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Guidelines on nutrition during covid-19

Dr.ª Soraia Santos


In the time of pandemic and confinement that we are all going through, it is important to maintain a varied and balanced diet, rich in fibers and vitamins, essentially vitamin C and E, and some minerals such as zinc and selenium, which help to strengthen the immune system.

Some foods contribute to improving our immunity, such as yogurts, which have a probiotic action due to the presence of bacteria that help regulate intestinal flora, onions and garlic act as anti-inflammatory agents, ginger and mushrooms, more specifically the shitake mushroom, for their beneficial properties.

During confinement it is inevitably that we use less energy than usual and, naturally, combating a sedentary lifestyle and weight gain become a difficult task. It is recommended, in addition to a healthy diet, to maintain physical exercise, with daily exercise classes at home and /or hiking or running outdoors.

Do not forget that drinking water regularly is essential for the for the correct functioning of our bodily functions. At least 1 ½ liters of liquids per day is recommended, can be plain water, flavored water, tea or herbal infusions without sugar.

From a planning point of view, when buying food, especially vegetables, preference should be given to frozen products that have greater durability, but at the same time, fresh products and fruit, such as orange, lemon, kiwi, pineapple and red fruits are a must.

One should take advantage of these moments which mean spending more time at home with the children. Invite them to participate in the elaboration some healthy recipes, such as natural yogurt ice cream or natural fruit jelly. Likewise instilling in them the habit of eating more vegetables  by using your imagination in the ways presentation, by grating, slicing, cutting into cubes or making  “spaghetti” vegetables.

On a final note, it is important to stress that this is not the time for very restrictive diets, a balanced diet and maintaining a good body weight, is already great!

Healthy recipies

  • Watercress soup without potato
  • Light vegetable broth
  • Crispy chicken steaks with cauliflower puree
  • Courgette and grated carrot cakes with poached egg
  • Hake medallions with coriander and steamed broccoli
  • Lettuce, shrimp and avocado salad
  • Quinoa salad with azuki beans and kale
  • Mini muffins with tomato, spinach and shitake mushrooms
  • Sugar-free jelly with chopped fresh fruit
  • Plain yogurt ice cream, with chopped fresh fruit
  • Baked oven roast apples with cinnamon
  • Oatmeal and blueberry pancakes and hibiscus infusion

Tips on juices and teas to boost immunity

  • Curcuma, ginger, lemon and cinnamon stick tea
  • Fresh beet, orange, carrot and spinach juice
  • Apple juice, cabbage leaf, parsley, lemon and ground flaxseed (1tbsp.)
  • Varied infusions, eucalyptus leaves, thyme, rosemary, pennyroyal, star anise

Watercrest soup without potato 

Place 1 medium half peeled courgette, 1/2 leek, 1 onion, 2 chayote and 300g pumpkin, chopped  in a pot  and cook for approximately 15 minutes, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and salt. Once cooked puree and add watercress leaves (100g) and bring to the boil.

Light vegetable broth  

Place homemade chicken stock in a pot, after removing the fat, add 1 diced carrot, 1 diced turnip, 1 sliced leek stalk, shredded cabbage, some Portuguese green cabbage leaves, 1 small portion of peas and salt. Once cooked and add mint leaves or thyme to taste.

Crispy chicken steaks with cauliflower puree

Season thinly sliced chicken steaks with lemon juice, garlic and salt and let stand for 2 hours.  Beat 3 whole eggs in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl mix 150g chopped almonds and 100g oatmeal flakes. Crumb the steaks by dipping in the beaten egg and then in the oatmeal and almond mixture. Place the steaks on a baking tray with grease proof paper bake in the oven at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes.

For the cauliflower puree, cook the cauliflower, add 2 tablespoons of quark cheese 0% fat, puree  and season with salt and pepper.


Courgette and grated carrot cakes with poached egg

Grate 1 medium courgette and squeeze to remove excess liquid;  grate 1 medium carrot. “Caramelize” ½ red onion in a little olive oil, add to the vegetables together with chopped parsley and 3 tablespoons of rice flour. Form into small “cakes” fry in a non-stick frying without adding fat. Beat 2 eggs in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Poach the egg with water and vinegar over a low heat and serve over the fried “cakes” and serve. 


Hake medallions with coriander and steamed broccoli  

Season the fish medallions (1 medium packet) with salt, pepper and lemon juice and marinate for about 30 minutes. Steam-cook in a bed of coriander, top with tzatziki sauce with yogurt and cucumber base and serve with steamed broccoli, seasoned to taste. 


Lettuce, shrimp and avocado salad 

Place iceberg lettuce, purple lettuce and arugula in a bowl, 1 medium ripe avocado sliced and the  200gr shrimp. Add mini mozzarella balls, grated carrots and basil leaves to taste. Season with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and lemon juice


Quinoa salad with azuki beans and kale

Pre-cook 100g of tricolor quinoa in salted water for about  5 minutes. Serve in a bowl and add 150g of kale cabbage finely chopped, 100g finely grated red cabbage, 1/2 cucumber chopped and the corn kernels (1 small tin/package). Finally add the cooked azuki beans (150g) and top with a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, juice of half a lime and a little salt.


Mini muffins with tomato, spinach and shitake mushrooms  

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. In a non-stick frying pan pace spinach leaves (200g) add dry garlic and onion, olive oiland sauté, add the shitake mushrooms (200g) and the chopped fresh tomato (150g). Season with salt and pepper to taste. In a separate bowl, beat 10 whole eggs and add to the mixture. Place the mixture in a 12 cup silicone muffin tray with a cherry tomato on top of each muffin. Place in the oven for about 20 minutes and serve with a salad.


Sugar-free jelly with chopped fresh fruit  

Prepare 2 packets sugar-free jelly, add 200g of fresh fruit, in cubes or slices such as strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, apple, seedless grapes, mango, blueberries or raspberries. Place in refrigerator to set.


Plain yogurt ice cream with fresh fruit 

In a bowl mix 300g low-fat unsweetened plain yogurt, add 1 tablespoon organic honey and mix with previously chopped fresh fruit. Place in ice cream forms in the freezer.


Baked oven roast apples with cinnamon 

Place in an oven baking tray 6 washed, whole, pitted apples. Place 1 cinnamon stick in each one, lightly sprinkle with brown sugar and top with ground cinnamon.  If you wish 2 tablespoons port wine can be added to each apple. Bake for about 25 minutes at 180 degrees oven until golden. 


Oatmeal and blueberry pancakes and hibiscus infusion 

In a bowl place 2 tablespoons oatmeal, 1 tablespoon coconut flour, 1 whole egg, 1/2 teaspoon  baking powder and vegetable drink little sugar to taste, add some fresh blueberries to the dough. Cook pancakes on a non-stick frying pan and spread a little 100% creamy peanut butter (single serving). Serve with sugar-free hibiscus infusion.