As people emerge from isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many are taking a fresh look at the eating habits they’ve maintained during the past year and a half. Some people actually improved their diet during this time while others gained the now-notorious “quarantine 15.”

Whatever your current situation, it’s not too late to adopt some of the good lockdown habits that can help you lose weight. Other eating patterns born of the pandemic — the ones that led to weight gain — can derail your healthy eating habits long-term if you don’t deal with them now. Monica Reinagel, LDN, a clinical nurse specialist, licensed nutritionist, and host of the Change Academy podcast, offers expert advice on the dietary habits you want to take into the future and which ones are better off left behind.

Healthy Habits

1. Having Breakfast

Many office workers transitioned to work-from-home arrangements during the pandemic, freeing them from morning commutes. And if you’ve ever had a schedule that requires you to race through school drop-off and fight traffic in order to get to your desk on time, you know that breakfast is often the first thing that gets cut from a morning routine. “People often give ‘ran out of time’ as an excuse for not eating breakfast,” says Reinagel.

Without that hectic morning commute, some people spent that time improving their self-care with simple steps like eating breakfast. And that can help with weight loss. A study published in June 2021 in the journal the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society found that those who didn’t eat a morning meal were more likely to eat more added sugars, carbohydrates, and total fat over the course of the day. “There are certain things you want in a healthy diet, such as fiber, that are often front-loaded for the day at breakfast,” says Reinagel.