How to stay healthy during the coronavirus (+ 6 vegan store cupboard recipes!)

Due to the current coronavirus covid-19 pandemic, the majority of us in the UK, and even globally, are now stuck at home for at least three weeks. In the UK we are only allowed to leave the house once per day to exercise or to grab some essential food and supplies from local shops.

Travel on roads is only allowed if absolutely necessary, otherwise we are to stay in our homes and distance ourselves from others. We must only socialise in person with those in our households and gatherings of more than two people outdoors is not allowed. We must keep two metres away from any other person we see outdoors who does not live in our household.

Many of us are used to running around each day dropping kids at school, going to the gym, popping to the shops and going to work. We are also more used to being able to exercise more than once per day outdoors!

How to stay fit and eat healthy during the coronavirus

How to stay fit during coronavirus

Whilst you might be worried that you can’t stay as healthy during the coronavirus, it might actually be easier than ever!

Here are several ways to stay fit and keep exercising during the coronavirus lockdown:

  • Make the most of your one exercise trip outdoors and go for a jog, run, walk or cycle. Check the weather and go at the optimal time if you can.
  • Explore your local neighbourhood and discover everything it has to offer. How often do you usually walk around your neighbourhood? See where all those alleyways go and take roads you’ve never been down.
  • If you are near countryside then there’s no better excuse to get outdoors in the fresh air and enjoy the British countryside that surrounds you. Being in nature is also great for your mental health too.
  • Rather than taking the car to pick up essentials from your nearest supermarket or convenience store, instead take a backpack and walk. This is a great way to squeeze in some more outdoor time and exercise whilst doing your essential food shop.
  • If you have a garden then get outdoors and do some exercises. Some simple stretching is easy to do even in the smallest spaces, some yoga or even star jumps, jogging on the spot, squats and jumping on the spot to get your heart rate up.
  • Indoors there is no excuse either! Just search YouTube for exercise videos from yoga to pilates and aerobics to high intensity interval training (HIIT) for free!
How to eat healthily during the coronavirus

How to eat healthily during the coronavirus

Viva! have released the below on how the nation can stay healthy, easily, from home during lockdown.

So now the entire country is in lockdown with only a handful of takeaways delivering us a selection of largely unhealthy and often expensive food, there has never been a better time to get in the kitchen and get creative – even if it is with tinned food! 

Viva! is the UK’s largest vegan campaigning charity and they’ve created the Vegan Recipe Club to demonstrate how easy, delicious and incredibly accessible vegan food can be. With a large percentage of the British public housebound for the foreseeable future, Viva! have compiled a list of their favourite store cupboard recipes, full-proof shopping list and top cooking tips to help get the public through the coronavirus!

Understandably, at a time like this, food and shopping are at the forefront of everyone’s mind. For some this is a daunting prospect and the thought of making homecooked meals is their idea of hell. For others this is an opportunity to spend all day in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes. Cooking can be a really uplifting positive experience and regardless of ability there are new exciting tips and techniques to discover.

Vegan Recipe Club’s website has over 500 tried and tested recipes and the team at Viva! have gone through it with a fine tooth comb to select the best tasting, easy to make and self-isolation friendly recipes. Here are their top vegan cooking tips to get you through the Coronavirus!

Top vegan cooking tips to get you through the coronavirus by Viva!

1. Try not to panic-buy

Of course it’s very difficult not to get drawn into the fear of scarcity, but there is enough to go around if we all just buy what we need. There are so many amazing vegan recipes which can be made using the most basic of ingredients. Try to support local veg shops and independents as they will be struggling the most during this time. Everyone has been heading to the supermarkets so these local shops have actually been much better stocked. Many zero waste shops also have plenty.

The Vegan Kind online supermarket has increased their own orders from suppliers as well as extending staffing to ensure they can meet increasing demands both for new and existing customers. They’re continually monitoring their stock levels to safeguard supply so they can help more people have access to their extensive range of vegan products.

2. Keep your immune system tip top

Buy fresh fruit and veg wherever possible. Otherwise frozen veg, frozen fruit for smoothies and tinned fruit and veg are a good option. Try to use brown or wholemeal versions of bread, pasta, rice, couscous, flour… but don’t worry if this isn’t possible right now. 

Fermented foods contain lots of beneficial bacteria which help boost immunity. Things like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and water kefir are all really good. You can make your own sauerkraut. It’s really cheap and easy and it will last for around 6 months if kept in the fridge.

For more advice, Viva!Health has put together 8 ways to help your immune system fight Coronavirus.

3. Variety and flavour

Many people are worried about getting variety and flavour when using more basic ingredients but having a good supply of dried herbs and spices will ensure that you can create depth of flavour and diversity.

4. Don’t be afraid to experiment

Adapt recipes and get creative with your ingredients. Many people are afraid to deviate from a list of ingredients or method but now is the time to switch, swap and not worry about getting a perfect result.

If the recipes call for fresh veg or herbs and you can’t get hold of them then adapt them with frozen and tinned or just stick to onion, garlic and root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes and squash as they’ll last for months. You can also buy frozen herbs if you want to keep that as an option.

Miss out the non-essential ingredients as most of the recipes on our store cupboard list are easily adaptable. For example, if the recipe calls for a fresh red pepper and you can’t get hold of one then just leave it out or swap it for any veg that you have (fresh or frozen). If the recipe calls for fresh tomatoes then use tinned instead… simple swaps like that. If the recipe asks for lemon juice, just leave it out or use bottled.

Vegan Recipe Club has a very useful search tool. Type in any ingredient (eg ‘carrot’) into the search bar and it will list all of the recipes containing that item, providing you with lots more inspiration.

5. Get baking

You’ll be pleased to hear that lots of vegan desserts, cakes, breads and biscuits rely on store cupboard ingredients so you’ll become a whizz in no time!

6. Check-in with your neighbours (of course follow the safety guidelines)

Try to make sure that your neighbours have three easy recipes they can create during this time. For some people, not being able to find their weekly shopping items or being in self-isolation is very worrying. Being able to offer a bit of support and ingredient/recipe advice can be incredibly helpful and reassuring. For other ways to help your local community, visit COVID-19 UK Mutual Aid.

6 easy vegan store cupboard recipes

Check out these six delicious vegan recipes that can be made with your food cupboard items!

  1. Tin Can Spaghetti Bolognese
Image courtesy of Viva!

One of the nation’s favourite dishes but tin can style. Using a combination of tinned green lentils, chopped tomatoes, red wine (optional), onions, garlic and tomato purée, it’s actually delicious (and very cheap!). Again, don’t be afraid to switch up the veg depending on what you have in the cupboard or what you can get hold of.

2. Farinata

Easy vegan store cupboard recipes to get through coronavirus lockdown healthily
Image courtesy of Viva!

So what is it!? It’s a Mediterranean street food (a bit like a Spanish tortilla) made from a gram (chickpea) flour batter that can be adapted in a variety of different ways. In this recipe, its filled it with jarred olives, artichokes, sundried tomatoes and capers but you can fill it with pretty much any combination of veg that you have… also think breakfast, lunch or dinner!

3. Store Cupboard Nut Roast

Easy vegan store cupboard recipes to get through coronavirus lockdown healthily
Image courtesy of Viva!

Yes you can have your weekly Sunday roast (or a roast any day for that matter)! This recipe is cheap, easy and surprisingly rich and delicious!

4. Quick & Easy Chana Masala 

Easy vegan store cupboard recipes to get through coronavirus lockdown healthily
Image courtesy of Viva!

Such a brilliant weekly staple and made using a variety of cheap ingredients including tinned chickpeas, tinned (or fresh if you can get them) tomatoes, spices, onion and garlic.

5. Bean Burgers 

Easy vegan store cupboard recipes to get through coronavirus lockdown healthily
Image courtesy of Viva!

Viva! couldn’t leave these off the list! Consistently one of the most popular recipes on the Vegan Recipe Club website and yes… all from the store cupboard 🙂

6. Super-fast Scrambled Tofu 

Easy vegan store cupboard recipes to get through coronavirus lockdown healthily
Image courtesy of Viva!

Use long life silken tofu or firm (if you can find it) and mix with all the best vegan ingredients… tahini, nutritional yeast, turmeric, soy sauce and garlic… oh and it only takes 5 minutes! Dress is up with salad for lunch or have it with fried brekkie items. Enjoy!

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