Hopefully, the supermarkets are a bit less crowded if you’re reading this at some point during the lockdown which is being imposed in many countries around the world due to the coronavirus. If so, and you’re wondering what nutritious foods you should be stocking up on when you get the chance to go shopping, have a look down below and see what foods I recommend for continuing to give your body some good nutrition when your usual fresh meat and vegetables might not be available.
Some people make an active effort to avoid tinned or canned foods because they’ve been processed so that the contents can be preserved for a prolonged period of time. They’re often thought to be less nutritious. The contents of the food in the tin or can is sealed and heated in order to kill off any bacteria and prevent the food from spoiling so it’s quite safe to eat tinned or canned foods. This process may cause some vitamins to be damaged, but it can also increase the amount of other healthy compounds. Generally though, despite this process, many nutrients are still retained. Some will contain added salt, sugar or preservatives to help improve their flavour, texture and appearance.
On the more negative side, there is a slight change (although minimal) that cans or tins which aren’t properly processed may contain the deadly bacteria Clostridium botulinum which can cause serious illness. Because of this, make sure you look out for any tins or cans that look dented, bruised or they also may contain trace amounts of BPA since the BPA may transfer from the lining of the can into the food inside. If you’re trying to avoid BPA or concerned about it, then perhaps you should avoid canned foods for this purpose.
And the great benefit of them is that you don’t need to be in a rush to use them since they’ll last several years before you might need to consider throwing them out!
When it comes to frozen foods, there’s less to be worried about (although any risks with canned foods are minimal). These foods are frozen shortly are being picked which helps to retain the nutrients and allow for the foods to be kept for a prolonged period of time as long as they are kept at cold temperatures. I like to use frozen vegetables as an easy, inexpensive way to add more vegetables to my diet.
In my opinion, tinned fish is one of the best value for money items you can buy which gives you lots of great nutrition. If you go for fattier fish like tinned mackerel and sardines you get omega 3 fatty acids, protein, minerals like calcium and selenium, vitamins (such as B12) and they’re quite satiating. If you opt for tuna, you’re getting a nice punch of protein with little extra calories coming from fat and carbohydrates.
Tinned beans can be stored for long periods of time and can be incorporated into lots of different dishes. They can be added to stir-fries, used to make soups, added to sauces, blitzed into smoothies, added to salads, fried, used for beans dip or incorporated into tacos and much more! Beans are a source of slow-release carbohydrates which will help to give you sustained energy for long periods of time without spiking your glucose and insulin so much compared to other simple carbohydrates.
Eggs are a nutrient-dense powerhouse of healthy fats and protein, as well as lots of minerals and vitamins too! Not to mention they’re incredibly satiating. They can be used in so many recipes and cooked in so many ways that it’s almost impossible to not like eggs since there must be some way you can cook them and enjoy them.
Ways to cook eggs include frying, boiling, steaming, scrambling, omeletting (is that a word?), baking and poaching. And that’s not even if you consider adding it to other foods. You can add it to mincemeat, use it as part of a batter if you’re coating food with breadcrumbs (or a substitute such as almond flour or ground oats).
Some people avoid frozen vegetables because they don’t think they’re as nutritious as fresh vegetables. The truth is, the nutrition content of frozen compared to fresh vegetables is practically identical, perhaps even higher since freezing the vegetables early on helps to prevent the nutrients within the vegetables from diminishing.
They’re also quite easy to cook! Simply boil them, use them in a steamer or add to a meat dish or stir fry and they’ll go from frozen to a nice colourful addition to your meal.
If you can get your hands on fresh fruit, great, but you’ll find that berries, in particular, contain lots of antioxidants. Even better, frozen berries tend to be much cheaper than fresh berries and can be stored for a much longer period of time. I think they’re great value for money and a good way to curb a sweet tooth post-meal.
If you’re able to get your hands on some form of meat, make sure you get a sufficient amount without being greedy. Meat contains lots of nutrients which are hard to obtain from other plant foods and is a more bioavailable source of protein. Even if
Bonus points if you can get your hands on some organ meats such as liver, kidney or brain as these are super nutritious (these might even be cheaper in the supermarket or from the butcher). If the meat you have comes with bones then consider making bone broth out of them as this is a good way to increase the amount of collagen you’re getting in your diet.
It might be that the only meat you can get hold of comes in cans. That isn’t a bad option either. If you opt for this choice I suggest looking at the ingredients and going for canned meats that are higher in protein and lower in fat and sugar.
Many places around the world you'll find that where there is a shortage of meat or vegetables in the supermarket, you'll be able to buy them at your local greengrocer, fishery or butcher. Why not support your local community during the COVID-19 crisis and buy from them?