You are what you eat: filling your cupboards with the good stuff

Working from home has, for many, changed our eating and shopping habits – some for the better, others for the worse. With greater numbers of us working from home either permanently or more frequently, we explore how filling your cupboards with better produce, shopping smartly and planning your meals can help you eat better and waste less.

Food on the brain

Food news has been a common companion throughout the pandemic; whether it was panic buying in supermarkets, a surge in home baking, an increased reliance on food banks, the adaptation of restaurants providing takeaways or a boost in online food purchasing.

In addition, concerns about health and wellbeing relating to obesity and alcohol consumption have also hit the headlines as the global population navigates its way through this health emergency, making now an important time to create healthy habits for our evolving working and shopping routines.

The big shop is back

As a result of lockdowns and an increase in home working, our relationship with food and the producers and retailers who supply it has changed exponentially in 2020; so much so that studies are being undertaken to establish just how much our food and consumer habits have altered.

While local markets, delis and grocers are still a main supplier of food in many countries, supermarkets have played a critical role in maintaining supply chains throughout the pandemic.

Before 2020, supermarket consumers had been abandoning a large weekly shop in favour of more frequent trips, grabbing food on-the-go as they needed it. However, with more of us working from home, the indulgence and convenience of take-out lunches and dinners out have been replaced with home-made lunches, more cooking from scratch and an increasing reliance on supermarkets. With an emphasis on social distancing, we are statistically making fewer visits to the supermarket, but instead buying more at each shop.

Six ways to shop smarter and healthier in the age of Coronavirus

In the depths of uncertainty about COVID-19 and its impact on future global health and economies, you can grapple back a sense of control by focussing on your personal wellbeing and finances with smarter, healthier shopping choices.

1. Online shopping

The online global grocery market is set to more than double in growth by 2025 to USD 5 trillion and as a result of the pandemic, many more people have adopted new online shopping habits. Some of the benefits of online shopping include the ability to save time, track what you are spending, and stick to a list, avoiding the temptation of unhealthy impulse purchases.

2. Stock up on healthy kitchen staples

Panic buying early in the pandemic caused major shortages of certain products like pasta, yeast, and tinned goods. Stocking your cupboards with a reasonable supply of non-perishable items like tinned tomatoes, pasta, rice, lentils, beans, canned fish, olive oil, flour, sugar, oats, stock, nuts, herbs and spices means that not only do you have the foundations of a healthy home-cooked meal, but you can also save money by buying these items in bulk, and avoid being left short should there be any future episodes of panic buying.

3. Find local producers who will deliver

Local farms, butchers and fishermen have also seen demand for their products surge as a result of supply chain problems in our usual stores – a habit change that is predicted to stick around as people discover the benefits of local produce. Many of these suppliers have also moved into the delivery and subscription market as demand grows for quality and convenience, with 27% of consumers globally planning to increase their number of subscriptions this year. From milk and eggs to fish, coffee and vegetables, these local delivery services enable you to set a budget for fresh, local and seasonal produce to be delivered straight to your door each week.

4. Switch up your snacks

If you find yourself gazing in hope at your cupboards or refrigerator when you are working from home, it is time to start buying and eating snacks that are nutritious and help you maintain your focus. Seeds, nuts, dried fruits and meats are all healthy snacks you can keep by your desk to help prevent you from reaching for the junk.

5. Prep food for more balanced meals at home

Meal prepping – preparing food ahead of time and freezing or refrigerating to eat later – has gained lots of momentum in recent years, due to its time-saving and cost-effective benefits, and more recently, as a way to mix up your standard work-from-home lunches with healthier, tastier options. If you have prepared a variety of nutritious lunch options at the beginning of the week, not only will you have access to a quick and healthy meal without creating lots of mess in your kitchen, you will also benefit from more time to enjoy a well-earned lunch break.

6. Keep your freezer well-stocked

Is your freezer being under-utilised? If all it is storing are some ice trays and the odd bag of frozen peas, it is time you took advantage of this meal-inspiring machine. Your freezer can become an Aladdin’s cave of healthy essentials, ranging from soups and sauces to fruits and vegetables, milk, bread and even herbs. As well as a way to preserve pre-prepared meals for when you really need them, a fully-stocked freezer will help you to cook more meals from scratch, store seasonal produce and buy and preserve healthy foods that are discounted.

With more of your meals eaten at home, and with, shopping and eating habits changing as a result of COVID-19, now might be the perfect time to adopt some good new food planning habits – habits that can help to keep you healthy and your immune systems strong.

Working with leaders to improve the health and wealth of their teams. 

Are you rising resilient?

Our short self-assessment survey provides you with an immediate indication as to whether your workforce is likely to be resilient.

  • See how you fare against our resilience gauge
  • Understand your key areas for improvement, and how to make change happen
  • Discover how well-rounded your health and wellbeing approach is

Start assessment