We find ourselves back in lock-down and once again trying to figure out “What’s for dinner” is yet another daily challenge.
Panic buying is not necessary, but unfortunately many people feel the necessity to go out and buy trolley loads full of goods. To make things worse some people are experience unemployment and loss of income and food shopping is an additional financial challenge.
Many parents are understandably looking for ready meals and processed foods as it is a quick and low-cost way to feed the family, but there are affordable, convenient, and healthy alternatives. We have found that the following are healthy and affordable tips:
- It is important to keep up vegetable and fruit intake daily and purchasing, storing, and cooking fresh vegetables can be challenging during lock-down, especially while we are advised to limit trips outside of home. It is important that we ensure our children are still getting plenty of fruit and vegetable in their diet.
So, whenever it is possible to get fresh produce do so, as well as being eaten fresh, vegetable and fruits can be frozen and most of their nutrients and flavour will be retained. Using fresh vegetable to cook batches of stews, soups or other dishes will make them last longer. These can be frozen and are quick to reheat.
- Great alternatives are healthy dried or canned fruit and vegetables. Canned chickpeas and beans provide an abundance of nutrients and can be included in meals. Canned fish such as sardines, salmon and mackerel are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and protein. These can be used for delicious sandwiches, pasta dishes, and salads and even cooked as part of a warm meal.
- Canned tomatoes and vegetables do tend to contain lower quantities of vitamins than fresh produce but are a great fallback when fresh vegetables are not available.
- Dried pulses, beans, lentils, rice, couscous or quinoa, split peas are long-lasting options that are tasty, filling, and affordable. Rolled oats cooked with water or milk is another great breakfast option and can be spiced up with chopped fruits, raisins, and yoghurt.
- Our children need to enjoy a snack of two during the day, instead of giving them salty snacks or sweets rather try for healthier options like, cheese, yoghurt, nuts, boiled eggs, or dried fruits. These are nutritious, build healthy eating habits and more filling.
- Bear in mind when doing your shopping try to limit highly processed foods, as these are often packed with sugar, salt, and fat. Avoid sugary drinks rather try drinking lots of water, adding fruits or vegetables like, cucumber slices, lime, lemon, or berries to the water is a great way to add a twist of flavour.
Another important factor to keep in mind is exercise daily, there are so many options that we can try during lockdown. Try to schedule your day for some family time whether it is playing games indoors or outdoors, include some squads, jumping jack etc. For those sunny days go for a bike ride, a stroll in the park, remember to take a ball with for some fun family time, playing games with a ball can introduce some laughter and make us forget about the lock-down with all its complications for a while.