daily protein requirements, based on a recent study, called Protein Paradox. A growing market showed people were resorting to different sources of food to meet their protein needs.
2. Home Cooked Meals For The Win
The many months of lockdown not only forced everyone to stay indoors but also allowed people to embrace and explore new hobbies and interests, old and new. Whipping up a meal in the kitchen, discovering new ingredients, and adopting healthier ways of cooking was such an activity that most of us took up with gusto. Instead of approaching cooking as a chore, it was an opportunity to provide yourself with some much-needed self-care. And cooking at home has more advantages, in fact, than just taking up a new skill – the benefits of home-cooked food are many.
Not only do you have complete control over what goes into your meals, but they also contain less sodium, saturated fat, total fat, and overall calories, making them much healthier. Along with monitoring portion sizes and calorie count, home-cooked meals tend to retain more nutrition because of the freshness of ingredients and simple cooking methodologies used. So, grab your apron and chef’s hat, and cook up a storm in your kitchen this coming year!
3. All Eyes On Reading Food Labels
While food products have always had labels indicating their content and nutritional value, often, we tend to ignore or miss out on paying close attention to what goes into our shopping carts. However, with increased awareness about what we consume and how nutrition from food plays an important role in our lives, more and more people are slowly beginning to focus on the content and ingredients on the food label. Reading and understanding nutrition labels is the quickest way to compare products and make informed decisions when it comes to healthier eating choices, while incorporating nutrient-dense foods for a balanced diet. Given growing consumers’ interest in honesty and transparency, food brands will need to be careful of their labels, messaging and avoid making health claims if they are not scientifically proven.
4. Affordable Nutrition
For many of us, this year is a reminder that health is momentary and can change at any time if not taken care off. And this belief has led many into thinking that healthy foods are by no means affordable for everyone. However, this myth has been busted as more and more people are gaining awareness about the many food products that are not just light on the pocket but loaded with nutrients. Be it dals, legumes, everyday vegetables, everyday eggs, yoghurt, milk, soy – they are all easily available in the market.
So, here’s bidding goodbye to all the challenges of 2020, while carrying a positive attitude with us all the knowledge and learnings from the past year into the next for a healthier, happier and safer 2021.