Trying to reach your health goals this circuit-breaker can be a tall order. You’re probably not as active as before and maintaining sensible eating habits is harder now that grocery runs are a lot more inconvenient.
Plus, following a healthy high-protein diet may seem even more impossible now that your Facebook feed is flooded with fatty, sugary recipes that are perfect for stress-eating.
But here’s some good news: a high-protein diet is totally attainable even under quarantine. There are plenty of protein-rich ingredients with long shelf lives that you can squirrel away in your pantry or freezer.
Here are the choice foods you’ll want to stock up on this circuit-breaker.
Now that you’re mostly inactive at home, you probably don’t want a heavy menu that makes you feel even more sluggish than you already are.
Seafood makes our eyes light up because it’s low in calories and high in essential minerals, omega-3 oils and protein. It also upgrades your meals with loads of natural flavour without requiring over-the-top seasoning.
Although fresh seafood spoils quickly, you can still source for them in canned or frozen form. These can store for a long time and often come at a fraction of the price, too. Stock up your freezer with healthy fish options and some of our other favourite crustaceans and molluscs including shrimp, mussels, squid, scallops and lobsters. Cans of tuna, sardine, octopus and salmon also make great pantry essentials.
Toss the seafood in stir-fries and salads, or grill, broil or bake them for light recipes that are just as satiating. Between these seafood options, you’ll be able to prepare everything from everyday bites to gourmet meals for treat-yourself evenings.
2. Nuts and seeds
Go nuts and stock up your pantry with a variety! These nutrient powerhouses don’t take up much space.
Research shows that nuts and seeds are able to moderate your risk for heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
Stock up on our favourite nuts such as almonds and walnuts, as well as seeds like chia, pumpkin and sunflower. Sprinkle nuts and seeds on stir-fries or salads for crunch, or nibble on them for an afternoon perk-me-up. Derivatives like nut and seed butters have earthy flavours that pair well with savoury meals like chicken skewers and roasted vegetables – and just as well in sweet treats like waffles and smoothies.
If you’re in a DIY mood, you can use whatever’s in your stash to whip up your own batch of homemade dips for straight snacking too.
As one of the best foods for weight loss, eggs are clear winner. They store well too. If you want something hassle-free, you could stock up on boiled, unpeeled eggs for a nutritious two-bite snack.
For a fuller meal, you could spread scrambled eggs on a breakfast toast, or heap it onto a pan for a quick shakshuka (empty a can of tomatoes, herbs and eggs into a sauté pan and cook until the eggs are done to your liking).
Eggs are also perfect for holding together simple comfort foods like fried rice and omelettes – those 10-minute meals where you can use all the bits and bobs in your fridge and still wind up with something tasty.
4. Soy products
Put your reservations about soy away. Not only are soy products a reliable source of vegetarian protein, they are also much more affordable than meat or fish if you are keeping an eye on your grocery budget.
Recent research suggests that soy products may actually lower, not increase, your risk of cancer. Supplementing your diet with soy also preserves muscle mass, something we’ll stand to gain from now that we’re mostly sedentary. It’s also beneficial if you’re going through menopause as the phytoestrogens could rebalance the hormones in your body.
One of our favourite soybean snacks to stock up on is edamame. It only takes a few minutes of boiling in salted water to turn them into an instant crowd-pleaser. Tofu, tofu puffs and fermented soybeans (or tempeh) are also relatively mild-tasting and can be incorporated in a variety of dishes from hot pots to curries and stir-fries.
For a more substantial meal, marinate firm tofu before grilling, roasting or stir-frying and you’ll forget about meat in no time.
It’s convenient to remember that most vegetables that grow above-ground will satisfy your low-carb, high-protein diet.
While you can’t expect too much protein in produce, veggies and fungi like capsicum, cucumber, mushroom do contain some. They are also high in vitamins and nutrients that enhance your immunity. Veggies contain lots of fibre too, which shrinks your appetite naturally and will make you think twice about reaching for a second serving.
Although veggies are best fresh, there’s no harm in stocking up on freezer-friendly options like broccoli and spinach. Or you could prepare the veggies and then refrigerate them for microwaveable meals later! In the canned aisle, we’d stay away from the uninspiring baby corn and asparagus. But tomatoes, beets and peas get our stamp of approval.
6. Dairy products
Thankfully, this diet has some room for cheese and yogurt.
Cheese lends itself well for snacks, salad bowls and oven-baked goods like quiches. You could also garnish your greens with cheese before setting them on the grill for a more layered flavour and texture.
Yogurt is delightful on its own or topped with nuts, fruits, or granola (yes, oats are low in carbs). Or stir in chopped herbs to make an airy sauce that will easily elevate a meal of rubbery chicken. For desserts, freeze yogurt to make low-sugar, low-fat popsicles. We also love the tasty tang that yogurt imbues to stews, soups and curries.
If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll want to stock up on kiwis, honeydews, watermelons and cherry tomatoes. They’re perfect for mixing together in a fruit salad with lemon drizzle, or blending into a shake.
Prefer savoury and sweet combos? Fruits like apples and pears work surprisingly well in stir-fries too.
If you’re up for something with a crispy bite, check out this 4-step baked apple chips recipe.
We think we speak for many people when we say chocolate makes staying in a lot more bearable.
Fortunately, dark chocolate has been found to prevent hunger pangs – live a little and enjoy a square every now and then. (Milk and white chocolate don’t boast quite the same benefits, though.) Alternatively, settle in for the evening with some hot chocolate or an avocado chocolate mousse.
Don’t stress about your weight during the circuit-breaker period
It’s normal to feel your clothes tighten now that this circuit-breaker has got us moving less and eating more. But if you’ve had a history of struggling with weight gain, it could be because of slower metabolism brought on by age.
As your metabolism slows down, losing weight becomes an uphill battle no matter how much you diet and work out.
By combining traditional Chinese techniques, our signature CSH therapy® boosts your metabolism for fast, natural and long-lasting results. The best part: There are no extreme diets, supplements or exercise involved.
Since 2002, we’ve helped thousands of customers achieve the figure they want with no weight rebound. Get in touch to find out how you can see results in just a month.