It’s an unprecedented event in our lifetime – the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus has caused worldwide panic, travel bans, human isolation and general mayhem.

As the reality of the Coronavirus pandemic sets in, people are clambering to stock up on essentials and supplies.

This is a guide to help make things simpler for you.

At this time, it’s more important than ever to focus on including foods that support and enhance optimum nutrition and immunity. Just a little bit of advance planning can help relieve a lot of stress about how you will manage your family’s nutritional needs during this difficult time.

There are some things you can’t control, so focusing on those you can, will help you manage your situation in the most stress-free way. If you already struggle with conditions like endometriosis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Coeliac Disease or any Autoimmune Disease, doing things to help reduce stress is essential to support your health.

Keep Essentials on Hand to Whip Up a Quick Meal

Avoid ‘emergency shopping’ and stock up on a few key ingredients that will still allow you to prepare some tasty and nutritious meals – even if you are unexpectedly forced into isolation. Use my handy “Kitchen Staples” guide to help you plan and shop for some amazing ingredients that will not only be useful in this time, but also at any other time when you’re feeling under pressure. Life can be busy, and it can feel that mealtimes are just another thing to worry about, so having ingredients on hand will make life easier for you.

You Don’t Need to Live on Tinned Foods.

Even in times like this, it is not necessary to buy only tinned foods.
Shop for fresh produce – like chicken, meat and fish – that you can freeze.

Grow living herbs, like basil, in your garden or in pots for on-demand harvesting.
Include cheese and other dairy products – be sure to look for a long shelf life, and freeze excess milk.
Include fresh and frozen fruit, which you can add to breakfast or pop into smoothies.

Choose vegetables with a longer shelf life and purchase carefully to ensure they last longer. With correct storage, you will get the most out of your vegetables. Many fresh vegetables can be blanched and frozen for use at a later stage, if you don’t think you are going to not get through them fast enough. Some great choices are:

  • Whole pumpkin – store in cool, dry place
  • Onions
  • Carrots,
  • Cabbage
  • Capsicum – choose capsicum that are firm and shiny. Green capsicum last longer than red. In cooler temperatures, you can store your capsicum out of the fridge.
  • Celery – refrigerate in a plastic bag or container to increase longevity.
  • Cauliflower
  • Kumara – store in cool, dark, ventilated place
  • Leeks – choose ones with lots of white flesh
  • Lettuce – a living lettuce will last longer
  • Parsnips – choose smooth, firm parsnips that are small to medium size, and puncture bags to allow for air circulation
  • Potatoes
  • Spring onions – choose spring onions with white root hairs firmly attached and store in plastic bags
  • Swedes – refrigerate in plastic bags

Green beans, broccoli , courgettes, egg plants, mushrooms, sweetcorn and yams are highly perishable. It may be best to buy these in smaller quantities and buy frozen where possible during this time.

For a more comprehensive list – click here to download my handy Kitchen Staples guide

Focus on Variety

Try to include a range of colours of fruit and vegetables. These contain the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants needed to support your immune function.

This will not prevent you from getting Coronavirus if you have been in contact with it, but it will place you in the best possible position to recover and regain your health. It is not necessary through this time to be taking extra supplements.

If you have special dietary requirements like Coeliac Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome or food allergies, be sure to purchase extra supplies of your specialised products. If you have Coeliac disease or are gluten-free, refer to my “Gluten Free Kitchen Staples” guide.

Cook Ahead and Freeze Meals

Should you develop the coronavirus and feel too sick to cook for your family, having a few ready-to-eat home cooked meals in the freezer can be your saving grace. If you have recipes you know freeze well – then use those. If you are feeling overwhelmed and just want some simple ideas, I have developed a recipe book for just those situations. Simple, easy, nutritious recipes for you to use that have been tested by novice cooks and on fussy families.

To support you and your family in this time, I have made both my gluten free and family friendly e-books NZ$9.80. This will be valid until 30 April 2020.

Use the code STRESSFREECOOKING to get the saving. As it is an e-book, the menu plan, shopping guide and recipes are available instantly to you.

Control the fear, don’t let the fear control you

Fear is seen by your body as stress and when that happens it affects your immune response and your mental and physical health. Being prepared is a great way to manage things without it compromising your health.
Be prepared and plan for things that will support you

Keep eating a range of foods to support health

Acknowledge the things that feel overwhelming for you, and then work out what you can do to manage this.
Keep connected with others. When we spend time with others, it releases hormones that support feelings of wellbeing.
Share the load and help others where you can. When we focus on others, it is good for our own mental health

Ask for help if you need it

If finances are becoming a concern, rather than feeling overwhelmed and stressed by it – look at it as an opportunity to change priorities on what you spend and how you can be more mindful of your spending. When we see stress as a positive thing, it has less of an effect on our body.

Keep things simple

It’s not necessary to cook elaborate meals if you are really busy. Good nutrition does not mean complex cooking. It means providing a range of nutrients to support health. Remember the basics – protein, carbohydrate and vegetables. Colour equals variety, which means your body is getting a range of nutrients.

Being sensible, does not mean you are neurotic

The more we can contain things, the more we can make a difference to the wellbeing of others and our community. That does mean taking precautions, following recommendations given to us. It is easy for people to take offense during this time, but the more we remember we are all in this together, the more helpful it is for everyone.

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