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How to eat healthy during load shedding

Although it has been our reality for many weeks, it is taking time to adjust to. Many of us have had to think of creative ways to stay warm or feed ourselves without the microwave or stove. And eating healthy and maintaining nutrition is not as easy especially with limited options when the lights are out.

Tiger Brands’ Company Nutritionist, Arthur Ramoroka, shares some tips on how we can still have a delicious and nutritious meal no matter what stage we’re on.

Meal prep for the win!
Prepping ahead and cooking a dish that can be eaten for two or three meals means that when the power drops you don’t need to reach for convenience foods and unhealthy and expensive snacks.

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You can also keep a variety of healthier canned food options in the pantry such as lite baked beans, corn, fresh garden peas, pilchards, tuna and chickpeas. Pre-cook some brown rice or high-fibre pasta to keep in the fridge that you can use for the base of a salad, add your favourite tinned ingredient and a splash of dressing for a wholesome family meal.

Try this wild rice salad with rocket, crunchy veggies and nuts recipe by Eat Well Live Well:

Serves 4

You’ll need: 1 cup Tastic Brown & Wild Rice; ½ tsp salt; ½ cup diced, robot peppers; 4 Tbsp carrot matchsticks; ¾ cup pecan nuts, toasted and roughly chopped; 2 spring onions, thinly sliced; 3 cups baby rocket leaves; 3 Tbsp olive oil; 2 Tbsp Game orange drink powder or honey; 2 Tbsp Tru Lem Lemon Juice; 4 Tbsp Greek Plain Yoghurt; freshly ground black pepper

How to:

  • For the dressing:
  • Mix the olive oil, Game orange drink powder, lemon juice and yoghurt.
  • Add black pepper to taste. Allow the dressing to infuse and chill for at least 15 minutes.
  • Cook the rice as per package instructions in salted water, drain and cool. Combine the rice with the rocket, vegetables, pecans and spring onions, and mix well.
  • Scoop onto a serving platter and top with dollops of dressing. Can garnish with extra chopped spring onions.
  • Cooking tip: This salad is also delicious with roasted butternut or roasted sweet potato added to the mix.

Say hello to the not-so-humble sarmie

The sandwich is often overlooked as a nutritious meal option because people associate them with a high carb intake when in fact, it can be a very healthy option. Brown bread is high in fibre (up to 6 grams in 2 slices) and a simple spread like peanut butter can give you an energy boost. Pre-boil eggs to keep in the fridge for an egg mayo sandwich and you will add 6 grams (1 large egg) of protein to your diet. Have a variety of pre-cut fruit and vegetables on hand and ready to eat with a selection of healthy dips as a starter or as a side salad to your sandwich or meal.

Remember that sandwiches don’t always have to be toasted, they are just as good when untoasted too.

Try one of these quick and easy Eat Well Live Well recipes that can be made during load shedding:

Caprese toasted sarmies:

Serves 2

You’ll need: 150g baby tomatoes, on the vine; 1 Tbsp olive oil; 4 slices of Albany Ultima Multigrain Brown Bread; 2 thick slices of mozzarella cheese; a handful of fresh basil leaves; salt; 100ml milk; Golden Cloud Cake Flour, for dusting; 2 eggs beaten; 2 Tbsp olive oil; 1 Tbsp butter

How to:

  • Add olive oil to a pan and slowly fry the tomatoes on the vine for about 10 minutes. Turn them around halfway. When done, set aside.
  • Place a piece of mozzarella, a basil leaf or two and a large pinch of salt between two slices of bread.
  • Dip the sandwich firstly in the milk (do not let it soak – just dip the bread), then dip in flour and lastly into the egg.
  • Heat the olive oil and the butter over medium heat and fry the sandwich on both sides till golden brown. This takes about 8 minutes.
  • Serve hot with tomatoes and some fresh basil.

Green club sandwich:

Serves 1

You’ll need: 3 slices Albany Low GI Wholewheat Brown Bread; 3 Tbsp ready-made hummus; 1 small avocado, stoned and sliced; 1 handful rocket leaves; 8-12 cherry tomatoes, sliced

How to:

  • Toast the bread and spread hummus evenly over one side of each slice.
  • On one slice of bread, lay half the avocado, rocket and tomato. Season with pepper and cover with another slice.
  • Pile on the rest of the avocado, rocket and tomato, season again and top with the third slice.

Rainbow salad:

Serves 2

You’ll need: 10 cherry tomatoes, halved; ¼ cup chopped cucumber; 1 spring onion, finely sliced; ½ green pepper, chopped; ¼ cup KOO Red Kidney Beans, drained; ½ cup cooked quinoa; ¼ cup KOO Whole Kernel Corn, drained; 5 olives, pitted and halved (optional)

For the dressing – Drizzle olive oil; squeeze of Tru-Lem lemon juice; salt and pepper

How to:
Mix all the ingredients, and divide between two jars. Pour dressing over and seal with a lid until ready to serve.

Shop smart
Carbs sometimes get a bad rap but they are essential to ensure that you get enough fibre into your diet. Healthy grains such as brown rice or high fibre pasta are the perfect canvas for a load shedding-friendly meal plan because they can be cooked in bulk beforehand and then stored in the fridge for later use.

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