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Recipes to Stay Healthy, Recommended by a Public Health Professional

Top recipe picks from an infectious disease-focused public health professional.
Duncan Darroch-Thompson
Duncan is a trainer at F45 Shanghai and a public health professional who works with low and middle-income countries around the world to strengthen their infectious disease-focused health systems.
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Duncan Darroch-Thompson
Duncan is a trainer at F45 Shanghai and a public health professional who works with low and middle-income countries around the world to strengthen their infectious disease-focused health systems.

The most important thing during this pandemic is to stay safe and healthy. But for those that are isolated at home, it can be tough to try to stay in shape and eat healthy but it doesn’t have to be hard. SideChef has some delicious, simple recipes you can make to ensure you’re getting everything your body needs, and you don’t need a professionally stocked pantry to prepare them. It’s also easier than you may think to get a good, quick work out, in a small space, and without any equipment.

Here are some quick, easy, and healthy recipes to try:

Spanish Beans with Tomato and Onions

Find the recipe here.

This is a great one for vegetarians and vegans, and is a perfect post-workout meal. Lima beans are very low in fat (pantry stable!), and are a wonderful source of protein, crucial for rebuilding your muscle fibers after you’ve broken them down during your session. They’re also full of dietary fiber, which helps to stabilize blood sugar, improve digestion, and helps make you feel full, which will help you avoid overeating. I’m also a sucker for garlic, not just for the taste and obvious anti-vampire bonus, but also it is thought to boost the immune system and help to reduce blood pressure – always a good thing when we’re cooped up with the same people for long periods of time!

Spicy Spanish Tuna Cakes with Garlic Yogurt Aioli

Find the recipe here.

I’m a terrible snacker, but these tuna cakes are amazing snack food! Tuna is another low fat, high protein option that is also jam-packed full of omega-3 fatty acids like DPA and EPA, which have been shown to help reduce triglycerides. You’ll get more protein from the eggs, and then you can bask in the pure deliciousness of the chive and smoked paprika combination.

Poha Crusted Salmon with Green Beans and Rice

Find the recipe here.

Taking on enough calories to fuel your day is important, but doing so in the right way is crucial to keeping in the shape you’re after. Poha is a great way of doing just that. Usually eaten for breakfast in India, poha is rich in fibre and iron, and will give you plenty of fuelling carbs whilst being low in calories. You’re going to get great omega-3 fatty acids from the salmon, along with a dose of protein and most of the B-vitamins, which have been shown to help maintain cognitive function. Your heart will thank you for the green beans, as the sodium can help lower your LDL (“bad cholesterol”) and your blood pressure, and they’re just packed full of Vitamins C and A, which are great for the immune system. Also, they’re just yummy, which helps.

One Pot Moroccan Style Chicken

Find the recipe here.

Don’t worry we haven’t forgotten the meat-eaters out there! Moroccan food is one of my favourites, and this is a great example. The dish can be made in one pot, but it has enough nutrients and dietary goodness to fill several. The lean chicken breast will give you all the protein you need, chickpeas are bursting with fibre and folate (important for the production of red blood cells), and the much-maligned potato is great for heart health and lowering cholesterol through more fibre. Oh, and there’s some more garlic in there, just for good measure.

Cajun Meatballs and Pasta

Find the recipe here.

This recipe is a mixture of Italian perfection with New Orleans soul. The courgette/zucchini are full of antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals, which can cause damage to your DNA and cells – something to avoid if you can help it – they’re also high in fiber (are you sensing a theme here?) and carotenoids, that help your eyes, heart, and skin, and there is some evidence that they may help protect against some cancers. Don’t beat yourself up about the small amount of cream; a balanced diet is a healthy diet, and let's not pretend that a bit of cream doesn’t help make things taste delicious. Enjoy!

Good luck with your COVID-cooking - these should all be relatively quick and easy for you to cook and will help you keep your diet under control during the lockdown.

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