The basket has been updated
Yet this is the 2020 we have found ourselves living in, where walking 2 metres apart has become the norm and touching a door handle at the same time as a stranger is as preposterous as turning round and snogging them.
For all the right reasons we are adapting and this means thinking about the way in which we eat too. Staying in the house for such an extensive period is daunting enough without the added stress of a ‘what’s for dinner’ panic. These are our top tips for eating well during quarantine:
Think ahead before going shopping and work out what you are going to eat for the next few days/week. Start by making a list of everything you already have in your kitchen. Stick it somewhere visible so you can cross off things as you use them. With dry ingredients at a premium, plan your meals around things that you already have rather than stressfully searching for a specific ingredient, then if you do chance upon a bag of pasta it will be a happy coincidence. If you have kids get them involved and let them choose a meal for the week.
You may now find yourself in a position where you are working very close to/in your kitchen with the temptation to eat being everywhere. As much as you can try and stick to a routine. This doesn’t need to be the same as your usual day to day as you may be getting up later, given the proximity of your bed to the office, so start a routine specific to your current situation. Make sure to include snacking as part of this, as it is a great way to break up the day and take some time out from your work. It’s unrealistic to think you won’t get a sugar low at some point in the day, if you don’t include snacks as part of your routine it only sets yourself up for failure.
Get in all of those fruits and veggies. The easiest way to maximise your vitamin intake is by eating as many different coloured fresh produce as possible. Make it into a fun challenge for children, how many colours of the rainbow can you get through in one day? Luckily the shops are pretty well stocked with fresh goods – we’ve found that the smaller independent shops have a better variety. When planning meals, go for a mix of root veg, sturdy greens such as cabbages and broccoli, citrus fruits and apples which are long lasting and can be cooked later in the week along with more perishable ingredients such as salad bags that can be used first.
Firstly unpack it and find out what you have. You will most likely be pleasantly surprised by the amount of meals and ingredients you can already make or use from the freezer. Add them into your meal plan. Think about stocking up on some frozen veg that can be used easily. Peas, edamame and mixed berries are all good options as they are picked at the height of their season and are often tastier than their out of season fresh alternatives. When cooking, make more than you need and freeze portions for a later date. Future-you will be thankful. Lastly, don’t be scared of freezing. Pretty much everything can be frozen aside from watery greens, honestly even hummus, and mash!
In these unsettling times it is so important to listen to what your body is telling you and give it what it needs – be it in the form of a batch of cookies or a veg heavy stir fry. Tuning in to what you fancy eating and how your body is feeling is a great way of keeping in touch with your mental health.
Is there something you have always fancied making? Sourdough, fresh pasta or even your own mayonnaise? Well now is the chance to do it. Embark on something new and see this slower pace of life as a chance to learn a skill or simply dust off a cookbook and make that recipe you’ve always really fancied but discarded because you didn’t have the time. Cooking with kids can be stressful but now is as good a time as ever to teach them.