With lockdown and general lifestyle restrictions now a daily part of our lives, it’s no surprise that the pandemic is having a real influence on what many of us eat. Even in the early days, panic buying and stock shortages meant that many of us lived off of tins or freezer stashes.
But, with restrictions in place indefinitely, carrying on with your terrible lockdown diet is set to do real damage to your health/your enjoyment of all things food. As such, it’s time to look up at last and finally think about how you can break loose, even in your lockdown kitchen.
Of course, the main thing to remember is that you need to go easy on yourself. Times are hard, stress-levels are high, and creating gourmet masterpieces might not always be at the top of your priorities. There’s nothing wrong with that, but, if you’re busting to get your dietary focus back on track, we do have a few simple tips that can make it possible at your own pace.
# 1 – Make a meal plan
Meal plans have always been the chef’s best friend, and that’s especially the case right now. After all, you don’t have the free head-space to think about what you’re going to cook for tea each night.
Luckily, by sitting down each weekend and making a basic meal plan for the coming week, you can save yourself a great deal of time and pressure. Even if you switch food around, you’ll have that basic structure to turn to.
More importantly from a health standpoint, knowing precisely which ingredients you need can save a whole load of trips to the shop. After all, we’re living in an age where trips to high-traffic areas should be reduced at all costs. By making sure that you know what you need and when you need it by, you can stock up for the week and never need to worry about ‘popping to the shop’ to pick up just one or two things.
# 2 – Buy in bulk
Along the same lines, you should always aim to buy key ingredients in bulk right now. Again, this reduces unnecessary trips, as well as ensuring that you can knock something up if you don’t feel like a major cooking expedition.
It’s particularly beneficial to focus on your pantry here, with many essentials available to buy in larger quantities, including –
- Beans and pulses
- Pasta, pasta, and more pasta
- Tinned tomatoes/tomato paste
- An assortment of oils
- Plenty of all-purpose flour
- Some olives if you’re feeling fancy
By making sure that you have plenty of these ingredients to hand, you open up a range of weeknight suppers that you can turn to without risking a trip or any stressful planning.
# 3 – Order food to your door
It’s also worth noting that this is the age of ordering food to your door. By this, we don’t mean takeout, which most definitely falls into the unhealthy lockdown habit category. Rather, we’re referring to options like food subscription boxes or home delivery.
This is especially vital if you live with/are caring for someone vulnerable as it saves you from risking any kind of exposure. Even better, there are a range of subscription boxes cropping up to meet needs caused by the pandemic including food delivery for seniors and care packages for key workers. And, of course, go-to options like Hello Fresh are pushing to meet new demand right now. Even better, each of these include all the ingredients and the recipe you need to make delicious meals, thought-free.
If you don’t fancy making a meal planned by someone else, then you could always turn to the other doorstep option of food shopping deliveries. Stores across the country have increased delivery capabilities and employed new drivers, meaning that you can order the bulk food mentioned above, and not even need to leave your house to retrieve it.
Conclusion: Cooking up a storm despite the storm outside
These are uncertain times, and everything can feel overwhelming if we let it, meaning that eating baked beans out of the tin is often a more appealing option than getting gourmet right now. But, we need our health and strength now more than ever and, as you already know, food is the best way to achieve both. So, before you reach for another freezer dinner, take these pointers on board, and see if you can’t get cooking (at least in semblance) despite the storm that’s raging outside.