While 2020 has forced many unexpected experiences upon us all, I am finally starting to feel like I might be ready to think about moving forward – slowly and cautiously.
For the last three months I feel like I have been in survival mode, but with the passing of the initial shocks and resultant anxiety, I am ready to think about returning to more recognisable habits.
The place I want to start is my health. Since I still don’t know what the future will hold I want to stay healthy by eating well but need to think about a sustainable ‘back to basics’ approach. I still have little energy, time or money to spare but healthy eating is important for my medium and longer term health.
In general, I have no patience for health fads or superfoods, mostly because the claims have no real merit, but also because they are fussy and expensive.
The main barriers to healthy eating are often our busy lifestyles and the perceived cost of healthy foods, but we do not need to cook everything from scratch or buy expensive ingredients. Processed foods are often identified as unhealthy, but a large range of foods are processed in different ways and I choose processed foods like canned pulses and frozen vegetables that are healthy choices which can contribute to balanced meals.
Considering a ‘Back to Basics’ approach has helped me to plan healthier meals while saving time and money:
I use canned food as the base of a meal or an addition to a meal. Canned pulses, like chickpeas, beans and lentils provide protein, fibre and various nutrients. Canned vegetables are useful for curries, stews and pasta sauces.
Choose value brands
Value or economy brands are great value and provide similar nutrients to branded versions of foods – think pasta, passata, rice and canned vegetables, potatoes or fruit (just look out for added salt and sugar).
Frozen fruit and vegetables tend to be cheaper than fresh and are equally nutritious, given that the freezing process preserves nutrients. Pre-cut fruit and vegetables are convenient because they can be quickly added to a meal in whatever quantities I prefer. Also, frozen food doesn’t go bad, so my money isn’t wasted and there is less food waste overall.
Swapping to wholegrain pasta and rice for more fibre contributes to better health for little or no extra cost.
All set for the week ahead
With a store cupboard full of canned food and frozen foods in the freezer, it is much easier to feel prepared for the week ahead and confident that I will have healthy food to hand when further 2020-induced anxieties arise.
Adapted from an article in OM Yoga magazine
Choose Good Food for Good Health