The lockdown across the UK has made it harder to just pop to the shops every time we need something. Social distancing and long queues mean that many of us are just going out once a week to pick up the essentials.
But, while shopping less often is good for our safety during the coronavirus crisis, it does mean that we may be eating less fresh food as it doesn’t last between weekly shops; instead, turning to long-life food.
Long-life food can get a bit of a bad reputation, with people believing things like frozen foods have all the nutrients sapped out of them and tinned food conjuring up memories of sloppy school dinners.
But, long-life food such as healthy canned foods, frozen ingredients and dried foods are great alternatives to fresh produce that can be just as healthy and last much longer; perfect during the lockdown.
And, store cupboard meals don’t have to all be beans on toast and pre-made pasta sauces… There are loads of healthy canned foods hiding away at the back of your cupboards that can be used to make fantastically filling healthy meals during the lockdown.
So, to help you make the most of what’s in your cupboards, we’ve put together a list of our 5 favourite storecupboard superfoods along with some recipe ideas to help you stay healthy and eat like a champ, even in lockdown.
1. Canned Tuna
Canned tuna is a fantastic source of nutrients such as selenium and vitamin D. This storecupboard staple is also chock full of omega-3 fatty acids and healthy protein. Low in cholesterol and fat, it’s the ideal long-life food to have on hand at times when you can’t get to the shops for fresh food.
Tuna is such a versatile fish and is perfect for throwing into pasta, scattering over salads or adding on top of baked potatoes.
But, for an extra boost to you lockdown lunches, with even more nutritional benefits, why not combine your canned tuna with other healthy canned foods in a tuna and brown rice salad?
2. Tinned Tomatoes
Tinned tomatoes are the classic long-life food and a storecupboard staple. They’re also one of the most versatile healthy canned foods to add to your diet.
One of your five a day, a great source of vitamin A and C and low in fat and added sugar, tinned tomatoes are a health-boosting basic.
Often relegated to the background of your favourite meals, making up the base of most pasta sauces, curries and chillis, tinned tomatoes don’t always get the attention they deserve when we talk about healthy canned foods.
But, with this recipe for tomato and chilli soup, the long life food staple takes centre stage. Ideal for lunches for the whole family, this simple recipe is full of healthy vitamins and one of your five a day.
3. Tinned Beans
No, we’re not talking about the kind in red sauce that you chuck on a full English, although they have got health benefits of their own. We’re talking about protein-packed kidney, cannellini and black beans.
Black beans, cannellini beans and kidney beans are all fantastic sources of fibre and protein. And, as they’re complex carbohydrates they take longer to digest, keeping you feeling fuller for longer.
Black beans are a great long life food to add to your meals during the lockdown as they’re full of folate and vitamin B6 and are cholesterol-free, making them a super heart-healthy food.
Other great healthy canned foods to add to your meals are cannellini beans with their high iron and magnesium content and kidney beans as they’re full of antioxidants.
Ideal for scattering over salads or, follow this recipe for a healthy bean chilli and serve with rice for a delicious dinner made from long-life food. The recipe says to use two tins of mixed pulses but it works just as well with any beans you can get your hands on, we like using kidney and cannellini beans in ours.
And, to make it a Chilli con Carne, you could cook off some frozen lean mince to add to the sauce.
4. Dried Lentils
Lentils are a fantastic long-life food to have on hand during the lockdown. These healthy protein-filled legumes are ideal for bulking out soups and sauces as their low GI and complex carb properties help to keep you fuller for longer.
Try our red lentil Dhal recipe for a filling Indian-inspired meal, swap out with the fresh spinach with frozen if you can’t get any fresh leaves in the supermarket. And, if you want to add even more protein to your meal with some meat, cooking off a frozen chicken breast seasoned with some lemon and garlic, is a great way to add to the filling power of this meal.
5. Canned Chickpeas
Chickpeas are another one of our favourite healthy canned foods to have on hand; they’re chock full of vitamins, minerals and fibre and are a brilliant source of protein.
If you’re fancying a healthy crunchy snack then a tray of roasted spiced chickpeas are a great option, and they also make a tasty salad topping.
Or, if you’re a hummus lover but can’t get to the supermarket to pick up a tub, you can recreate your favourite dip at home with this recipe for a simple homemade hummus.
Other healthy long life food we think is good to have on hand during the lockdown include:
- Frozen lean meats: frozen chicken breasts and lean mince are great to have on hand to bulk out your meals when you can’t get to the supermarket. You could cook a chicken breast to serve with the dhal recipe or add some frozen mince to the chilli above.
- Frozen vegetables: fresh vegetables don’t last very long even in the fridge, so keeping a stock of frozen veg in the freezer means you’ll always have some veg in the house to boost your healthy lockdown meals.
- Spices and herbs: it’s worth stocking up on some basic herbs and spices to add to your meals and sauces. Create the flavours you love from scratch or add to pre-made sauces to spice them up.
And, to go alongside your healthy lockdown meals, level up your lockdown training with a Cleto Reyes Double End Speed Bag, so you can train like a pro from your own home.