The coronavirus lockdown has necessitated several changes to the way we live our lives, and this includes how and what we eat.
With the UK unable to head out to eateries and restaurants, and some of us not being able to get our usual groceries from the supermarket due to the limited availability of some items, it’s likely that many of us will be rethinking our eating plan to accommodate this temporary situation.
But on the plus side, this does present an opportunity for many of us to cook in our own kitchens from scratch, to try different things, and try to eat a little healthier than we normally might.
In the next instalment of our Keeping Up With The Pack series, we spoke to Toronto Wolfpack players and staff about how they’re managing their diets during lockdown, and what they’re doing to ensure they eat healthily.
How often should we be cooking at home?
With many of us working from home (and, as a consequence, not going out for lunch), and with most restaurants closed for the duration of lockdown, it’s safe to assume that households up and down the UK are cooking at home more than they do normally right now.
But a notion we’ve put forward several times on the Treated blog is that, really, eating out should be an occasion rather than a habit. If you can cook or prepare the majority of what you eat at home, then you’ll ultimately have more control over your diet, and be better off financially too.
So, to see how the current situation was affecting their eating patterns, but also as it’s something fans of the team will no doubt be eager to know, our first question to Toronto players was:
How often do you cook at home?
Gaz O’Brien: ‘I’m one of those people that quite enjoys cooking, so I’m quite lucky in that respect. I know that some people look at it like a chore, but I really enjoy it so every evening meal - bar the odd cheat day - is cooked. Obviously, I’ve got a lot more time on my hands now so a lot of my time is spent in the kitchen making food.’
Bodene Thompson: ‘Yes, I do all the cooking. Well, the majority of the cooking. Probably 90%. I love cooking. My fiance loves cleaning, so it works out very well!’
Tony Gigot: ‘I used to but now I’m lucky, because I’m back home in France with my family. So I don’t need to cook! My Mum and my sister cook for me, so it’s pretty good!’
Should we change how we eat during lockdown?
When you consider that you won’t be burning as much energy as you normally would - because you’re not able to leave the house as much - it’s probably a good idea to keep on top of how many calories you’re eating.
When you’re staying at home, it’s certainly advisable to not eat more than you would usually, because that’s more likely to narrow or negate your calorie deficit, and can lead to weight gain.
So for many of us who can’t train as much as we normally do, or aren’t walking to work, this might necessitate changing our diets; whether it’s lighter foods or smaller portions.
We asked the Toronto players how their diets had changed in recent weeks.
Gaz O’Brien: ‘I’m one of the lucky ones! I’ve just got to try and continue to put on weight really. So as far as a diet goes it’s probably a good thing, because I’m not training as much.
‘At the weekends we’ve been set that we’ve got to cover the distance we usually would in a game, on a road-run. So maybe before that I’ll have a big carb meal. But as I say, I’m one of the lucky ones, because I don’t have to be too strict with my diet. I can look at a bowl of pasta and not really put any weight on.’
‘I know what’s bad and what’s good. As far as keeping count of calories, I don’t really have to worry too much about that. It’s probably more the bigger boys that’ve gotta do that kind of stuff.’
Bodene Thompson: ‘I’m just sticking to the same diet I’ve been on all year. But, you know in saying that you've gotta be a bit wary about what you’re eating. I just try intermittent fasting. Some days or at least once a week I try and fast for 24 hours.’
‘Say if I have a big dinner the night before, I just say the next day I’m going to intermittent fast until dinner again. So I try and do that once a week, if not every week then at least once every 14 days. It just helps to make sure the body is reset and using everything. Every day I usually fast until lunch time.’
‘And I drink water. Just try and drink as much water as I can get in, which is normally probably two to three litres a day. Your body feels good after it, and with all the science these days you know, it’s got a lot of good studies behind it.’
Gadwin Springer: ‘I try to have less carbs. I still eat some vegetables high in protein, because I still train, I still go and run, and do some exercise. So I still try and keep my protein high. So I just stay low on my carbs.’
Tony Gigot: ‘I try and focus my body weight on 93 (kilos). That’s where I like to be. But I don’t follow a very hard diet, but I eat well. I can see some players who go very hard, never eating any sugar. But that makes me happy, not every day, but on the weekend I like to have a Coca Cola or if I can have a McDonalds once a week I will. I am careful.’
‘When I see my body weight goes up too much I try to go back to white chicken with salad and soup. You know, no sugar, a lot of water. That’s what I do when I’m too heavy.’
Hakim Miloudi: ‘For dinner I try to eat a salad with meat. During lunchtime, sometimes pasta, if not I try to eat vegetables with meat or chicken. For me, if I don’t want to put too much weight on, I just eat a lot of vegetables. So I can stay fit with that.’
As Hakim illustrates, staying indoors can present challenges. Boredom might cause us to turn to less healthy snacks. So it’s important to keep moderation in mind.
Hakim Miloudi: ‘If it’s a really long day, and you have nothing to do and you’re watching TV, and you wanna eat some chocolate - my bad thing is Nutella.’
Tony Gigot: ‘He’s big on Nutella, Hakim. Loves Nutella on pancakes.’
Hakim Miloudi: ‘That’s my really bad thing, because I can eat Nutella with everything.’
Why signature dishes can be good for you
Lockdown can provide us with an opportunity to experiment, and try our hand at new dishes in the kitchen.
But on some nights, and particularly during these challenging and uncertain times, signature dishes can bring great comfort and much needed familiarity.
So what are the Wolfpack signature dishes?
Bodene Thompson: ‘I’m just very basic when it comes to my food. So, for a signature dish, I like doing a sweet potato and vegetable cottage pie. Organic grass fed mince, vegetables chopped in there, onions, and then cooked in coconut oil. Then organic sweet potato mashed up, cooked with butter, and then layered on top and some organic cheese. Then cooked in the oven. That’s always a go-to dish that one.’
Gaz O’Brien: ‘My signature dish? I do a very good chicken and prawn risotto. That’s my go to. First time I met my wife, it was the first meal I cooked for her when we first started going out so that’s always my go to. But I can’t get any pasta anywhere, cause everybody’s ransacked the shelves! So instead we used a penne mixed with peas, so it was green. It was really nice.’
Gadwin Springer: ‘Overnight oats, with almond milk, yoghurt, ghreek yoghurt, honey, frozen fruit, cinnamon and I’ll just add all sorts and leave it overnight and have it in the morning for my breakfast. For lunch, I’ll probably have chicken with veg like broccoli, anything green, or salad.’
Stay Well and Social Distance
You might be tempted to reach for the phone and a takeaway menu during times like this, but the most important takeaway right now is: Stay at home.
For the latest information and advice on coronavirus, head to the NHS website.
Read more on how to talk to a clinician online about COVID-19.
You can also get tested for the coronavirus with Treated.com. We currently offer two types of test. You can learn more about them by following the following links:
- The coronavirus swab test, which screens for current infection;
- The coronavirus antibody test, which screens for previous infection.