7 Ways to Make Pandemic Cooking and Shopping Easier
These are strange times we’re living in, made even stranger for those unaccustomed to cooking. Going to the grocery store is becoming a less appealing venture by the day as confirmed COVID-19 cases are increasing everywhere. Here are some useful tips to visit the store less and eat healthier.
- Use Your Freezer
Luckily, most homes have one. Why not take full advantage? Cut down on your grocery store visits by freezing produce, eggs (shelled), fruits, bread, meat, and even milk. Freezer bags will help prevent freezer burn and will keep things organized. Stocking up on non-perishables is good for meal bases and emergency rations, but they’re often lacking in nutrients. Freezing fresh produce is a great way to ensure you maintain a healthy diet while sheltering at home.
- Buy Produce With a Long Shelf Life
Squash, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, apples, beets, carrots and potatoes all last much longer than most other kinds of produce. They taste great in a wide variety of meals and are healthy staples to have in your diet.
- Get Two Meals Out of One
If you buy roasted chicken or other bone-in meats, save the leftovers to make a soup base. Offcuts of vegetables work great, as well. The result is a protein-rich soup that you can use to create a whole other meal. Here is a simple recipe that we like.
- Buy Flour
Bread doesn’t last very long unless frozen, but it will never taste as good as it does fresh. Baking no-knead bread is incredibly easy and tastes great. If bread is a staple in your diet, you might find yourself going back to the market more often than others. By stocking up on some baking flour and yeast, you can make countless loaves with only one trip to the store. Here’s an easy recipe for delicious homemade bread with only five minutes of prep time.
Lately, it can be hard to find pre-made pasta. It lasts forever and is an easy base for a hearty meal. In short, it’s great pandemic food and it’s flying off the shelves. Well, if you have flour, salt and eggs, you have everything you need to make your own. Thankfully there’s no need to make the switch to whole wheat pasta, which you can still find pretty much everywhere. You can even make extra and freeze it for later meals. Here’s a quick and easy recipe to get started.
- Cook Enough for Leftovers
Some people aren’t into leftovers, but is now really the time to be picky? Cook double what you would eat and save the extra portion. You’ll get twice as much food for half the time in the kitchen. Put the leftovers in the fridge and eat them for lunch the next day, or freeze them for when you don’t feel like cooking.
- Make Sure You’re Getting These in Your Diet
Vitamin C, Zinc, and probiotics all support a healthy immune system. Supplements work, but absorbing them through your diet is better.
Vitamin C is an important part of many systems within the body, including the digestion, repairing tissues, and supporting your immune system. Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, oranges, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, strawberries, and tomatoes are all high in Vitamin C.
Zinc maintains your immune system as well as fuels the growth and repair of body tissues. Meats, lentils, beans, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds are all high in Zinc.
Probiotics support digestion and the absorption of nutrients. Some foods that naturally contain probiotics are yogurt, tempeh, kimchi, miso, kombucha, pickles, and certain cheeses, such as Gouda, Cottage, Cheddar and Mozzarella.
- Make a List
Take stock of what you have in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. You probably have more than you think. Make sure to keep track of the produce you buy so that you’re able to eat or freeze it before it goes bad. You’ll waste less and have peace of mind knowing how many meals you have on hand.
Hopefully these tips will help you to be better prepared in the days to come. In stressful times like these, it can be easy to forget nutrition, but eating healthy is synonymous with having a good, working immune system. Stay healthy out there and don’t forget to eat your veggies.