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Staying focused and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic

It's no secret that the country is going through a tumultuous time. And the collective angst of the UK public is at an all time high.

We’ve been stripped of normality to a great degree, and while we're all trying to do our best to protect each other and those most vulnerable, it's ok to feel a little out of sorts yourself.

Many of us are out of our usual routines; some of us are no longer working; and some of us are housebound with children who would otherwise be in school. 

This can all contribute to poor mental and physical health, which can lead to increased anxiety, depression, insomnia, and compromised immune systems.

So how can you stay sharp, alert, focused, and above all, healthy during this time?

You remember the saying, to eat well is to live well, right?

For us, baking and cooking will be one of our most practiced hobbies during the isolation period.

The benefits are endless. In some cases this can be a cheaper, healthier option. It’s therapeutic, rewarding, and can bring the family together. It’s also incredibly satisfying to sit down and enjoy a meal together, which could in some cases, bring some normality back into your life.

Here are some of our most delicious recipe suggestions for you to try either alone or together as a family. We’ve got you covered for breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks, dinner, and even dessert - but choose whatever lends itself best to your tastes and of course the contents of your cupboards:

Breakfast

If you’re partial to a sweet breakfast, is there any better time that to treat yourself to a deliciously nutty, chocolatey, and warming breakfast?

Our delicious macadamia and chocolate American pancakes are completely vegan and packed full of healthy fats and carbohydrates. This hearty breaky will help power you through your daily run or a morning of home working. It’s incredibly important we are fuelling our bodies correctly with homemade, nutritious food that we genuinely enjoy. If not for physical health but for our mental health too. 

Lunch

For lunchtime, how about a light yet vitamin-rich salad?

This one is bursting with flavour, protein, and nutrients to keep you feeling satisfied and give your immune system a much-needed boost.

Afternoon snack

Fancy an afternoon snack? The biscuit tin may be calling but our macadamia hummus is a far more sensible option!

Whip this up in your food processor within minutes and enjoy with gluten free crackers, toasted pitta bread, or chopped vegetables. If you’re a fan of spice, why not double up on the cumin and paprika? 

Dinner

Now time for dinner. And this delicious prawn and macadamia curry created by Stella Marpereira couldn’t get away without a mention. Use fresh, king prawns for the best results and serve with a dash of coriander to boost the wonderful flavours. If you’re feeling indulgent, enjoy with poppadoms and naan bread for a real authentic, Indian feel. 

Dessert

Room for dessert? If you still have a sweet craving, or perhaps you enjoy the comforting scent of a freshly baked pudding, this macadamia peach tart is sure to hit the spot.

Try this with either fresh cream, custard, or ice cream and, of course, enjoy hot or cold. The beauty is that it's made with fresh peaches as well as macadamia nuts, so you can be sure this is a satisfying yet healthier option than most other heavy, sugary puds!

Trying to stick a relatively healthy menu that consists of mainly fresh, healthy, and processed ingredients will be vital in protecting our mental and physical health at this time. But sustainable food choices are also great for the planet too. With the reduction we are already seeing in air pollution and travel - it really brings home how much we damage the planet during our daily lives.

Sustainable food production is essentially a method of production which uses non-polluting processes and systems: a system that is safe for workers, natural resources, and economically efficient and does not compromise future generations.

While the food and beverage industries are tweaking their supply chain strategies, you can start making a difference as an individual by opting for more sustainable produce too. 

The upside is, of course, that sustainable, fairtrade, and organic foods not only have less impact on the environment but are said to be healthier, often more nutritious, and tastier.

The WWF recommends the following six tips to help you eat more sustainably:

  • Eat more plants
  • Eat a variety of food
  • Waste less food
  • Moderate meat intake
  • Buy food that meets a credible certified standard
  • Eat fewer processed foods high in salt, fat, and sugar

Further considerations to lessen the impact on the environment include:

  • Reducing waste
  • Optimising packaging use
  • Using materials that have a lower environmental impact

If you're passionate about food and cooking, this will likely come naturally to you. But it really does prove how sticking to a non-processed diet, enjoying cooking at home, and choosing ingredients consciously can impact the bigger picture. Not just the health and wellbeing of yourself and your family but also our environment. 

Simply taking a little time to research the source of your food, the farmers, the production process, and the journey it takes to get to your plate will help us all make our collective difference.

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