Arming your kitchen for the months ahead

COVID-19 has upended all our lives. And while no-one knows how long social distancing rules will last, they are forcing us to spend more time at home, and around our dinner tables.

With everyone at home, never has there been a better time to invest time into the way your household shops, cooks and eats. Dusting off old cookbooks (or going online), donning  an apron with your partner and the kids, trying new dishes and making the best of fresh or stored produce that you have on hand can all ways to stave off the isolation blues.

But how can you enjoy mealtimes, stay healthy and boost your immune system all at the same time?

Jane Freeman, a specialist Dietitian (APD), shares her tips on eating well at home to try to help your household stay on top of COVID-19

  1. Plan the meals 

 

 

 

For example:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Do a stocktake of what ingredients you already have on hand (especially if you have been stock-piling) and then make a list of what you need and stick to it. 

While this does take a bit of time, planning your meals saves extra trips to the supermarket. While important to try to stick to the list, it is, of course, okay to substitute in alternates if what you need is out of stock or you want to substitute in a better value or more nutritious alternative.

  1. Share the meal prep load among your household.

For some, it may start to feel like you’re running a restaurant with the extra meals you are churning out. Avoid this by working out a meal prep job and a kitchen clean roster. Also, try to do more of the prep upfront. A bulk chop of the onions, garlic, ginger or other vegetable needed will save time. Or get the protein bases ready in advance by slicing or marinating as your recipe requires.

  1. While we are not going to run out of food supplies in this country, it is still worth having a few long-life pantry options handy.

Suggestions include a few extra tins of fish, some smoked salmon, legumes, tomato pasta, pesto and pre-made curry sauces, and whole grain rice and pasta or try quinoa, couscous and rice noodles. Whole grain pita bread, Ry-vitas or Vita-Wheat crispbreads also make great bread substitutes. And again it’s worth buying a variety of frozen fruits and vegetables like peas, cauliflower or spinach if you have the freezer space.

  1. Support your local cafes or restaurants who are doing it tough, if you’re in a position to.

Pick up some healthier take-outs like moussakas, lasagnes, fresh curries, cooked chickens, sushi or vegetable loaded stir-fries.

  1. Reach out to elderly neighbours, people who are living alone and the charities supporting those who need extra help.

Drop-in a meal to someone you know who is struggling or living alone. Many charities are looking for extra support at the moment. One of these is the Asylum Seeker Centre in Newtown, who desperately need canned vegetables, pulses, tomato sauces and other long life packaged foods. They’re not alone. If you can, help others in need as much as you are able to.

  1. Bake Grandma’s cookies, let Dad make his pasta meal and enjoy your teenage daughter’s acai bowls.

Now is a time to celebrate all efforts and imprint good kitchen experiences — and memories. Dad (or Mum!) may not be a Cordon Bleu chef but can put together a super carbonara (with added vegetables in it, of course). Grandma may be able to bake the Afghan biscuits or drop in the homemade relish. Your teens or suddenly homeless young adults might share ideas from those cafe Instagram posts and make super healthy acai bowls. A teenage boy could cook burgers with salad, or a tween, a decent dish of scrambled eggs. Whatever your house comes up with,  celebrate and enjoy. And hopefully find in your expanding mealtimes a silver lining to our all of our suddenly shrinking worlds.