Whilst many things are still uncertain, one thing that’s clear is that we’re now having to adapt to a ‘new normal’ in this very strange and unexpected time in our lives. As we are all probably well aware now, we still need to limit our contact with others to reduce the spread of the virus, and that includes things that we used to see as mundane parts of life – like going to the shop for groceries!
To make your food and essential shopping items go further, I’ve created a ‘lockdown essentials’ guide with my no-nonsense recommendations for fridge/freezer essentials, store-cupboard staples and some tips for alternative ingredients that you may be struggling to get hold of, with the simple aims of…
- Keeping your weekly shopping budget down
- Limiting your trips to the shop
- Reducing food waste
- Creating simple, but tasty meals using nutritious ingredients!
FRIDGE & FREEZER ESSENTIALS:
Cheese and eggs can make part of a delicious snack (I love cheese with apple or a boiled egg sliced on top of an oat cake with tomato!) or why not or combine the two with some veg to make an omelette?
Meat, such as chicken, lean beef and fish are great sources of Vitamin B12 and lend themselves to a variety of different dishes.
Plain yogurt makes an ideal snack which you can jazz up with nut butter, cinnamon and fresh or frozen fruit!
Milk/Mylks– if you’re choosing plant-based, always look for fortified products ie those with added calcium & vitamin B12 (& if possible iodine!)
Tofu and edamame beans are a great source of plant based protein and are rich in calcium too!
Vegetarian & vegan sausages – pop them in the oven, chop and add to a salad or veggie casserole!
Frozen Fruit & Vegetables:
Frozen or fresh, they’re just as nutritious! Try opting for a rainbow of colours to ensure you’re consuming a variety of different vitamins and minerals.
Frozen banana or mango make for a thick and creamy breakfast smoothie! Add milk & a handful of frozen spinach for a dose of Vitamin A and to add colour too!
Frozen mixed veg – Simply add a few handfuls to a stir-fry or stew, there are lots of options out there!
Frozen peas – Who could forget the humble frozen pea? Add a handful to some egg muffins or a bowl of pasta for a quick way to your five-a-day & a boost of protein too!
STORE CUPBOARD STAPLES:
Oats – A budget-friendly staple, and a rich source of beta-glucan, a type of dietary fibre. You can use them in baking, for porridge, overnight oats, within a smoothie or even use as a substitute for ready-made breadcrumbs to coat chicken or fish.
Lentils – Tinned or dried, lentils are a great source of plant-based protein and also count as 1 of your 5-a-day! You can add to a stew, home-made soups or a salad or make a delicious dhal with some Indian spices and much more!
Chickpeas – If you have a food processor or blender, you can make your own houmous, or add some veg to make your own falafels! You can make a tasty tagine, add to a pasta salad or even use in baking to make some healthy ‘cookie dough’ or brownies!
Tinned Fish – Tinned mackerel, salmon and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are an easy way to ensure you’re having a portion of oily fish at least once a week. Tinned tuna is delicious in a sandwich, salad or you can even try adding to an omelette for an extra source of protein!
Canned Chopped Tomatoes/Coconut Milk – A delicious base for any pasta sauce, stew, soup or curry. To make your tin go further, fill the empty can with water (or a low-salt stock) to add more volume so you can add more ingredients and make extra portions to freeze.
Potatoes – Sweet or regular, they’re incredibly versatile, full of fibre and can be used for home-made wedges, mash, fish or shepherd’s pies or you can add to a frittata!
Flour – To make self-raising flour, add 2 tsp of baking powder to 1 cup/150g of plain flour. Ground oats/almonds, polenta or any other alternative such as spelt, buckwheat or gram flour may also be used instead of plain flour!
Eggs – Add 1 tbsp of milled chia or flax seeds to 2-3 tbsp water & leave for 15 mins, the seeds will absorb the water and create a gel like consistency.
- Don’t throw away the water from your chickpeas tin (aquafaba) as this can be whipped up to create a similar texture to egg whites.
- Mashed banana or stewed apple can also be used to create a similar consistency and they’re a great substitute for sugar too!
Chopped Tomatoes – Add a tbsp of tomato purée to a cup of water and mix well. If you have cornflour, mix a tsp with a little water to thicken up. This can be used in a stew!
Coconut Milk – Blend a block of coconut cream with a cup of water to create your milk to use in curries/soups. Plain yoghurt can be used too.
Beans/Lentils/Pulses – Cannellini or butter beans are delicious for a make-shift houmous if you can’t get hold of chickpeas. For an extra boost of nutrition, add some frozen peas! If you’ve no avocados, these can be used smashed for a plant-based protein packed toast topping.
Oats –Crush up a couple of weetabix and heat with milk in a pan/microwave for a makeshift porridge and top with your fave fruits/nuts!
Pasta/Rice/Potatoes – Swap sweet for regular potatoes (vice versa), look for fresh or lentil pasta or even wild rice!
NIC’S TOP TIPS:
- To save time and money, plan your meals for the week! Have you downloaded my free healthy snacks e-guide yet? It includes a page to plan your meals for the week and space to write your shopping list too! Simply sign up to my newsletter here to get it!
- If you have little ones you can download my speedy snacks e-guide by signing up to my @mummynutrition newsletter which is perfect for all the family and includes a handy meal-planner and shopping list page too!
- You could even make a list of the food you already have & note what date it needs to be eaten by (and sticking it on your fridge!) .. this helps to reduce food waste and make it easier create meals when you’re having that ‘what shall I have to eat’ moment!
I hope you’ve found this post useful, and will continue to do so over the coming weeks! Do you have any more tips on how to survive lockdown?
Let me know on my Instagram page! (I‘m @nicsnutrition!)