As I write this, I have been in self-isolation for 5 days, and I wasn't able to plan ANYTHING. So I have a few pointers for those that are still out and about.
Have a realistic view of ‘healthy’
I had cereal and yoghurt for lunch for 3 days as that’s all I had available – was I worried, NO. But I just did what I had to do. Humans can last approximately 65 days (variable based on body size and composition) without food. So, understand if you don’t get enough protein, or your ‘superfoods smoothie bowl’, it is not going to kill you.
Plan, don’t hoard, for isolation
This means have some foods in the cupboard or a box as a ‘back up plan’ for what you need. THERE IS NO NEED TO STRESS BUY. So, pick up 1-2 weeks’ worth of food that you can make for dinners etc – this can be done over a couple of shop. There are some meal ideas at the end of this page.
Have tinned protein sources like beans, chickpeas, lentils (also dried). Eggs are also a good addition to the pantry.
Have some mince, fish, chicken and other meat in the freezer – you don’t need a lot, 100-150g per teen/adult, per meal is sufficient.
Carbohydrate options, such as rice, potatoes, pasta, are vital to bulk out meals.
Frozen milk or nut milk are a great alternative to long life.
Freeze some fruit, such as bananas, to have available for smoothies etc. Tinned fruit are also good alternatives
Flour and other baking goods. it's not only fun to bake but it will also provide you with something to do.
Spice mixes (or get yourself a spice rack) is important to have on hand for all these new recipes you are going to try.
Frozen vegetables are nutritious – it is just taste that is the difference. When you can, cook with fresh ingredients to save frozen food/space.
Pop down to the local nursery and pick up some semi/developed plants to get your green fingers working - this is great for giving yourself some fresh veg options too.
Try new recipes
You will have SO MUCH TIME. So, get stuck in and get creative. Uber eats should only be used if you don’t have access to food. Time is not an issue when you are isolated, so make an effort to better yourself and create opportunities for later.
Do this with your children if they are at home. I always encourage parents to be patient with children when it comes to getting them cooking. I cannot emphasize the importance of this for their own health and development - remember I work with many young athletes who I need to teach this to. It is not the time to make 3 different meals for your family.
Plan your week and days
This is something I normally encourage anyway but plan your week and days, so you are productive. Are there things that need to be done around the house? Set time aside and get these done. Examples include:
Start a vegetable garden
Read a book you have been wanting to read
Sort the cupboards out
Arts and crafts
etc etc, this list is limitless
Get out and exercise
Just because you are isolated doesn’t mean you are housebound. Running/biking/walking is all ok, issues arise when you are in contact with people and public places. I got out in the rain last week for a run and it turned everything around.
There are enough home workouts available now, book this in your normal gym slot. Ideas of different options include:
***Anyone else send me a message and I can add you to this list***
Spaghetti Bolognese: Mince, tinned tomatoes, spice mix, frozen vegetables, dried pasta.
Vegetarian Nachos: Black beans, chillie beans, tinned tomatoes, spice mix, cheese, nacho chips (sour cream if you like)
Fish Burgers: Frozen fish, buns (from freezer), cheese, tartare sauce, homemade chips with spices. Bonus: if you can get salad have it, if not a side of mixed veg is sufficient.
Chicken Stir-fry: Chicken, frozen stirfry mix, rice (blends are the best), stirfry sauce.
Slow cooked beef: Cheap meat (can be frozen), winter frozen veg and gravy mix. Side of mashed potatoes.
Burritos: Refried beans (made with chilli, black and bean mix – slow cooked or on the stove), tinned corn, chopped tinned tomatoes, cheese, wraps, sauce.