As I sat down to write my first blog post, I did not think it would be under the circumstances of a global pandemic. However, there IS a silver lining to being stuck in your home. It allows you the opportunity to get around to the things you've been putting off... like writing a blog...
So, as we continue to move forward into the unknown, I will share tips and ideas that (hopefully) help to keep us happy, healthy, and sane!
I know that fear of running out of food (and alcohol...) is on a lot of our minds. Unfortunately, I can't help with the alcohol part, but I can offer tips for what to choose in the stores and how to make it last, while still trying to stay relatively healthy (I did just buy Doritos and cookies on my last store run but that's shelf stable, right?)
Please enjoy some of my favorite recipes that are quick & easy, and require just a few simple, long lasting ingredients.
1. Choose recipes that use similar ingredients– Instead of getting overly excited at the store and grabbing all the fun produce that you often end up wasting, be smart and think about veggies that you can repeat in other meals. Bell peppers can be used in a fajita recipe, stuffed peppers, or in a salad. A pre-cut veggie medley (fresh or frozen) can be used in a soup, stir fry, or as a side.
2. Don’t fear frozen and canned produce – These foods tend to get a bad rap and are believed to be less healthy than fresh. This is false! Studies show that frozen produce can actually be healthier than fresh because it holds its nutritional value during transport. Frozen fruit, frozen mixed veggies, canned corn & green beans, diced tomatoes, and beans can easily be incorporated into smoothies, soups, chili, casseroles, and stir-fries.
3. When buying fresh, choose produce that lasts longer – Fresh produce is great, so when you do buy it, don’t waste it! If you’re unsure how quickly you’ll get around to cooking or eating your produce but still want fresh, choose items that last longer like squash, bell peppers, potatoes, carrots, beets, apples, grapes, and oranges.
4. Incorporate grains and starchy vegetables – Foods like quinoa, brown rice, oats, beans, lentils, potatoes, peas, and corn are inexpensive, long lasting, and a good source of nutrients like fiber, B vitamins, and iron. Choosing a variety of canned, frozen, and fresh options make it easier to stock the pantry, fridge, and freezer while trying to conserve space.
5. Be smart with leftovers – Choose recipes that you are willing to have again the next day or can be frozen easily. Baked chicken and veggies can get boring and seem unappealing as a leftover. Swapping out a basic recipe for something like chicken fajitas (sorry I love fajitas) is a great way to add flavor and variety to a simple staple. If you plan on cooking in bulk, choose something that you know will freeze well. Soup and chili can last in the freezer for up to 3 months. Most leftovers are good for 3-4 days.
One of my easy weekly go-to's. Also tastes great after being frozen.
It can certainly feel difficult to continue working toward health goals during these unprecedented times, but shifting focus toward positive outlets might be the only thing that keeps us sane! As we all probably have a bit more time on our hands than we are used to (eye roll), take the opportunity to try a new recipe, eat the foods that make you feel good, stay active, and stay strong.
If anyone feels like they could use an extra dose of motivation or need some help with menu planning, cooking tips, grocery lists, or simply staying on track, please don't hesitate to reach out for a virtual session... Who else misses human interaction?!
And if you're having difficulty staying on track with your exercise routine, J'aime Fitness is offering live streaming of their classes through Zoom as well as 1-1 FaceTime workouts. Class info can be found here.
Stuck at home doesn't mean you're stuck without helpful resources. Why not utilize them?