Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few months, you will be aware of a new strain of Coronavirus sweeping the globe called Covid19. With more and more countries around the world closing down schools, workplaces, and even borders, the idea of ‘social distancing’ is being touted as a sensible approach to help stave off the spread of this particular pandemic.
As many of us are looking at the next few weeks and perhaps even months stuck indoors, here at Igluu we thought it would be sensible to look at what foods you should buy for your time in self-imposed quarantine, and what measures you should take to ensure you still eat well in these trying times.
Efficient, healthy, tasty cooking
First of all, let us take a look at some rules you should be incorporating when you cook for yourself or your family during your self-isolation. Rule number one should be that there is as little waste as possible.
As keen meal preppers, we are sure this is always a golden rule in your households anyway, but at times such as this, making use of every last morsel is an especially good idea.
Not because we are expecting people to go short of food, but rather that it will elongate the amount of time you can stay away from those crowds at the supermarket.
Rule number two should be that you and your family maintain a healthy diet. Being cooped up within the same four walls can take its toll after a few weeks, and as such you should make sure your body is in the best condition possible to help fight off the ‘confinement blues’, should they strike (and they no doubt will!).
Feeling down about the situation is especially natural for those who spend a lot of time out of the house, but getting the right fuel into your body can help you stay positive, and keep things in perspective. You will not be confined forever, and when you do get the all-clear to return to normal life, make sure you are as fit as possible, and raring to go!
Rule number three, and one that is just as important, is that you should make sure your diet is varied and tasty! Nobody wants to eat bland rice for 5 days in a row, so make sure you can add a little variety to your diet, and have enough ingredients and spices available to give your staples a different twist each time you use them.
Whilst boredom will inevitably set in at some point, make sure mealtimes are something that you look forward to with enthusiasm.
Cover your food bases
When it comes to the actual ingredients you should stock up on, your basic list should include all the major food groups and macronutrients. You need protein sources (such as canned fish and beans), whole grains such as bread, rice, and chickpeas, and healthy fats such as nuts and olive oil.
Some dried fruit is always a good option to have in the cupboard, especially as you probably won’t be able to access to the fresh variety for a while. When it comes to your vegetables, this is where you are best off cooking and freezing your meals ahead of time.
With some vegetables, there is also the option of making tasty sauces that can be frozen and defrosted when needed. The first week or so of quarantine will allow you to eat fresh fruit and vegetables as normal, but depending on how long your particular quarantine lasts, it might be a good idea to have some nutritious, cooked veg in the freezer, ready to add to your pasta, rice, or baked potato when needed.
If you find yourself using plenty of tinned ingredients (which you no doubt will), consider lowering the amount of salt that you use in your recipes.
Tinned foods often contain far higher salt content than you would imagine (as it helps with the preservation effort), and as such, you can often end up consuming very high volumes of salt which can dehydrate you, and lead to fatigue and a general feeling of malaise.
In quarantine situations, you want to make sure you are in tip-top condition, so avoid overindulging with the likes of salt.
Check your current stock
If you are looking for silver-linings, during a time that will no doubt cause some of you to feel anxious, a few weeks of quarantine is the perfect time to actually use some of the ingredients that have been lingering in the back of the cupboards for months, but you never seem to get around to using.
Before you even consider stocking up for the next month, take all your current tins, packets, and boxes out of your kitchen cupboards and lay them out on your table. This will allow you to see just what sort of meals are already catered for, should your mobility be reduced in the coming days.
Most of you will be able to rustle up a lentil spaghetti bolognese, baked bean shepherd’s pie, tuna and pea pilaf, or tomato risotto, without much effort on the buying front (recipes here). You may actually find that you have a week or two’s worth of food already in your cupboards just sitting there.
Look to the spice rack for inspiration
It is also worth mentioning that this is the perfect time to get experimenting with flavours! That spice rack that is used as an ornament more than a functional piece of kitchen equipment is ripe for experimentation during a month-long quarantine.
If you prep a few nights worth of pasta dishes, give each one a different twist with a little spice or other seasonings. When it comes to rice and pasta, that spice rack can make all the difference when it comes to giving meal times some variety.
One last piece of advice for you meal preppers out there, is to remember that when it comes to meat, fish, and poultry, get it cooked early, and freeze it.
While you may have a few days grace when it comes to these ingredients when kept in the fridge, cooking them early and freezing them will mean that you can keep these particular protein sources fresher for longer, and get them out later in the month, which should help keep meal times feeling as normal as possible (rather than eating all your meat dishes in the first week, and going veggie for the later weeks.
Luckily for you Igluu customers, our containers stack neatly, allowing you to pack plenty of pre-made meals into your freezer, in an efficient and orderly fashion.
However you prep for your time at home, it is important to stay positive, and well-fed. As much as this can be a worrying and frustrating time, try to put a positive spin on the whole situation by enjoying this extra time with your family, or if you live alone, indulging in some Netflix binge-marathons that you would otherwise never have the chance to sit through.
Remind yourself that you are doing your bit by simply staying at home, and looking after yourself. This will pass, and when it does, you may even come out the other side with a few new recipe ideas for the future. From everyone here at Igluu, stay safe, and keep on prepping!