If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19 you need to self-isolate for at least 10 days, and if you live with someone who has symptoms or tested positive without symptoms you need to self-isolate for 14 days. During this period of isolation, you can’t leave your home. Throughout lockdown, people have turned to home delivery since this option ensures contactless delivery. Alternatively, you could give your list to a friend and ask them to do your shopping for you. A nutritionist has revealed exactly what you need to add to your shopping list.
Camelia Dickson, Nutrition Associate (DipNT, mBANT) at vitl.com said: “Humans are an incredibly adaptable species and many brilliant initiatives have been born in recent months, including a boom in home delivery options and many online support networks.
“Those in isolation face a greater risk of vitamin and mineral deficiency due to reduced access to fresh foods rich in essential nutrients such as magnesium, dietary fibre, folate and vitamins A, C and K.
“Fortunately, there are many companies specialising in fruit and veg boxes and home-cooked freezer foods that can be delivered straight to your door, many of them on subscription.”
So what can we add to our shopping lists to keep healthy while self-isolating?
Get more than your five a day
We all know we are supposed to eat at least five portions of fruits and vegetables a day, but in 2018 only 28 percent of British adults were eating this much.
Most of us only eat three to four portions, and younger people have been shown to eat even less!
The UK’s ‘five-a-day’ guidelines were developed based on a World Health Organization recommendation that consuming 400g of fruit and vegetables per day can reduce risks of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and some cancers.
Camellia said during the pandemic we need to be eating even more than five portions a day.
She suggested: “Getting your five a day is more important than ever during a pandemic, but up to 9 or 10 portions a day will provide you with optimal support.
“Structure can help in many ways when life is a little less controllable, so try using structure during isolation to ensure an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals, for example, thre to four servings of fruit and/or vegetables per meal (based on 3 meals a day).”
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Sometimes you can’t be bothered to cook a fancy meal from scratch and might find yourself reaching for a pre-prepared meal from the supermarket. This is okay!
Camellia explained: “Frozen or fresh pre-prepared meals with a high vegetable and whole grain content such as chickpea curry, steamed fish with vegetables or mushroom and lentil ragu are good options for isolation.
“They’re quick and easy to make if you’re not feeling up to cooking and there are some high-quality options on the market. “
However, there are a few pre-prepared meals that you should avoid.
Camellia recommends avoiding anything with refined carbs such as white rice and white pasta.
She also advises checking the ingredients lists for hidden sugars, which you can identify by looking out for words that end in ‘ose’.
Anything overly processed will have more than five ingredients and use ingredients that you would not cook with at home.
Soups are a great addition to your fridge, so add a range of soups to your shopping list!
Camellia said: “When you have an opportunity to stock up on fresh vegetables, soup is an excellent way to maximise on nutrients and can be kept in the freezer in smaller quantities.
“Bulk out your soup using potatoes (or sweet potatoes) as a carbohydrate rich base, add lentils or brown rice for extra fibre, and top with some lightly roasted seeds.
“Make your own mix of sunflower, pumpkin and flax and keep them in a jar to adorn your dishes!”
Juices have been controversial in recent years, and Camellia still advises against using juices as a meal replacement.
However, you should drink juices alongside your meals to increase your mineral consumption.
Drink juices packed with fresh fruit and vegetables such as apples, carrots, parsley, oranges, and ginger, and squeeze them yourself.
Camellia explained: “Depending on your method of juicing, the process can strip the fibre content and may reduce Vitamin C or potassium.
“If in doubt it is better to consume the fruit/vegetable in its natural form.
“Shop bought juices often contain a high sugar content so make your own where possible.”
A few months ago, canned foods were being stockpiled by some panicked Brits preparing for months of lockdown.
Canning is a traditional method of preserving foods, and tins are really handy to have in your cupboard.
Camellia suggests stocking up on the following:
• Kidney beans
• Tinned tomatoes
• Coconut milk
She explained: “These are all good sources of various nutrients, supporting a range of functions from energy production and the nervous system to the maintenance of muscle mass.
“Tinned fish is a quick and nutritious snack to have at hand, or a tasty addition to a main meal.
“Sardines, anchovies, and herring on a slice of wholegrain toast or rye bread is also delicious and nutrient packed.
“Sardines are high in calcium (to support bone health during a time of potentially reduced physical activity); a 3oz tin can provide 325mg of calcium which is almost half of your recommended daily intake (700mg).”