At a time like this, what we eat is critically important to health and immunity. But with less frequent trips to the shops, preparing and choosing healthy fresh foods is often not as easy as it was. Many of my clients are reporting a return to an overreliance on carbohydrates such as bread products which means lower intakes of healthier food choices.
Research shows if we have healthy food up front and centre, then it’s easier to make healthier choices. Studies also suggest that if we plan meals out rather than grab and go healthier choices are more prevalent.
I’ve listed below some longer life foods - Fresh and frozen, tinned, packet and jars of products that you’ll be able to use as a base for healthy meals and even without the addition of fresh ingredients you can still make a healthy balanced meal.
Use your fresh ingredients first and the longer shelf items listed below will come in handy when the short life goods run out and you’ve a few days to wait until your next big shop.
NB If you find your intake of fresh fruit and veg has reduced during this crisis, it might be worth supplementing with a good multi-vitamin and vitamin C.
Staples to Keep You Healthy
Other root vegetables
Sturdy leafy greens like cabbage, kale, Swiss chard
Frozen vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, peas, mixed peppers, mushrooms etc
Tubes/jars Tomato paste
Jars Sun-dried tomatoes, Peppers, Artichokes, Pesto
Tinned sweet corn
Frozen fruit like berries or mango
Frozen smoothie mixes (choose one with green veg included)
Dried fruit like goji berries, raisins and apricots
Root vegetables like sweet potatoes, potatoes, squash
Whole-grain cereal like Oats, Weetbix, Shredded Wheat
Brown rice, quinoa, barley
Frozen chicken breasts or thighs, fish, prawns, or lean meat
Long-life/Shelf-stable milk (Dairy & Plant)
Canned red salmon, sardines, anchovies
Dried or canned legumes like lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, butter beans
Three bean mix, canned
Baked beans in tomato sauce
Blocks organic Tofu
Frozen avocado (great for smoothies)
Extra virgin olive oil
Tinned Coconut milk or blocks
Nuts and seeds, like almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, or chia seeds
Good quality nut butter
Sauces like sweet chili, reduced-sodium soy, dijon mustard, tamari
Dried spices like garlic, mixed herbs, onion powder, cumin, curry, turmeric
Apple cider vinegar
Bottle lemon juice
Honey or pure maple syrup
Herbal tea like green or lemon & ginger
Reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates as these cause spikes in blood sugars. Keeping your blood sugars balanced will keep energy levels consistent, help reduce cravings, better manage anxiety and moods.
Stick to regular meals with one to two snacks.
Build a balanced plate of nutrient-dense foods, half vegetables (remember the greens) or fruit, a quarter protein, and a quarter healthy complex carb with a drizzle or small portion of healthy fats. Even with snacks try to always include protein.
Drink plenty of water, minimum 1.5 litres. Adding mint and lemon makes it nice.
Remember that despite best efforts at daily exercise, we are likely to be less active given that we are not out and about. This means energy requirements could be less.
Eat mindfully chew well and listen to your body’s hunger cues.
And finally, try to find healthy, non-eating ways to manage your stress like meditating, stretching, or zoom calling a friend.
Of course, treats are part of a healthy balanced diet – so enjoy yours.