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You’re stuck inside inevitably—so what are you going to eat? When grocery store runs seem like a luxury, it’s key to stock your pantry and fridge with food that will last, nourish you throughout the day, and energize you for all of those at-home workouts. We checked in with pro twin triathletes (and my sisters) Rebeccah and Laurel Wassner (also the brains behind the blog and Instagram accounts AthleteFood and Eating For Ironman) for some quick quarantine cooking strategies. Here’s what they came up with.
Quarantine Cooking Strategy #1: Stay Fresh
Grocery story runs may be limited, so when you’re shopping, pick up produce that has a longer shelf life. “Stock up on root vegetables, like potatoes, carrots, winter squash, onions, garlic, and beets. Cauliflower won’t last as long as root vegetables, but it does keep in the refrigerator longer than some other veggies,” says Rebeccah. For salads, stick to hearts of romaine lettuce or cabbage, which last longer than other greens. As for fruits? Apples and citrus fruits, stored in the refrigerator are your best bet. “We’ve been making roasted carrots and potatoes as midday snacks to replace some of the junk food snacking.”
Whip up AthleteFood’s Easy Roasted Carrots for a simple accompaniment to any protein (or enjoyed on their own).
Quarantine Cooking Strategy #2: Can It
Next time you’re at the store, fill your cart with cans of essentials like diced tomatoes in puree, beans, and corn so you can throw together a veggie chili in no time. “Most people have these items in their pantry anyway, but it doesn’t hurt to stock up on these canned goods, plus taco seasoning,” says Rebeccah. “In five minutes, you can have a really tasty chili.” You can get as fancy as you want with the toppings, think: cilantro, jalapeños, and pumpkin seeds–but if you don’t have those, it’s still a tasty treat.
AthleteFood’s veggie chili is even better the next day, so save some for leftovers.
Quarantine Cooking Strategy #3: Go Flourless or Eggless
Baking is still an option even if you’re running low on the essential ingredients. “A lot of stores are in low supply of flour and eggs, but don’t let that deter you,” says Rebeccah. There are many recipes out there that don’t require either ingredient. Granola and energy bars are fun baking projects that double as workout fuel. For more of a splurge, try making a flourless chocolate cake or chocolate dipped peanut butter cookies.
Quarantine Cooking Strategy #4: Simmer Down
For a fast-but-filling meal, start with a solid base like a simmer sauce or a meal starter. “It’s OK to take a shortcut and let someone else ‘cook’ for you,” says Rebeccah, of the ready-made sauces. “In just a few minutes you can make a flavorful meal without having to run to the store for specialty ingredients.” Look for products with high quality ingredients and keep the sodium levels in check.
Add peas and cauliflower to Maya Kaimal’s Tikka Masala sauce, top with chopped cashews, and serve it with rice.
Quarantine Cooking Strategy #5: Give Lentils Some Love
“Stock your pantry with a few bags of lentils to pump up the protein of any meal,” says Rebeccah. “Lentils are the MVP of pantry protein. They’re shelf stable, can take on many different flavor profiles, and can stand alone as a meal or added to one for bonus nutrients.” An added bonus? Lentils are also rich in iron and folate and low in calories—a winning combo for any athlete.
Try AthleteFood’s spicy lentil soup recipe for a hearty meal with a kick.
Quarantine Cooking Strategy #6: Do Your Own Takeout
Whether you’re trying to spend less or just don’t have access to your favorite Asian takeout place, you can make your own version of the popular cold sesame noodles with a few basic ingredients, like nut butter and soy sauce. “These noodles are super easy to put together, but feel indulgent,” says Laurel. “You can use spaghetti or linguine if you don’t have rice noodles and swap in apple cider vinegar for rice vinegar.’
AthleteFood’s Cold Sesame Noodles pack a flavorful protein punch.