Supermarkets across the country have had their shelves stripped bare, as anxious shoppers stock up on essentials such as rice and pasta as they self-isolate at home.
However, former MasterChef judge Matt Preston revealed in The Sunday Telegraph’s Stellar magazine that there’s no reason to fret – it’s simply time to get creative.
‘Surviving isolation is about more than hoarding a shedload of toilet paper, bland bowls or pasta or rice and tinned tuna to eat,’ the 58-year-old said.
From heading to a supermarket off the beaten track, to stocking up on capers and olives to make carbohydrate-heavy dishes more flavoursome, here are Matt’s top tips to eating well amid the coronavirus pandemic, on a minimal budget.
Forget bland bowls of pasta, rice and tinned tuna: Former MasterChef judge Matt Preston (pictured), 58, shared his top tips for eating well on a budget during self-isolation, in The Sunday Telegraph’s Stellar magazine
Think outside the box
Has your local Woolworths or Coles run out of pantry essentials? Matt suggests checking out that independent grocer, next to universities.
With students out of session, it’s more likely that their shelves will be stocked well.
Location, location: While Woolworths or Coles may be out of items, consider heading to an Asian or Indian grocer, or supermarket near a university – students are out of session
A wholefoods store or grocer ‘off the beaten track’ may allow you to fill your cart with items that will go the distance – such as tinned tomato, flour and chicken stock.
Best locations to buy
* Supermarkets near universities as students are out
* Indian or Asian grocers for bulk essentials such as rice
* Woolworths out of meat? Head to your local butcher
Matt also recommends checking out an Indian or Asian supermarket, where you can purchase basmati or jasmine rice in bulk.
Be smart with carbohydrate choice
While you may have a loaf of bread already in the freezer, wraps are also another top choice.
They can last for a few months in the pantry, and are ideal for loading up with tasty ingredients such as cooked, peeled prawns, which you can store in the freezer.
Choose long-lasting fruits and vegetables
Matt points out that fruit and vegetables are often plentiful at supermarkets – so it’s easy to stock up on beetroot, pumpkin, potatoes, carrots and cabbage.
Carbohydrates: Wraps can last for months in the pantry. Stock up on sauces, olives and spices to make carbohydrate-heavy dishes taste more flavoursome
Plentiful: Matt points out that fruit and vegetables are often plentiful at supermarkets – so it’s easy to stock up on beetroot, pumpkin, potatoes, carrots and cabbage
Best long-lasting vegetables
* Try onions, potatoes, carrots and cabbage
* Beetroot, broccoli and pumpkin
* Leeks and fennel are also coming into season
* Iceberg lettuce lasts longer than other varieties
Iceberg lettuce lasts longer than spinach leaves and rocket, so keep that in mind.
Garlic, ginger, spices and oils, are good to keep on hand, adding extra flavour to dishes.
Introduce more meat to your diet
Out of chicken? With restaurants not having the demand they used to, Matt says butchers are often still stocked with top quality cuts of meat.
A large batch of curry or bolognese can be cooked and frozen in individual-size ziplock bags.
Get cooking: A large batch of curry or bolognese can be cooked and frozen in individual-size ziplock bags
Try something new
Your usual tinned suspects such as lentils, chickpeas and tuna may be gone – but that leaves room for other possibilities including anchovies and sardines.
* Cooked, peeled prawns for fajitas
* Bolognese in ziplock bags
* Peas, pineapple and berries
Perishables such as green peas, berries and spinach leaves are great to keep in your freezer for a dose of freshness, says Matt.
While we may be in a crisis, you can still indulge in your favourite guilty pleasure – so make room for that tub of chocolate ice cream or other sweet treat.
Matt’s final words
‘As we saw in the bushfire crisis, even when leadership falters, Aussies are great at looking after one another,’ says Matt.
* Capers, olives and spices are great to adding flavour to carb-heavy dishes
* Nuts and seeds are great also, as well as eating as a snack
Consider sharing your leftovers or large batch of pasta with a neighbour, or ring up a friend to swap recipe and/or ingredient ideas.
Australians across the country have been self-isolating at home, as the fight to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus continues.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness accompanied by fever, coughing, sore throat, shortness of breath and fatigue. It can produce pneumonia.
Whatever takes your fancy: While we may be in a crisis, Matt encourages still enjoying your favourite guilty pleasure – whether it’s coffee, ice cream, wine or chocolate
Remember, enjoy food
* You may be in a crisis, but it’s okay to indulge once in a while
* Enjoy your favourite ice cream, stock up on coffee or a bottle of wine for that special occasion
* Lastly don’t stress, share your leftovers with friends and ring up a friend to swap recipe ideas
The spread of the disease, which began in Wuhan, China, has seen over 660,000 cases worldwide and more than 30,800 fatalities.
As of the afternoon of March 29, the total number of people diagnosed with the virus in Australia is 3,929 including 16 deaths.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has urged Australians to not leave the house unless absolutely necessary for things such as as grocery and pharmacy trips.
Restaurants and cafes may still operate, but are only able to serve takeaway.
Don’t stress: ‘As we saw in the bushfire crisis, even when leadership falters, Aussies are great at looking after one another,’ says Matt. Swap recipe ideas with friends and share leftovers
Pandemic: As of Sunday evening, thee have been 3,929 cases of coronavirus, which have resulted in 16 deaths