13 essential tips to eat well during coronavirus self-isolation
Should you and your family need to retreat into COVID-19-related self-isolation, it’s worth giving a little thought to how and what you’ll eat. Here are some handy tips to get you through 14 days at home.
Just because you’re in lockdown doesn’t mean dinners have to be boring. In fact, why not use it as an opportunity to try something new?
1. Food delivery when self-isolating
Food delivery services are an ideal and convenient solution, if they’re available where you are.
Consider the healthier options in food-and-recipe box services and enjoy trying some new recipes.
And, of course, restaurant delivery services such as UberEats are good when you don’t feel like cooking. UberEats is offering an option to have your food left on the doorstep, so no one needs to make contact.
In many places, you can order your groceries online and have them delivered, or you can collect them from lockers, so you don’t need to come in contact with anyone.
2. Plan your meals
You can download this easy meal planner to jot down what you’ll need for the recipes you’ll make over the coming weeks. This will help you keep costs down and make sure you have everything you need to feel comfortable at home.
Cooking your own meals, if you’re feeling up to it – is a budget-friendly and healthy option. It might also be a nice distraction when you’re cooped up. Here are some ideas to help you set up to eat well in self-isolation.
3. Batch cook while you’re well
If you’re lucky enough to be well, it’s a good idea to spend a day in the kitchen making meals that you can use later or freeze and reheat, in case you don’t feel up to it in a few days. Here are some delicious slow-cooker ideas perfect to stash in the freezer.
4. Stock up on canned legumes
Canned beans, lentils and chickpeas are a great pantry standby and can be the basis of many a delicious meal. You can keep it as simple as baked beans on toast, or get a bit more creative and try these tasty Taco bowls with spicy beans or this Mexi-bean frittata.
The other canned essential is humble tinned tomatoes. Use them to make a simple pasta sauce, or in chilli or a curry. They’re a base ingredient in this comforting Beef and broccolini pasta bake which will keep everyone in the family happy.
6. Sup on soup
Soups are satisfying for body and soul when we’re feeling poorly. Try a super-easy Asian dumpling noodle soup using frozen dumplings and pantry stock. Change it up with whatever vegies you have on hand. You can also use frozen peas to make this light and fresh zesty Thai green pea blender soup.
7. Make mine mince
If you eat meat, go for versatile and quick-cook mince for the fridge and freezer. Everyone will love these Shepherd's pies with sweet potato (made with lamb mince).
8. Pop on a potato (or kumara)
Spuds and other root vegetables last a long time when stored in a cool place (not the fridge). They’re incredibly useful, too. These Chicken fajita stuffed potatoes can be made with potatoes or sweet potatoes and make the most of canned beans. Potato mash also tops this comforting Fish pie.
Frozen vegetables – include edamame and corn
Chicken thighs and breasts
Chicken or beef mince
Selection of seasonal fresh vegetables
Selection of seasonal fresh fruit
A few of your favourite treat foods
13. Food safety tips
First of all, make sure anyone who has symptoms keeps out of the kitchen.
This might be a time where sitting down together at the table is to be avoided, if some household members have symptoms and others don’t.
If everyone in the family is practising good hygiene: frequent, thorough hand washing; proper cough etiquette; and not touching their faces; that’s a good start to maintaining food safety in the kitchen.
From there, it’s also important to avoid sharing eating and drinking utensils. Assign everyone their own cup, plate, bowl and cutlery, and make sure each set is washed with detergent and water, then put in the dishwasher.
Use disposable paper towels to wipe down surfaces frequently with disinfectant cleaning products.
Apart from that, the advice for safe food during self-isolation is the same as we should be following all the time:
Wash hands frequently, especially between handling raw and cooked foods
Use different chopping boards and knives for raw and cooked foods