Expert advice: How to stock up for nutritious, healthy meals
-Apr 6, Hannah Hargrave , Nutrition -
There’s no reason not to stay fit and healthy even if you can’t leave the comfort of your own home! Fit4mum founder Melissa Lorch gave Lumity some top tips to staying on track with your fitness and food goals from home, and shared the one thing she would keep stocked up all year round.
When you don’t have access to a gym, or to all the normal foods on your shopping list it can be a challenge to work out how to continue to eat healthily and exercise too.
With everyone having to stay at home and with food flying off supermarket shelves at an alarming rate, pre-packed, processed foods are suddenly filling freezers fast.
But you don’t have to ditch your healthy eating and hunker down with a frozen pizza every night. Melissa tells us how you can stay nourished and in shape without stepping foot outside your home.
“During times of uncertainty it’s easy to panic, but it’s important to stay calm and nourished,” she tells Lumity. “People are emptying the supermarket shelves of pasta and tinned foods and gravitating to large amounts of one type of food – starchy carbohydrates with a long shelf life. Hello pasta.
“But variety and balance are still key and they are attainable too. After all, we’re all aiming to stay healthy and don’t want to be left with masses of pasta!! We need to focus on foods to help support the immune system. That means vitamin C, zinc and iron are immensely important.
“So if you were to get stuck at home for a week or two make your freezer your best friend – and don’t load it with ready meals. There are good, nutritionally dense foods, you can store in the freezer and give your immune system a boost.”
Are frozen vegetables nutritious?
“People are often wary of frozen fruit and vegetables but they absolutely shouldn’t be.
“You’ll find vitamin C in your fruit and veg, whether that’s fresh, canned (in juice) or frozen. This is a great time to get a few bags of frozen berries.
Grab a couple of bunches of bananas too, and if they ripen, throw them in the freezer.
“Frozen vegetables are key and everyone should have a few bags of veggies stored in the freezer to put into meals. I always stay stocked up with these because they are so handy and good for you too.”
Can I freeze milk?
“The freezer can also be a great place to store those everyday foods you may not have thought of, especially if you have a large chest freezer with plenty of space.
“Milk freezes really well – If it’s in a plastic bottle it expands, so pour a little out of the top and stand it upright. Then let it defrost at room temperature when you’re ready to use it.
“Great news for cheese fans – you won’t have to go without either. Cheese also freezes really well – grated cheese is obviously easier to get out and use than a massive frozen block. Just take out handfuls and defrost as you need it.
Is batch cooking healthy?
“If you really want to and have the time and freezer space, get batch cooking over the weekend and freeze meals. This doesn’t just have to be lasagna or shepherds pie, there are plenty of other dishes, many mince based, you can come up with.
“Lamb skewers, hidden veg bolognese and turkey burgers can all be prepped ahead of time and popped in the freezer, as can casseroles and hearty soups all with plenty of veggies thrown in.
“It’s all stuff you can take out and have on hand for convenience. If you’re not feeling well and don’t fancy cooking they’re a great go-to option as well.”
What are my cupboard essentials?
“Eggs are good to keep in store – they do have a shelf life though, so check the dates. You can easily cook up omelettes and frittatas, add vegetables and they become a nourishing meal.
“Bags or tins of beans and pulses are good (and cheap!), as are tinned tomatoes. You could make a dip or throw together a simple curry if you have a little curry powder on hand too.
“Also other good store items are things like flour and yeast to make your own bread, stock cubes, oil and peanut butter.”
Other healthy, fresh foods which have longevity include:
- sweet potatoes