If you normally buy a loaf of bread, buy two and put one in the freezer. Frozen minced beef and fish that don’t need defrosting before cooking can be a quick and easy source of protein. The good news is frozen fruits and vegetables often have just as many vitamins and minerals — and sometimes more — compared to fresh. Milk can also be frozen (not if it’s in a glass bottle as it may break). This is a good option if you’re not a fan of long-life and plant-based milk.
Canned and dried beans and lentils last for years and are highly nutritious. If you’re a meat-eater, then this could be a good opportunity to experiment with some vegetarian dishes. A can of lentils can replace the beef in a shepherd’s pie, or some mixed beans can be the basis of a chilli.
As well as being cheaper, the whole veg lasts a lot longer. A bag of salad leaves will last a couple of days (how many times have you thrown out a half-eaten bag of slimy leaves?) whereas a head of lettuce will easily last a week.
Knowing how to store food properly can dramatically extend its life. Potatoes are a good example. Left in a plastic bag and exposed to light they will quickly go mouldy, green and start sprouting. Instead, take them out of the plastic bag removing any that are damaged, place in a basket or cardboard box and store in a cool dark place. Potatoes stored this way will keep for several weeks, even months.
Before you do your shop, create a plan for 2 weeks’ worth of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks and make a list of everything you need to buy. As most of the meals won’t consist of highly perishable ingredients you don’t need to assign meals to specific days – you can decide on the day depending on what you’re in the mood for and how much time you have available. Most importantly, ensure your plan is realistic and full of tasty meals that will support both your mental and physical wellbeing during this challenging time.