Meals You'll Want to Make if You're Social Distancing and Staying In
Updated: Mar 20
Thursday of this past week was the day that things particularly escalated in New York City regarding the coronavirus- the city was declared to be in a State of Emergency, and experts talked more and more about the importance of staying inside if you don't need to go out, in order to help reduce the spread of the virus. The lines at grocery stores were unlike anything I've seen before. Trader Joe's had a line down the entire block just to get in to the store!
On that same day this past week, I opened up my Archive on Instagram and saw a post from March 12, 2016, with a meal made entirely of foods with long shelf-life. People around the country are stocking up and preparing to stay inside, and seeing that post on Thursday (above) made me realize - I should write a blog with meal ideas using exactly the types of groceries everyone is stocking up on right now!
Read on for breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas that are balanced, easy, delicious, and, most importantly during this stressful time, FUN.
Breakfasts can easily be made with foods that keep for a long time. Cereal, eggs, yogurt, oatmeal (hot or overnight oats), chia seeds (for chia pudding), and ooo - frozen waffles! - all make for balanced and satisfying meals. Here are some pro-tips:
Add nuts or peanut butter to hot or cold cereals; add yogurt (or, YUM, peanut butter) to waffles for a filling source of protein
Sneak an egg into stove-top oatmeal by mixing it in before cooking
Choose non-dairy milks, which last longer in the fridge than dairy milks; some nondairy milks come unrefrigerated and can be stored even longer unopened
Replace fresh fruit with frozen fruit, which, upon digging back into my Instagram, I realized I put onto cereals and waffles all the time
Have Fun with your Food
Choose not only nutritious high-fiber, lower-sugar cereal, but also fun ones that you might enjoy, like a yummy granola or a blast from the past like Lucky Charms. BTW - this recommendation always stands. Cereal doesn't have to be a whole grain, low added sugar variety 100% of the time. I regularly encourage clients and patients to use a nutritious cereal as a base and then add something fun if they want - hell, one morning I added peanut m&m's as a source of protein to my cereal
Put peanut butter and chocolate chips on waffles or toast
Make SUPER easy 2-ingredient pancakes with eggs and bananas that you've had on hand and have turned very ripe (I unfortunately don't remember the recipe I used but there are a ton online to choose from!)
Lunch and Dinner
I'm putting lunch and dinner in the same category because the following meals are all savory and interchangeable. They are made from staples I regularly recommend keeping on hand and that are especially relevant right now:
A non-perishable whole grain (whole wheat pasta, brown rice, or frozen corn), or a legume-based pasta like chickpea pasta
Tomato sauce, olive oil, or whatever you enjoy putting on pasta
Eggs (*you can replace eggs with another protein that keeps for along time, like tofu or chicken sausage)
For an additional resource, check out this blog post from my original website, The Hungry Clementine: Seven Items You Need in Your Kitchen
#Putaneggonit is a hashtag for a reason - it's such an easy, quick, and inexpensive way to add protein to a meal. Put it right on top for a yummy, runny, food-porny meal. Scramble into rice with frozen veg for "fried" rice, which is a balanced dish in a bowl. Legume-based pastas (last pic in slider below) are a particularly good option right now, since they are protein-packed on their own and satisfying with just veggies and sauce of choice.
Quick shout-out to these pizza English muffins that I made a few months ago. Can totally be made with ingredients that last a long time and, quite simply, are fun 😍. Swap the below kale with a frozen veg if you no longer have any fresh veggies on hand.
The Power of Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is one of my FAV. OR. ITE. staples. If I'm not putting it on bread, I'm eating it on a spoon with chocolate chips or mixing it with vanilla ice cream (I did that yesterday afternoon as a snack and OMG). Below is a snapshot of some of meals (honestly any meal any time of day) and snacks you can make with nut butter, frozen fruit (or jelly, which also lasts a long time), and a starch (bread or cereal). Honorable mention to my chocolate-chip-studded PB and defrosted frozen berry sandwich, which got over 1,200 likes on Insta, and with good reason - I mean how FUN is it?! And I think that with all of the stress and uncertainty that's going on right now, adding fun when we can is especially important to prioritize.
Feel free to share this post with anyone who you think would like it, and tag me if you make any of the meals above! I hope you are all staying safe and calm right now ❤️