As we all continue to face a period of great uncertainty, many of us are still found hunkering down at home. The government has condoned social distancing as the best means to protect our health and the health of our neighbours, but what else can we be doing? As we each continue to step away from our usual routines and feel the stress that comes with the unknown, it is important we focus on keeping ourselves in optimal health and looking after our physical and mental wellbeing.
And what better place to start than our meals! Breakfast, lunch and dinner – the perfect way to break up a day at home and the best way for us to invest in our health. More time at home, means more time to spend getting creative in the kitchen. But where to start?
We spoke to Ruth Wood, Founder, Creative Director of Crucial Food and Clinical Nutritionist, to understand what things we should be looking to incorporate into our diets during this time. What nutritionally dense foods (that are readily available) can help us feel our best, keep our immune systems strong and our minds sharp.
Over to Ruth:
We really need to be making sure we’re eating a well-balanced diet at the moment. One that contains as many varied nutrient groups to ensure we’re supporting our overall health from head to toe. Making sure we stay mentally strong, as well as physically.
We must ensure we are eating foods to give us great fuel and that help motivate us to start some good new habits. Most importantly good nutrition during this time is essential in helping us sleep better, think better, digest better and be stronger.
Remember: If fresh fruits and veggies are in low supply, frozen are still a viable and nutritious option.
Here are some great nutritious foods and how to use them in your daily recipes:
Rich in vitamin C and beta carotene. Vitamin C also helps to absorb iron.
Eat raw by grating or spiralising into salads, roast with herbs and garlic or mash with natural yoghurt. You can also juice – use as you would carrots.
Great source of omega 3, vitamin D and protein. Additionally, you get extra calcium by mashing the bones from tinned. Used in the body from top to bottom.
Eat grilled, baked, mash up and use in fish cakes, combine with natural yoghurt and mustard and use as a sandwich filler.
Tinned oily fish such as sardines, pilchards and mackerel maintain a good amount of their omega 3 fats. Tinned tuna doesn’t so much but as well as all its other nutrients, is still a great protein source.
Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage – all greens really
Antioxidant rich foods that help us to fight infection.
Eat raw in salads – roast, bake, steam, shred, grate – whichever you prefer! Make soup: add shredded to soups, stews and curries; roast and add to salads and juice.
Apart from sunlight, a good source of vitamin D, a nutrient that helps us to fight flu.
One of the best sources of vitamin C and great fibre. As with the other veggies, eat roasted, in salads, juice them up or even eat like an apple!
Almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, their flours and milks
Little powerhouses. Full of vitamins, minerals, omega 6 fat and fibre. They are so versatile and nutritious. Flaked in salads or on top of cooked dishes like curries, use ground for baking instead of grain flours in some recipes, blend into smoothies, eat as a snack and use on your cereal
Eggs – especially the yolk
A great protein source but also rich in B12, vitamin D and selenium which is a great antioxidant. Scrambled, poached, boiled, omelettes, frittata, tortilla – change it up a bit – have omelette in a sandwich; top your curry with a poached egg, have frittata for breakfast instead of sugary cereal; have a boiled egg and spinach for a snack instead of a bag of crisps, there are so many interesting ways you can prepare eggs!
Big thanks to Ruth Wood for her top tips.
We hope this helps to give you some ideas for how to keep your meals exciting and nutritious whilst we’re spending so much time at home. We’ll be checking back in with more ideas and musings in the coming days, but in the meantime, stay healthy and safe during this time.