Cooking in a crisis
With limited supplies of certain products, we’ve got to be careful how we cook during COVID-19. Here’s some tips to help you get the most from your kitchen.
The bare necessities
If you haven’t already got your cupboard staples, now’s the time to get them. Try to have some Herbs, Spices, Stock Cubes, Oils and Condiments; such as Worcestershire Sauce, Soy Sauce and Redcurrant Jelly (a surprisingly good addition to a dish!) that can add real flavour to a dish and transform meat and vegetables into something far more tasty.
It’s also a good idea to have some immune system boosters such as Garlic, Ginger, and Turmeric that have a longer use by date on them than the fresh alternatives such as Spinach, Kiwi’s and Broccoli. These will keep you healthy and fit to fight all the nasties.
Although stocks of tinned goods are limited at the moment, where possible try and get a few essentials that you can add to a dish to bulk it out, tinned Tomatoes, Passata, Kidney Beans, Mixed Beans etc. are all great meal bulkers.
Whilst we can’t always get what we want from the supermarket to make a specific recipe, take inspiration from cookbooks and online recipes and adapt them to what you have in your cupboards or what you may have been able to get from the supermarket. Think of it like an episode of Ready, Steady, Cook!
Substitute ingredients for similar alternatives – you never know you might actually prefer your new concoction! There’s a multitude of herbs and spices that can be substituted for something else, just Google it and you’ll be surprised what can be used instead.
When I’m cooking, even under normal circumstances, I love making a new dish out of what we have left in the cupboards or food that needs using up, some of these have become regulars on the menu, you can see my simple Sausage Casserole I made the other day on my blog – a real winner in our household.
Three is the magic number
Being at home all day can drive people to be munching their way through the cupboards and having snack attacks every hour. The trick is to set mealtimes and have three main meals a day with two additional snacks if needed. This means that you are being strict with your diet and not over-eating, plus you’re not snacking on food that may need to last you longer than normal.
Try to make your three main meals as filling as possible so that you’re satisfied for longer. Using the meal bulkers I mentioned before is a great way to do this to create a larger meal that goes further and fills you up.
This is the perfect time to restrict your portion sizes to what you need not just piling your plate up and struggling to eat it all. If you make too much try and save a portion to freeze as a quick and easy freezer meal or save it for your lunch the next day.
Treat yourself to a couple of snacks throughout the day, and if you’re working from home then use this as a designated break time away from the computer. If you have children, this can be a good time to spend some time with them and everyone have a break away – they’re used to routine at school, so using breaks as milestones throughout the day is a good way to extend this to the home. It also means they don’t expect you to be an all day diner with waitress service!
Staying fit and healthy during this time is really important, so try and put some forward thinking in to your meal plan and get a balance of everything you need throughout the day.
I realise this can be tricky to achieve with limited options on the shelves but there are always ways to get a balance in your diet, you may just need to substitute your favourites for an alternative.
There are lots of apps out there to help you keep track of what you’re eating, my favourite is My Fitness Pal, which is free and easy to use and gives you a good guide to the nutritional values of what you’re consuming.
Look for the positives
Take this opportunity to look at your eating habits and what you can improve, but always have a little treat once in a while as we all deserve that! Whether that’s a glass of wine or a chocolate bar, just don’t go ‘cold turkey’ as your body won’t thank you for it.
If you are part of a working family, you might not always get to eat together, so this is an ideal time to enjoy some family time around the dinner table. It may be something that you make more time for when all this is over, I’m sure there’s a few of us who have put more of an emphasis on family and friends during this crisis.
Above all stay safe, stay healthy and enjoy this time we have had inflicted upon us to do something positive.
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Hurtling in to my 40’s this is me sharing my life through a passion for food and drink... especially gin! Previously, I am Emily was a thriving design and marketing business that was merged with Creed Marketing in 2019 – not wanting to let go of a 10 year following the brand has edged in to the world of blogging. Follow my journey at iamemilyuk.