Feeding a family three meals a day is a challenge during the holidays, but during the current crisis and with limited supplies its even more pressure.

Many parents and families will be doubling their normal grocery budgets, knowing that they will be eating at home more than ever before.

And as many people are housebound for the next few weeks, with limited trips to the grocery store, we do need to make sure we have enough food & kitchen essentials during this time of social isolation. (NOTE: Hoarding is NOT necessary) First check what you already have in the cupboards. Now is a perfect opportunity to clean out those cupboards and get organised. 

What to buy 

1. Canned Beans – These can go a long way to stretch a meal out and are a great addition to broths, soups, curries & stews. I always have a tin of beans at hand to be able to whip up some tasty humus (my favorite is butterbean) or add some additional protein & fibre to a veggie soup. 

2. Chickpeas – these powder houses are so underrated – not only are they AMAZING but they are so versatile. I use them in curries, stews, as sandwich fillers, snacks, hummus, falafel and sweet treats like cookie dough bites. They are an amazing source of protein, soluble fibre and slow releasing energy. 

3. Oats - a great core ingredient and one to always have in the cupboard. Oats are a great breakfast (porridge, overnight oats, bread) or for baking (flapjacks, energy balls, banana bread or cookies - what kid wouldn't want these?) Oats are jam packed with slow releasing energy and soluble fibre so if you have kids at home right now these are a great one to keep them going. 

4. Chopped Tomatoes  - Half a tin makes up 1 portion of your Five a day. Chopped tomatoes make a perfect base for curries, stews, Bolognese, breakfast shakshuka & pasta sauces. My go to quick pasta sauce is: Sautéed onion, garlic, red pepper, chili, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, Italian seasoning, tsp. of honey. 

5. Dried Fruit - great for adding to cakes & cookies, eaten as a high-energy snack or used for savoury dishes like slow cooked stews, and curries adding a lovely balance of spice and sweetness. I love blending dates, oats, cacao & coconut to make delicious energy balls.

6. Grains/ Legumes – I store all my grains and legumes such as rice, lentils & pasta in glass containers in my cupboards so it is easy for me to see what/how much I have got. Just like with fruit and vegetables it is important to vary the grains you eat. Each grain / legume has a different flavour, texture and array of nutrients. 

7. Quinoa - is actually a seed and is really high in both protein and fibre. The amino acids in quinoa mean that it is a complete protein therefore a great choice for upping your protein intake especially if you are plant based. The red, pink and black versions are delicious too and can be found in most supermarkets. You can add to salads, soups, use as rice replacement or mix with oat milk to make a warm quinoa porridge.

8. Nuts & Seeds – One that I ALWAYS have in the cupboard as they are complete powerhouses. They are great as high energy snack, whizzed up with basil, lemon, olive oil to make pesto, ground into baking and add depth and richness to smoothies and soups. They have a long shelf life, and a little goes a long way. They are full of essential nutrients such as Zinc, B vits, magnesium, Iron & potassium.

9. Nut butter - need I say more? Nut butters are never a bad idea whether that’s eating straight from the jar, adding a big dollop to make salad dressings or curries, blending it in to smoothies, baking with it to make energy balls or lathering it on a buttery piece of toast. I love @nutcessity nut butters, because unlike your typical peanut butter Nutcessity uses a range of nuts, seeds & spices that are loaded with added nutrients. 

10. Tinned fish – mackerel, salmon, anchovies, and sardines – These provide ESSENTIAL fatty acids such as Omega 3 EFA that can only be obtained through the diet (hence the name) They are anti-inflammatory and essential for brain function. They have a long shelf life & make for a perfect lunch or snack. Make sure that you choose sustainably sourced fish. 

11. Frozen fruit/ vegetables – peas, spinach, edamame, berries, mango. You can also freeze fresh fruit (banana, kiwi, grapes) and vegetables such as pre cooked cauliflower, courgette, kale, sweet potato, broccoli, herbs, avocado and grains such as brown rice & quinoa. I love adding courgette, banana and spinach into my morning smoothie.

12. Long lasting fresh vegetables – Sweet potatoes (check out my 10 sweet potato recipes), Squash, Carrots, Swede, Garlic, Onions, Cabbage.

13. Oat milk – This is a staple in my house. I love adding oat milk to my coffees, smoothies & porridge. @oatly barista is my favorite  because of the creaminess PLUS it is fortified with calcium, potassium, Iodine, and B vitamins including B12 which is essential if you eat a plant based diet.

Use this opportunity to get creative in the kitchen and try things you haven't before. 

Love H xx