In light of the Covid-19 era many of us are trying to spend as little time in the grocery store as possible. That means the longer the shelf life a product has, the better. Although access to some fresh foods has become limited there are still options to maintaining a healthy diet while in quarantine.
For a great source of plant based protein that shares a long shelf life, look to legumes. Lentils, chickpeas and a variety of beans provide protein, fiber and many vitamins/minerals. With the added free time that many are experiencing, this is a great time to look for new and interesting recipes. There are a large number of stews and soups which use legumes as a base.
Go for whole grain. From oats for breakfast to rice and pasta for dinner, whole grains are high in fiber – helping you feel full for longer when compared to refined grains. Many whole grain products have a very long shelf life and can be used in numerous dishes. Whole grain bread can be frozen to extend its shelf life.
If access to fresh fruits and vegetables are limited – frozen produce may be the way to go. Over time fruits and vegetables will begin to expire, causing loss of nutrients. However freezing fruits and vegetables stops this process and can keep produce nutrient rich for weeks or even months. Although frozen produce contains the most nutrients, canned fruits and vegetables have the longest shelf life. When choosing these canned options avoid products that have added salts or sugars.
Choose healthy snacks. Dried seeds, nuts, and fruits are often a great alternative to other snacks. They can also be added to oats or salads for extra flavor and texture. Look for seeds and nuts that are unsalted, and dried fruits with no added sugar.
Things to Do:
- Get creative! Looks for new recipes that are based around your shelf stable foods.
- Choose frozen produce if fresh is not accessible.
- Freeze foods to prolong their life and reduce loss of nutrients.
- Maintain an eating schedule.
- Practice mindful eating. Even when eating a snack, serve yourself a set portion. Listen to your body and know when you’re full.
Things to Avoid:
- Avoid consumption of highly processed foods.
- Watch for foods containing added sugars and salts.
- Do not get discouraged. It’s simple. Good food makes us feel good. Provide your body with healthy fuel.
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