Now that athletes have a little extra time to think about what and when they are eating, its also a good time to practice some good habits around food prep while eating healthily to support immune function and mental health.
Mastering these food planning and preparation habits now while you have the time for behaviour change will mean you will have the tools to be better prepared and organised when back to full training and having busy schedules.
We want to be mindful of the food we are purchasing so that we have enough food to nourish our body and health but also plan ahead so we have adequate stores if we aren’t able to get to the shops very frequently and to be resourceful with what we do have.
Purchasing bulk amounts of packaged and non perishable food like tinned legumes and packets of pasta and rice can mean you have adequate stores of food for longer periods. Just be mindful to only buy what you need.
And what about fresh food?
This has a lot shorter shelf life so buying large amounts may not be effective or practical a few weeks down the track. To prevent food waste and keep food balanced and nutritious a little planning ahead when you do and unpack the shopping can help the fresh food you have be included in your diet a little longer to mean less trips to the shop.
Here are 11 suggestions for ensuring fresh fruit & veges last a little longer
- Juice lemons and limes and freeze in an ice cube tray – add the ice cube as you need juice in cooking or drinks
- Make you own frozen veg – the stuff you buy in packets was fresh at some point also. Cut broccoli in florets or slice zucchini and freeze. Steam to cook or add to dishes when cooking
- Do a big cook up of a mince sauce and add any or all chopped veges like capsicum, mushrooms zucchini and eggplant carrot and celery and divide to single serve containers (or a bulk container if eating as a family) and then all the veges are included in the meal and you don’t need to add on the side
- Similarly make a vegetable lasagne and add layers of zucchini, sweet potato or eggplant between layers of ricotta and fresh chopped spinach and freeze for a meal later or freeze in individual slices to eat as needed
- Make a soup by covering any range of veges you have left with stock and blend of have a chunky vege soup with a cheese toastie as an alternative to a salad.
- Fresh milk also freezes for up to a month – simply drink or reserve 150ml from the top of the bottle of milk before putting into the freezer. Defrost completely in the fridge and shake to use again
- Add chopped kale or spinach to a zip lock bag and squeeze out excess air – use this in smoothies or put in wet dishes like casseroles or curry
- Peel bananas and slice before freezing – these can be added to porridge, pancake batter, baking or blended into smoothies
- If you buy meat in bulk and there is only one or two people to feed, chop the meat up into single serve portions and freeze so you can take meat out as you need it and still rotate your diet rather than be eating the same meat all week because you defrosted 2kg of chicken breast.
- Stew apples and pears with cinnamon and add to cereal or natural yoghurt
- Chop fresh herbs and garlic and stir into butter for a herb butter to top bread or for cooking, this will also freeze for use later.
Remember to clearly label everything in the freezer with the both a date and name. This way you can easily rotate them and you don’t end up with a freezer full of mysteries.