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Bangkok is a foodies’ paradise – you can get droolworthy, street eats at any hour of the day; check out one of the many instagrammable cafes and restaurants; or even take your culinary experience to new heights by visiting establishments such as the world-famous, Michelin-starred Gaggan Anand.
While the city’s latest COVID-19 dine-in restrictions have put a halt to Bangkokians’ favorite pastime, you can (fortunately!) still Grab your most-craved foods. But why not take this opportunity to unleash your inner Jamie Oliver, and cook yourself some delicious and nutritious dishes instead?
You don’t necessarily have to whip up a storm in your kitchen, so don’t worry if you’re not a pro chef yet. Courtesy of our friends at Pacific Prime Thailand, we’ll share with you some good-to-know food and nutrition tips during self-quarantine, as well as point you to some easy recipes to cook during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Food and nutrition tips during self-quarantine
First things first, let’s go over the World Health Organisation’s five golden rule for maintaining good food hygiene and avoiding food contamination and foodborne diseases during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Use safe, filtered water and cooking materials.
- Make sure your kitchen, utensils, and hands are clean before you start cooking. Wash your hands frequently in the kitchen, especially after handling raw meat.
- Separate raw and cooked food, especially raw meat and fresh produce. (Note: You can even have two separate chopping boards, one for meat and one for produce.)
- Cook your food thoroughly and avoid undercooking meat.
- Keep your food at safe temperatures, either below 5°C or above 60°C
Next is ensuring you eat nutritious food.
Given the uncertain and anxiety-inducing COVID-19 situation, it can be tempting to ‘eat your feelings’. But it’s important to refrain from doing so – especially because our lives have become so sedentary – in favor of healthier alternatives. Here are some tips to follow:
- Limit your intake of salt, fat, and sugar, and focus on increasing fiber through fresh fruits and vegetables, and drink plenty of water.
- Create meal plans and only buy the ingredients needed. It might also help to go shopping when you’re full to avoid overbuying, especially unhealthy snacks.
- Look online or at the packaging for caloric intake for the foods. You can even get a kitchen scale to weigh your food and portion it into the size advisable for one person.
- While the odd glass of wine is fine, you should refrain from drinking alcohol in large quantities, as it can compromise your body’s immune system.
Easy COVID-19 recipes to keep you going
Now, let’s get cooking! Start the day by treating yourself to an energy-packed breakfast. Overnight oats are an easy and healthy option with a big-pay off. Plus, you can save time by making it the night before, and customize it as you please. Popular toppings are berries, yogurt, chia seeds, maple syrup – but the choices are really endless!
Feeling a bit fancier? Try these guilt-free pancakes (using just bananas and eggs)! You can even go all out by decorating your plate with plenty of fresh fruit. Got more time on hand? Weekends are perfect for cooking all-time brunch favorites such as egg benedicts, french toast, avocado toast, and more!
Pro tip: Just remember to use wholesome ingredients, whenever possible. This includes unrefined, brown, or coconut sugar; organic eggs; whole wheat bread, etc.
Other COVID-19 recipes include the classic roast chicken and vegetables that you can just throw into the oven on a lazy night, or a rich, chunky, and hearty slow-cooked beef stew that you can leave to work its magic whilst you’re busy working during the day. We also recommend checking out these simple, 15-minute pasta recipes for when you don’t know what else to cook.
Missing local flavors?
For Thai flavors, stir-fried chicken with basil leaves, fried rice, and green curry are straightforward options. Pailin’s kitchen has got plenty of recipes made easy, including popular street food that you’d never thought you’d make at home like tom yum noodle soup, Hainanese chicken rice, barbeque pork and rice, etc!
Cooking at home during the COVID-19 pandemic not only ensures you eat nutritious food, but also keeps you occupied and creative, and can help with lockdown stress and anxieties. In other words, it’s great for both your physical and mental health. Now more than ever, your health should be a priority.
Pacific Prime Thailand offers a number of health insurance plans for expats in the country, including individual and family plans. Speak to their highly-trained insurance advisors today, and they’ll help you find a plan that meets your exact needs and budgets!