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Updated: Apr 2, 2022

We are all in a time of self-isolation, social distancing and that means visiting the shops less than we perhaps would have done before. Lots of people were previously shopping every 1-2 days, however if we can stretch this to be 7-10 days then you are reducing your contact time with people and minimising the spread of COVID-19. I know I have certainly reduced my trips to the shops to try and keep myself and others safe!

I have complied a list that you might find helpful of some simple cupboard essentials that can last a long time and can help you when social distancing.

Here it is in no particular order:

1. TINNED TOMATOES - This one is an obvious choice - it can be used in soups, chillis, curries and stews!

2. TINNED VEGGIES - peas, carrots, sweetcorn, mushrooms etc all count towards your 5-A-Day and can be handy to have when the fresh veg runs out.

3. LENTILS - These can be dried or canned, although you definitely get more bang for your buck with the dried variety. Both can be a simple quick protein and fibre punch

the canned options definitely speed up the cooking time.

4. BEANS - Either in tomato sauce or without - both varieties can be used for chillis, adding protein to soups and putting on toast or with a jacket potato (if you still have those around!)

5. STOCK CUBES (IF NO HERBS OR SPICES) - If you're lucky enough to have a spice rack filled with herbs then that's great - if not, using stock cubes or pots can be a good way of adding in flavour to meals. Be mindful if you have IBS because some stock contain onion and garlic which can make symptoms worse for some people.

6. CHICKPEAS - A staple in soups, curries or seasoned and roasted with some oil for a crunchy snack.

7. COCONUT MILK - Such a staple for Thai curries!

8. LONG-LIFE MILK - Both Dairy and dairy alternatives come in long-life form - perfect for when you are limiting your trips to the supermarket.

9. CEREALS - These tend to have a great shelf life and are quick to prepare, ready made cereals or porridge oats are a great start to the day, and can also be a nutritious snack.

10. JARS OF SAUCE - Quick, convenient, simple. A great option for pasta, curries and chilli if you don't have tinned tomatoes.

11. PASTE FLAVOURS - Some of my favourites are things like Thai curry, Korma or Masala. Mix these in with other foods such as vegetables and coconut milk for a flavour -packed punch.

12. PASTA - This is probably the most versatile of all the cupboard carbs as it can be paired with anything. e.g. Jars of sauce, tuna, oil/pesto or cheese and veggies.

13. RICE - These little grains are an excellent carbohydrate source for curries and vegetable dishes.

14. TINNED FISH - A great option to have a high protein addition to your meal. Some oily fish varieties are tinned too which is great for getting omega-3 fatty acids into the diet.

Always look for ensure that your fish is from a sustainable source - More information can be found here: Marine Conservation Society

15. NUTS & SEEDS - A healthy snack that can be used to top your porridge/cereal or tinned fruit to add some extra vitamins, minerals and fibre to your diet and add an extra bit of crunch.

16. TINNED FRUIT - Another easy way to get your 5-A-Day. My favourite are tinned peaches or fruit cocktail. Top your fruit with nuts and seeds for an added crunch.

17. CHOCOLATE - Ok ok.. this is not an essential I know - but having a stash for when you fancy it can't do any harm :)

For more free advice and community vibes visit the "Gut Instinct Community" facebook group.

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