Five easy ways to focus on nutrition at home

Saturday, April 25, 2020

As we’re all at home it’s very easy to give into those sweet or savoury cravings. Food can also be great comfort, and during these challenging times, we all need extra comfort. Here are a few ideas Katie Rafferty, Picky’s Health, Fitness and Wellbeing Manager, has put together to help you maintain a healthy diet while at home. And of course, life’s all about balance. You don’t have to deprive yourself of all the biscuits, just be sure to balance your eating habits with healthy options. After all, we are spending a lot more time at home, let’s make the most of it and possibly pick up a few new recipes while we’re at it.

Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet also supports your immune system to help fight infection. For more advice and useful links, visit the NHS Orkney Facebook page.

1) Your five a day

All of our local shops are still stocking plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Try substituting that mid-morning biscuit with a piece of fruit or some carrot sticks and hummus.

Top Tip: Strawberries and kiwis are a great fruit option. In comparison to a lot of other fruits, both of these are low in natural sugar and will help curb that hunger.

You could also try making a simple pot of soup, it’s a cheap way to feed the whole family for lunch and an easy way to get in a couple of portions of your five a day.

Top Tip: Try using up all your left over vegetables that would often be thrown out or put in the compost such as carrots, courgettes, mushrooms, broccoli or sweet potato. All you need to add is some vegetable stock, water and seasoning.

2) Easy snacking

Are you finding the kids (or you) are eating up all the snacks in the house faster than usual? If the answer is yes, then you need to find some healthy snacks that are easy to make and will satisfy the whole family.

Try these homemade oatmeal bars with ingredients you likely already have in your cupboard. Because oatmeal releases energy slowly and nuts and dried fruit are high in fibre which fill you up for longer, these bars are a perfect snack that will curb your hunger, won’t leave you on a sugar high, and the kids will love!

Simply use the following ingredients to make these homemade, no-bake bars:

  • Porridge oats
  • Chopped nuts
  • Dried fruit such as raisins, apricots or dates
  • Agave, maple syrup or honey

Mix ingredients together, set in a baking tray and refrigerate.

Top Tip: You can really have fun with these bars. Some other ideas are unsweetened coconut flakes, seeds, peanut butter or raw cocoa powder.

3) Shopping less? Get creative!

As we’re all shopping less at the moment, planning is key to ensure you are going to the shops as little as possible. Before you head out for your ‘big’ shop, write out a meal plan for each day of the week and make up your shopping list from this. You will find that breakfast and lunch tend to be similar each day, so buy only enough for the days required. However, you could get a bit more creative with your evening meals. If you have a small family then bulk cook and freeze portions of the cooked dinner for future weeks (remember to note when it was cooked and frozen). If you find that you are running out of fresh ingredients then check inside the ‘tins’ cupboard.

Top Tip: If you’re getting to the end of your weekly shop, try making a tasty bean chilli. All you need is tinned beans, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and seasoning. You could add any remaining vegetables that need used up such as peppers, courgette or spinach. This is a simple and healthy way to feed the whole family.

4) Use online resources

Orkney has an amazing community spirit and our local shops are doing everything they can to look out for us all. To encourage you to travel less but still ensure you receive the wonderful local ingredients, many of our local supermarkets, butchers, bakeries and delicatessen are offering delivery services. For most, you can order and pay online to make the process quick and easy.

Top Tip: If you are looking for some cooking and baking inspiration, the Birsay Bay Tearoom is sharing some of their wonderful and delicious recipes on their Facebook page, check them out on the Birsay Bay Tearoom Facebook page.

5) Discover new cooking programmes

You may already have a few old time favourites, but here are a few more that can be enjoyed on free-to-view television:

James Martin’s Islands to Highlands

James’ adventures take you to beautiful coastal locations, including Orkney, to discover the local delicacies where he cooks up delightful meals using locally sourced meat, fruit and vegetables. He is often accompanied by a Michelin star chef along his travels, making it a comical show to watch and offering plenty of inspiration. (Weekdays 2pm, STV).

Jamie: Keep Cooking and Carry On

Jamie Oliver aims to help the nation during these challenging times with some amazing easy recipes and cooking tips. He shows how you can be creative and craft delicious food from simple ingredients found in your kitchen. (Weekdays 5:30pm, Channel 4).

Saturday Kitchen

Saturday Kitchen is a weekly cooking programme that hosts various chefs and celebrities. This show is full of recipe ideas from simple every day meals to those special occasion meals that we can cook up from home since we are unable to venture out to our favourite restaurant. You’ll be a cooking expert in no time! (Saturdays 10am, BBC 1).

Top Tip: If you have a membership to channels such as Netflix or Amazon Prime, there are many food shows and documentaries that can really open your eyes to what you eat, where your food comes from and how you can get more creative in the kitchen.