All across the UK, people are having to adjust to a new way of living. Whether it’s work, socialising, exercising, or shopping, there’s little that hasn’t changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of us will be working from home for some time yet, and maybe even having to homeschool the kids too. Even our grocery shopping habits have had to change and with that our dietary habits too.

The Public Health Agency (PHA) is offering tips on healthy eating and meal planning for the time ahead to spark ideas about how to eat well, keep busy and make the best use of food.

It has launched a new website, Choose To Live Better, that contains a wide variety of recipes, including starters, mains, desserts, vegetarian meals, and snacks.

“COVID-19 is having an impact on all aspects of life and there is a lot to get used to,” said Caroline Bloomfield, the PHA’s lead on Nutrition and Healthy Eating.

“Food shopping has become particularly important as we plan what we need for the days and weeks ahead, particularly given the requirement to keep shopping trips to a minimum.

She added, “However, this offers the opportunity to be creative, try new recipes and bring variety into our weekly diet as we think more about what we eat. Each recipe has a step-by-step guide, taking you through the preparation and cooking process for the meals, and it a great resource for individuals and families to explore,” said Caroline.

Top tips

1. Plan the week ahead

Think about the meals for the week ahead, such as breakfast, lunch and dinner for everyone in your household. Note the foods that everyone likes, how it would be cooked, and the time needed to prepare it.

If you are working from home, then don’t feel pressured to use any ‘extra time’ on your hands to become a personal chef for your family, make a plan and stick closely to it.

2. Get the kids involved

Showing your kids how to plan meals, preparing and cooking food, and cleaning up will not only teach them valuable skills, but also maths, science, reading, and writing.

Get them involved by letting them find some kid-friendly recipes online, then plan what they need, and you can all make it together.

3. Swap out brands for cheaper products

Supermarket own-brands quite often are the same product, from the same production facility, but packaged differently.

4. Stick to your shopping list

Supermarkets are designed to tempt you into impulse buying. Stick to your shopping list, and avoid temptation for items you do not really need.

5. Go meat-free

Plant-based and meatless meals are on the rise. Try replacing meat in meals with a vegetarian option, such as beans instead of beef in chilli, or lentils and vegetables in a veggie lasagna.

6. Canned goods

Don’t forget that canned and frozen fruits and vegetables provide the same nutrition as fresh. Preferably, pick canned veggies in water, and canned fruits in water or juice.

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