One of the areas we may be struggling a bit with during the lockdown is getting it right when it comes to our meals. With limited ingredients and not too many options it can get tricky and we could end up with a problem on our hands at the end of this lockdown. So what have you been stocking up on? Being at home all day, even though you’re probably working through most of it being around the wrong food can be tempting.
Here are some essentials you can stock up on your next grocery run, not only are they healthy but versatile too and they help strengthen your immunity:
Beans & Lentils
Nutritious and flavourful, lentils are a great source of protein, carbohydrate and fibre, whilst supplying a good amount of B vitamins, iron and phosphorous. Known to be cholesterol-lowering, cardio-vascular disease warriors, their protein and fibre content mean they also help to stabilize blood sugar levels. Being high in iron, lentils are great energy foods. So, stock up on Chickpeas, Kidney beans, Mung beans, Puy lentils etc. Their long shelf life properties means they don’t have to be consumed in one go.
What can you make? Hummus, Burger Patties, Stuffing, Wholesome Salads, Soups, Curries, Stews, Pancakes & even muffins.
Tip: Soaking your lentils for 30 minutes and about 2-3 hours for beans will reduce the cooking time.
Nuts & Seeds
These little guys pack a punch of nutrients in every bite. Rich in vitamins, minerals and omega 3 essential fats they come in handy when you need a healthy snack. But with all good things you need to remember portion is key so, all you have for a day is a handful closed fist. Get a variety of nuts and seeds and mix them up into a nut jar and seed jar. I would recommend keeping them in the refrigerator as they could turn rancid.
What can you make? Nut butters, Nut milks (great alternative to regular milk), Energy bars, Desserts
Tip: To keep your portion in control take a handful of nuts from your nut jar and make seven zip lock bags for each day of the week, pick a bag each day and eat only that portion.
Carbohydrates form an essential part of a balanced diet as the primary supplier of fuel to the body. But it is easy to get the wrong carbs and that is where the problem lies. The right carbohydrates are whole grains which not only provide the glucose but fibre, B vitamins, magnesium and a whole variety of nutrients that are good for you. Brown rice, quinoa, barley, millets, buckwheat, amaranth, oats etc.
What you can make? Muesli, Porridge, Vegetable Pilaf, Biryani, Khichdi
Tip: Keep your serving of whole grains to about 20-30% of your meal portion.
Herbs & Spices
Get flavour and immense immune strengthening benefits by using herbs and spices in your daily meals. No worries if you have not really used much spice before, it’s actually easy to incorporate. Dried herbs and spices are easy to stock up on and can be stored in the refrigerator too.
What you can make? These foods enhance the flavour of a dish – Curry, Stews, Marinades, Dressings, Herbal Tea, Salads, literally everything.
Tip: You only need to use a little of any herb or spice as they have very strong flavours.
Fruits & Vegetables
The most perishable item in the list, but very essential in any diet. Try and vary what you buy in that way you don’t stock up on too much and you get more nutrients. But you can find different ways to cook and preserve your veggies. Make a batch of soup, vegetable bake, chips, and then freeze individual portions, in this way you will have a handy meal for a later day and preserve the nutrition value too. For fruit you can make a compote or simply freeze and turn it into a smoothie anytime.
What can you make? Salads, Roast, Bake, Grill, Stir Fry, Smoothies, Chips, Wraps, etc.
Tip: When buying fruit and vegetables try and get as many different colours as you can, but always make sure there are greens.
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