Some Shopping & Cooking Tips For These Trying Times
Managing to eat well if you need to self-isolate for a while.
It is indeed unprecedented times, and there is understandably a heightened sense of anxiety and uncertainty for everybody with the spread of the Covid 19 virus. It is completely normal and understandable if you are feeling this way and feeling that life feels out of control at the moment.
I have been reflecting on the advice to stock up on groceries and food so that you have enough for at least two weeks worth of meals should you need to self isolate. It got me thinking about what kind of things would make this easier if you have a large family or are trying to manage your health and wellbeing not only from a nutritional perspective but also from a budgeting perspective, especially since some people will be feeling the pinch if their work hours are reduced.
For my regular patients and clients it will come as no surprise that I will suggest stocking up on lots of legumes eg lentils (red, yellow, green, brown, & black), chick peas, black beans, kidney beans, adzuki beans etc.
In dried form they are inexpensive and highly nutritious and will feed lots of hungry people.
On their own I do appreciate they don't look pretty or appealing but you can make amazing Bolognese type sauces, lasagna's, curries, patties, or dips and many other yummy meals. You just need to have some tinned tomatoes and/ or tomato puree (I like using the locally grown tins of crushed tomatoes) or some simmer sauces on hand.
If you don't want to bother with the soaking and boiling process, tinned ones are an excellent substitute and also quite inexpensive. There are lots of locally grown options of tinned legumes available.
I also suggest stocking up on are frozen veggies. Frozen veggies can be as healthy as fresh varieties. There are plenty of locally grown options and are relatively inexpensive. You can even buy chopped locally grown onions that are great to have on standby for cooking with the added bonus of no watering eyes from chopping them. This way you can ensure you are also getting adequate nutrition during periods of isolation.
If you have plenty of spices and herbs you can create a variety of flavours to enhance your meals. Some of my favourites to have in the pantry are cumin seeds, coriander, nigella seeds, chilli flakes and some Mediterranean spice mixes.
In addition to all the beans and legumes and frozen veggies, here are a few other items that might help you to create healthy meals/snacks that might be worth stocking up on for the next little while that has a long life span.
- Onions, garlic, ginger, and turmeric
- Lemon and or lime squeeze (great to drizzle over your steamed veggies with pepper and salt)
- Balsamic or red or white wine vinegar, as vinegar or lemon juice will lower the GI of your meal.
- Seeded or Dijon mustard to add to vinaigrettes for drizzling over steamed veggies if you are unable to buy fresh salad type veggies for a while.
- Packets of papadams. These can me cooked in the microwave and are a yummy accompaniment to a meal. They are inexpensive and often made from lentil flour.
- Packets of cous –couos, basmati rice, pearl barley and brown low Gi rice
- Low GI pasta and high fiber pasta
- Packets of whole meal flour so you can make flat breads or chapattis if you cant pop out for fresh bread.
- Extra virgin olive oil and or olive oil spray
- Split peas (yellow and green) to make pea soup
- Stock cubes
- Curry powders and or pastes
- Light condensed milk (tinned) to make some creamy dishes
- Prunes for a high fiber sweet snack.
- Unsalted and sugar free peanut butter (good to have on standby to have on crackers for high protein snacks).
- Ryvita crackers and vita wheat crackers.
- Popcorn kernels for snacks
- Steel cut oats
- Jars of pickles (cornichons) for snacks
- A variety of dry roasted unsalted nuts for snacks
- If you would like to utilise some legumes but are not sure how, here is my special "go to" lentil or kidney bean Bolognese sauce recipe: This can also be used to bulk up a regular meat Bolognese.
- Soaked, rinsed and then boiled lentils or beans or you can use the tinned version, just be sure to rinse them first.
- Chopped onions/ garlic optional. (You can use freeze dried garlic or powdered garlic)
- Extra Virgin Olive oil
- Tin or tins (depending on quantity of legumes) of chopped tomatoes
- Tub(s) of tomato puree
- Loads of coriander and cumin
- Salt, pepper, chilli to taste
- Heat the oil till its nice and hot.
- Fry the onions and garlic till golden with all the spices and herbs you are going to use, as the hot oil will release their flavour.
- Add cooked legumes of choice and mix through the onions and spices.
- Add tinned tomatoes and puree and simmer on a low heat till thick, rich and bubbly.
- Add salt to taste and serve with rice or pasta
- Sprinkle Parmesan on top (optional)
- A little tip is to not add the tomatoes till your legumes are nice and soft because if you add it before you will prevent the legumes and beans from cooking properly. Bon appetite.Given the heightened anxiety and need for reduced social activities this might make some people feel even more vulnerable and isolated. Reaching out to friends and family via phones, messaging, social media and video conferencing something we often discourage due to the idea that face to face is better, could now be very important to help to ease some loneliness and help people to stay connected and reassured during this stressful time.For those that feel they would like to continue having counselling sessions and /or weight management coaching but feel reluctant to travel or come in person while the social distancing strategies are in place, I offer Skype and face time consultations. Please reach out via my website or call if you want to book a time or discuss changing your current appointments.Take care dear patients; clients, friends and colleagues and if you have any questions about these recipes or shopping tips don't hesitate to be in touch