Hi everyone! I hope you’re all doing okay and keeping safe during these uncertain times. I thought I’d add in an ad hoc blog post to give you all some guidance and reassurance that you can get some good nutrition in even when you’re down to the bare bones in your cupboards and freezer – particularly while the supermarkets are looking a little sparse!
I definitely don’t want to encourage stock piling (please do not stockpile!!!) but having a bag of frozen veg, frozen peas, a few tins of chopped tomatoes, some dried herbs and spices and perhaps some tinned fruit (my personal favourite is peaches!) would be a great idea right now.
Here are my top 4 tips on how to maintain good nutrition during lockdown…
1. Plan meals in advance
The shops at the moment are, at best, an awkward place to be. If you plan 3 meals (and some snacks) a day for 7 days, use that to write your shopping list. Use that list to work your way around the supermarket to reduce the time you spend in there. That way you have minimised your shopping time, saved money by sticking to your list (hopefully!), and ensured you have enough food for 7 whole days.
2. Snacking and Portion Control
Many of us are finding the outbreak of corona virus quite stressful, while others might be finding lockdown quite boring – both of these are triggers for overeating and frequent snacking.
Before reaching for a snack, ask yourself: Am I hungry or am I just thirsty/bored/sad? If the answer is that you’re hungry, go ahead and eat – just remember to consider your options. Eating an apple is great but will only keep you full for a short time frame. Try having a source of fat and protein with the snack, such as some cheese to help keep you fuller for longer!
Portion control is key at the moment to reduce the risk of overeating. Serving up large portions also runs the risk of wasting food – something else we want to avoid right now! Try serving smaller portions, you can always go back for seconds. If you find you cook too much, use leftovers for lunches.
3. Long life protein options
If you are vegetarian/vegan or finding meat harder to find, try and choose longer life protein options such as canned beans, chickpeas, lentils, nut butters, and frozen meat/fish/alternatives.
If you’re leaning more towards the legumes, pulses and nut butters, pair them with other foods that “compliment” them to ensure you are getting all of the essential amino acids which will ultimately give you the best protein quality. For example, pair grains (rice, wheat, barley) with legumes (peas, beans). A further benefit of choosing to lean towards beans and pulses is that they are full of fibre which will keep you feeling full and is great for your bowel health!
4. Frozen Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs
Having a stock of frozen veggies, fruits and herbs will allow you to still get plenty of vitamins, minerals and fibre – even if you need to isolate or are struggling to buy fresh at the supermarket. Frozen raspberries are delicious eaten frozen or defrosted and unlike other frozen fruits, defrosting them only slightly alters their mouthfeel. Frozen spinach is easy to add to any meal and it’s a great way to add some iron and folate. Frozen herbs such as rosemary are perfect if you prefer using fresh to dried as a lot of the fresh flavour is retained!
A few recipe ideas
Remember, you might not have all of the ingredients for a recipe, but feel free to substitute and experiment! Try some of the below…
Baked Beans on Toast
So this might sound a bit obvious as an easy breakfast, lunch or dinner but actually baked beans on toast is full of great nutrition too! This meal has lots of fibre and protein to help keep you fuller for longer, but be mindful of the salt/sugar content of the beans. If the beans are reduced salt/sugar you can count them as 1 of your 5 fruit/vegetables a day. You could also consider adding a side of another vegetable (such as mushrooms or spinach) to increase your intake!
Got a tin of tuna sitting looking sad in the cupboard? A couple of potatoes maybe? Try these tuna fish cakes! Tuna is a great source of lean protein (although it can be high in salt and should be eaten in moderation). The potatoes in this recipe will provide you with lots of potassium and vitamin C to aid immune function and keep your skin looking nice! Check out this recipe for tuna fish cakes
Check out this recipe! https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/tuna_fishcakes_01279
The below recipe is a really great base for a vegetarian chilli using items you would find in your pantry, however it is so adaptable. I would add frozen sweet potato, a tin of chopped tomatoes, and maybe some frozen peppers. I would also probably make use of my slow cooker but perhaps that’s just me being lazy! For meat lovers, feel free to add some meat! Turkey or beef mince would work perfectly.
I hope this post has given you some level of inspiration and reassurance!
PS – stay at home, buy only what you need, and we can get through this together!