With our new epidemic of coronavirus, one of the challenges we are facing is that some products we can purchase usually are not still available to shop for such items as pasta or tomatoes. Below are some suggestions on the use of food items, which may be less common and still on the shelf. This might also be a perfect time for you to carry out a kit or something you have bought but never prepared!
Do try and look round the whole supermarket or shop to see what is available to make healthy meal– by using more of the ingredients in store, we will save store cupboard ingredients for others to buy. Where possible, try and look for a selection of healthy meal from across the main food groups – fruit and vegetables, starchy foods like pasta and grains, protein foods, including beans and lentils and dairy or plant based alternatives.
For all of us at home with kids, closed schools, it would be nice to try some easy meals together–even if you have time to stroll around, you can share your creations with neighbors or friends.
Pasta, rice and grains
Pasta and rice are really popular staples but have been selling out – so, if this is the case you could look for alternatives that are available.
There might even be packets on the shelf with pasta, couscous, burgur wheat, quinoa, or barley. You can also find ready cooked packets of grains, which are always more costly than dry, but can be a good choice for quick meals. You may mix these with pasta or rice into an already-made meal, such as mixing couscous with Bolognese sauce, adding quinoa or barley to soups or stews.
Beans and lentils
Canned beans such as kidney beans, chickpeas and borlotti beans are a handy store for fast-food meals that contain starch, calcium and micro nutrients, such as folate and iron. You may fry them or add them to grains with herbs or spices with certain ovens or other vegetables. We can be found in sandwiches, stews and soups as well. Dried beans or chick peas are very useful, particularly though they must be soaked and cooked overnight before they are used. However, dried lenses may be specifically added to dishes such as pasta sauces or curries.
Canned vegetables and fish
Sweetcorn and tuna may be the first to sell out but it’s worth trying other canned foods. Other canned fish like salmon, mackerel or sardines can be added to sauces, made into dips or served with salad or toast and these all count as an oily fish. They are also a great source of protein, vitamin D and omega -3 fats.
Other canned vegetables include spinach, peas and carrots but you could try more unusual kinds like artichoke hearts or heart of palm. Canned vegetables can be ideal for adding straight to a curry (e.g. spinach and chickpea) or for making a soup or stew.
Canned tomatoes have been reported as selling out in many supermarkets. If you don’t find them, you could look out for tubes or cans of tomato paste or see if jars of ready-made tomato-based sauces are available.
You can add nut butters to Asian inspired noodle dishes or curries or just have with fruit or wholemeal bread for a snack. Nuts are a source of micronutrients such as magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, vitamin E and B vitamins and they are also high in fibre.
Fiber and nutrients such as copper and iron are found in the dried fruits and they can be added to breakfast cereal or porridge or combined with yogurt. You can also work with savory foods such as stews or tagines, or you can make a salad by combining grains with pulses. It is safer to takethem for meals instead of snacks because they’re rich in sugar.