60 per cent of Canadians changed eating habits during pandemic

By: Braden Kutzner

Health trends are taking shape, in part, because people have more time at home./BRADEN KUTZNER

The pandemic has created a new wave of Canadians making healthier lifestyle changes. 

Jennie Mullin, 26, is one Winnipeg resident who’s found success sticking to healthier changes since January.

“The pandemic allowed us to have success where we maybe wouldn’t have before,” said Mullin. “It’s been easier to stick to the good habits when we aren’t going out to eat or meet with friends.” 

Mullin said she hasn’t been trying a particular diet but has been counting calories and cutting out unhealthy foods.

“We can be more particular about what we’re eating. We have more time to plan our meals and what to bring into our home.”

Harsharan Kullar, a victim’s service practitioner for the RCMP, has found success with her healthy habits now that she works from home.

“I was always in the office working 12-hour night shifts, so I relied a lot on ordering food or what’s quick,” said Kullar. “That completely changed when COVID hit. I didn’t have to rely on fast foods anymore.”

The 33-year-old said she’s lost 65 pounds since making diet changes.

A 2020 survey by meal kit delivery service, HelloFresh, said roughly 60 per cent of Canadians changed their eating habits since the start of the pandemic. 

The survey also said nearly 50 per cent of Canadians have switched to healthier options by preparing more meats and vegetables over unhealthier options. 

Despite these positive changes, the survey said snacking has also increased in Canadian households. 

Fortunately, both Mullin and Kullar said they have avoided the bad snacking habit. A common dietary change that Mullin and Kullar share is an increase in the amount of water they drink and tracking what they eat.

“Drinking enough water has been so important,” said Mullin.

Mullin and Kullar both said their biggest worry is if they’ll be able to keep their new lifestyle when things start to open up again.

“I’m nervous to go back to work,” said Kullar. “I’m nervous I won’t be able to eat right when I lose the flexibility from working at home.”

The Manitoba government has signalled it may tighten health restrictions in the coming weeks, which could provide more time for Manitobans to build healthy habits at home and stick with them.