Covid-19 Stay Home Ideas

Most of us – other than frontline health workers and food system workers are at home. Some of us on our own, some with our kids. It can be all too easy to fall out of routine, sleep late, eat whenever. Spend the day on the sofa on twitter. But that way lies the road to madness as they say! I know I feel a lot better when keeping close to our normal routine and so do the kids. It’s also important to treat ourselves well, so that we have a strong immune response, and hopefully be more resilient to Covid-19 should it strike our homes.

I wanted to put together a healthy 7 day meal plan to give us structure and routine.

To download a printable .pdf version, click here: Coronavirus Covid-19 Stay At Home Schedule ^0 Meal Plan

One thing a lot of us have more of now is TIME. Time we can choose to use productively – or not!

So why not use this time to cook, to learn new recipes, to teach the kids to cook?

All the while, at the back of our mind, knowing we are strengthening and nourishing our bodies.

cooking with kids

Social Distancing

The first line of defense is social or physical distancing, which all of us are now practicing.

Even at home we should continue the practices of hand washing and covered coughing/sneezing. Disinfect touched surfaces often. Reduce the spread, flatten the curve and reduce deaths.

flatten the curve

Shopping and food deliveries

Bear in mind good hygiene practices. If shopping, follow the social distancing guidelines. When food gets to your house – either by yourself or someone else consider what may be contaminated. Disinfect bag handles, food packaging, etc. Wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly. Evidence suggests cooking kills coronavirus but be more aware of washing foods to be consumed raw.

Below is always a list of the types of foods to include in your shopping list and to keep in your pantry. With these types of healthy foods in stock, you will always have the makings of a healthy meal to hand:

Cupboard Staples Cereals & Grains Meat & Dairy
Extra virgin olive oil Porridge oats Eggs
Wholemeal flour W/grain breads Sliced chicken / turkey
Plain flour Rice or corn cakes Chicken / turkey fillets
Low salt W/grain rice Tin salmon & tuna
Black pepper W/grain pasta Salmon fillets
Tomato puree W/grain bread rolls Mackerel fillets
Reduced salt soy sauce W/grain pitta breads Whole chicken
Lemon juice Ryvita Lean lamb / beef / pork
Low salt stock cubes W/grain paninis Olive oil spread
Curry powder Weetabix Yoghurt live unsweetened
Chilli powder Granola Natural Greek yoghurt
Cumin Cheese
Coriander Butter
Mixed herbs Nuts & Seeds
Basil Peanut butter Freezer
Oregano Tahini Mixed vegetables
Thyme Mixed nuts and seeds Stir fry vegetables
Cornflour Flaxseeds Quorn mince
Tin chopped tomatoes Popcorn Quorn chicken pieces
Passata Cereal bars Frozen fruit pieces
Kidney beans Walnuts Frozen berries
Mixed beans Almonds Frozen fish
Chickpeas Pistachios
Lentils Drinks
Dried fruits Fruit Fruit juice NFC
5+ varieties Tea / coffee
Green tea
Vegetables Chamomile tea
5+ varieties


Ideas for daily schedule with kids at home

8.00  Everybody up. Shower. Get dressed.
8.30  Breakfast.
9.00  Morning walk.
10.00  School work.
11.00  Snack time.
11.30  Housework time. Everyone!
1.00  Lunch time.
2.00  Art & Craft time.
3.00  School work.
4.00  Snack time.
4.30  Evening exercise
6.00  Dinner time.
7.00  Facetime a loved one.
7.30  Screen time.
8.00  Reading time.
8.30  Bedtime.
9.00  Adult time.


Trying to work from home, while the kids are home-schooling is not easy.

Once they are 7+ they should be able to appreciate that you have to work too.

You could set them up at a desk near you initially, then a bit further away, as they become accustomed to working independently.

Once they know the schedule and that you will be spending time together at certain points in the day, they should be able to get some work done.



Meal Plan

Below is a suggested meal plan for 7 days. It is important to follow a regular eating pattern. Adjust it to suit yourself, substitute similar foods – treat it as a template.

Follow healthy eating guidelines to make sure you get the portions and calories you need for your age and activity level:


Day 1

Over the day drink 1.5- 2L water Calories
100ml Orange juice + 100ml water 50
Boiled egg x 2 160
Wholegrain toast x 2 slices 140
Lightly spread with butter (10g) 70
Coffee with skimmed milk 20
Natural yoghurt – small pot (100g) 80
Banana 90
Salmon salad: 100g tinned pink salmon, 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, scallions, spinach leaves 180
Lettuce and tomato wedges + 3 slices rye bread 230
1 tbsp mayonnaise 95
Apple 60
Tea with skimmed milk 20
Palmful of unsalted mixed nuts 100
Chilli con carne + cup of wholegrain rice (Recipe 1) 321
Cupful wholegrain rice 220
Large tossed salad + 1 tbsp dressing (R2) 70
2 dark chocolate rice cakes 120
Chamomile tea 2
Total 2028kcal


  • Fruit juice recommended is freshly squeezed, not from concentrate. Dilute half and half with water because of high acidity and sugar content.
  • Spread recommended is olive oil spread, but where there is no issue with overweight or cholesterol real butter is recommended – in moderation
  • 2 caffeinated drinks per day or less is recommended
  • Recipes are included at the end


 Day 2

Over the day drink 1.5- 2L water Calories
100ml Apple juice + 100ml water 50
45g Porridge oats + 300ml skimmed milk 270
2 x tsp flaxseed 80
20 blueberries 55
6 strawberries 24
Palmful of mixed nuts and seeds 110
Yoghurt 80
Green tea 2
Large bowl vegetable soup (R3) 100
50g Turkey breast + 2 slices wholegrain bread 210
Lettuce and tomato sliced 20
Tea with skimmed milk 20
30g popcorn 110
Banana 90
Chamomile tea 2
Herb crusted cod (R4) 230
Cupful spinach leaves steamed with garlic and a drizzle of EVOO 100
7 spears of asparagus 20
Medium baked potato 100
Water and lemon wedge 2
3 x Oatcakes 150
Decaffeinated tea with skimmed milk 20
Total 1855kcal


Day 3 

Over the day drink 1.5- 2L water Calories
100ml cranberry juice + 100ml water 50
3 x shredded wheat + 200ml whole milk 330
1 tsp flaxseed 40
Handful grapes 35
1 banana 90
Yoghurt 80
Fruit tea 2
Wholegrain bagel 180
50g low cheddar cheese, melted on top 208
Large tossed salad + 1 ½ tbsp lo-cal dressing (R2) 70
Tea with skimmed milk 20
Handful unsalted mixed nuts 120
1 raw carrot, cut into sticks 25
Green tea 2
Healthy chicken casserole (R5) 390
Baked jacket potato 95
2 x Yoghurt wholegrain rice cakes 166
Decaffeinated tea with skimmed milk 20
Total 1923kcal


Day 4

Over the day drink 1.5- 2L water Calories
100ml orange juice + 100ml water 50
2 x scrambled eggs 160
2 x slices wholegrain toast 140
1 x sliced tomato 24
Palmful almonds 100
2 x Kiwis 90
100g chicken breast pieces 160
Chopped salad leaves, peppers, tomatoes, sweetcorn 50
Wholegrain pitta bread 180
2 x mandarin oranges 90
Tea with skimmed milk 20
Apple 60
2 x oat cakes 100
Yoghurt 80
100g grilled mackerel 305
100g steamed new potatoes 75
100g steamed petit pois 42
Water and lime wedge 2
3 x squares of dark chocolate 165
Total 1893kcal


Day 5

Over the day drink 1.5- 2L water Calories
100ml cranberry juice + 100ml water 50
3 weetabix + 200ml skimmed milk 285
2 tsp flaxseed 80
Banana 90
Handful mixed nuts 100
Green tea 2
Jacket potato 160
Tin low sugar baked beans 274
Tossed salad + dressing 70
Yoghurt 80
Orange 60
Pizza (R6) 350
Tossed salad + dressing 70
Glass of red wine (250ml) 214
Total 1885kcal


Day 6

Over the day drink 1.5-2L water Calories
100ml apple juice + 100ml water 50
Blueberry pancakes x 2 (R8) 190
Drizzled with 2 tbsp local honey 120
Coffee 2
Apple 95
2 x rice cakes spread with peanut butter (2 x tbsp) 270
Fresh vegetable soup – large bowl 190
2 x wholegrain bread rolls 140
Spread with butter (10g) 70
Green tea 2
Banana 90
Chicken and banana korma (R7) 365
1 cup brown rice 141
Glass low fat milk (200ml) 92
Glass of prosecco 90
Total 1907kcal


Day 7

Over the day drink 1.5- 2L water Calories
100ml cranberry + 100ml water 50
45g Porridge oats + 150ml milk 250
Handful strawberries 25
2 x tsp flaxseeds 80
Coffee and skimmed milk 20
300g watermelon cubes 100
2 slices wholegrain bread 140
2 tbsp low sugar raspberry jam 60
1 mashed avocado 200
3 slices wholegrain toast 210
Pinch of low salt 0
Sliced tomato and basil leaves 25
Yoghurt 80
2 x Mandarins 90
100g roast chicken 190
100g steamed new potatoes, mashed 75
100g broccoli 34
Cupful chicken gravy 80
200ml skimmed milk 70
50g popcorn 188
Total 1944kcal



Recipe 1   Chilli Con Carne                                                                 

  • Serves: 8 adults
  • Prep time:   20 mins
  • Cooking time:   40 mins


  • 454g lean minced beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 150g mushrooms
  • 3 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Serve with a cupful of whole wheat pasta/rice and green salad


  1. Brown the mince over a gentle heat.
  2. Drain any excess fat from the meat, then add the onion and garlic to the mince and cook for two to three minutes.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, carrot, peas and spices. Bring the sauce to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the packet instructions.
  5. Add the chopped pepper and sliced mushrooms and simmer for five minutes.
  6. Add the drained kidney beans and simmer for another five minutes.
  7. Add the pepper to taste and serve with boiled wholegrain rice.
  8. Serves 8, so freeze the extra portions and use another evening.

Nutritional information per portion: 321kcal, 30.9g protein, 19.3g carbohydrate, 11.9g fat, 6.5g fibre


Recipe 2   Tossed Salad                                                                        

In a bowl (3 cupful sized) add a cupful of salad leaves of your choice: any kind of lettuce or spinach. Add at least half a cupful of other vegetables like cucumber, watercress, onion, scallions, peppers, carrot etc.  = 30kcal approx.

+ Dressing

1 tsp EVOO + ⅓ tsp balsamic vinegar (or any vinegar of your choice) + a pinch of low salt + a turn of freshly ground black pepper = 40kcal

This is a common part of your diet so vary the ingredients, so you don’t get bored. It helps fill you up at meals with very low calories but lots of nutrients.


Recipe 3   Vegetable Soup                                                                 

  • Serves: 6 adults
  • Prep time: 20 mins
  • Cooking time: 25 mins


  • 1 ½ tsp EVOO
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 carrots chopped
  • 1 ½ leeks sliced
  • 3 celery sticks sliced
  • 600g passata
  • 1 ½ litre reduced salt vegetable stock
  • 1 ½ tsp tomato puree
  • 75g green beans sliced
  • 75g frozen peas
  • 60g dry wholegrain pasta shapes
  • 2 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1 generous pinch ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, carrots, leek and celery and fry gently for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the passata, stock, tomato puree, beans and frozen peas. Bring to the boil and add the pasta, herbs and pepper.
  3. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked, stirring frequently to make sure the pasta doesn’t stick.

Nutritional information per portion: 100kcals, 4.4g protein, 18.5g carbohydrate of which 9g is sugars, 3.5g dietary, fibre,1.5g fat of which 0.6g saturates, 159mg sodium, 0.4g salt


Recipe 4   Herby Cod                                                                          

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep time: 10 min
  • Cooking time: 15 min


  • 4 x 100g cod fillets
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp (crushed but still crunchy) cornflakes
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Low salt and black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 190˚C
  2. Sprinkle cod with lemon juice
  3. Mix flour, crushed cornflakes, herbs, low salt and pepper
  4. Dust over the cod to form a light coating
  5. Bake in the oven for 10-15 min

Note: For the coating instead of crushed cornflakes, you can use breadcrumbs / cornmeal / ground oats.

Nutrition information per portion: 230 kcal, 11g protein, 22g carbohydrate, 9g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0.5g sodium


Recipe 5   Healthy Chicken Casserole                                            

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time: 15min
  • Cooking Time: 90min


  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, halved and finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 2 celery sticks, thickly sliced
  • 600g pack chicken thigh fillets, without skin
  • 1tbsp plain flour
  • 500g new potatoes, quartered
  • ½ tsp rosemary
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 600ml low salt chicken stock
  • 2tbsp cornflour
  • 410g can butter beans, rinsed and drained


  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C, gas 3. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pan and cook the onion until soft. Add the carrots and celery and stir so they are all coated in oil. Cook for 4-5 mins.
  2. Toss the chicken in the flour, add to the pan and cook until lightly browned. Then add the potatoes, rosemary, thyme and stock. Heat until simmering, cover and cook in the oven for 45 mins.
  3. Mix the cornflour with 4tbsp water to make a paste. Stir into the casserole and then add the beans and cook for another 10 mins.

Nutrition information per portion: 390 kcal, 9g fat, 24g carbohydrate, 4g fibre, 23g protein


Recipe 6   Pizza                                                                                  

Part 1 – Wholemeal Pizza Dough  

Prep Time: 90 min


  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon lukewarm water (around 40˚C)
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • ½ tsp low salt


  1. Stir water, yeast and sugar in a large bowl; let stand until the yeast has dissolved (around 5 min).
  2. Stir in whole-wheat flour, plain flour and salt until the dough begins to come together.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
  4. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn to coat.
  5. Cover with a clean kitchen towel; set aside in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size (around 1 hour).


Part 2 – Topping:

  • Serves: 4             
  • Prep Time: 20min                 
  • Cooking Time: 15 min
  1. Divide pizza dough into 4 balls and roll out as thinly as possible
  2. Preheat the oven to 240˚C


Part 3 – Tomato sauce:


  • ½ small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp EVOO
  • 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 ½ tins plum tomatoes
  • ½ tsp oregano


Stir and cook for around 5 mins on a low heat


Part 4 – Topping:


  • 60g low fat mozzarella cheese
  • 4 tsp parmesan cheese
  • 12 slices portobello mushroom
  • Torn fresh basil leaves


  1. On each pizza base, spread evenly ¼ cup of the tomato sauce.
  2. Add 15g mozzarella, 1 tsp parmesan, 3 slices portobello mushroom, torn fresh basil and drizzle with EVOO
  3. Put on a pan in the oven for 15-20 mins until crust is crisp and cheese is melting

Nutrition Information per pizza: 350kcal, 10g fat, 50g carbohydrate, 4g fibre, 15g protein


Recipe 7   Chicken and Banana Korma                                           

  • Serves: 6 adults
  • Prep time:   20 mins
  • Cooking time:   40 mins


  • 2 tsp EVOO
  • 400g chopped skinless chicken breasts/quorn chicken
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp korma curry paste
  • 400ml low-salt vegetable stock
  • 25g sultanas
  • 25g chopped ready-to-eat apricots
  • 300g easy-cook brown rice
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 4 tbsp low fat natural yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped (to garnish)
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • Serve with ½ cup of brown rice and tossed salad


  1. Heat the EVOO in a large saucepan. Add the chicken (if using raw), quorn chicken pieces (if using), onion, apple and garlic. Cook for 3-4 mins stirring often.
  2. Add the curry pasteand cook for a few seconds, stirring constantly.
  3. Add the stock, sultanas and apricots and chicken (if using leftover roasted). Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 35 minutes. Add a little more stock or water, if necessary.
  4. Cook the brown rice according to instructions.
  5. Just before serving, blend the cornflourwith 2 tbsp cold water and add to the curry, stirring until thickened. Slice in the banana, cooking gently for another 3-4 mins. Add a little pepper if desired.
  6. Serve, topping each portion with 1 tbsp yoghurt accompanied with the rice and salad. Garnish with coriander.

 Nutritional information per portion: 365kcal, 27.5g protein, 52g carbohydrate, of which 14g sugars, 4.7g fat, of which <1g saturates, 4.2g fibre, 240mg sodium, equivalent to 0.5g salt


Recipe 8   Blueberry Pancakes                                                           

  • Serves: 4 (2 per person)                  
  • Prep Time: 10 min                
  • Cooking Time: 20 min


  • 1 cup (120g) whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup (200ml) buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bread soda
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen blueberries


  1. Stir all ingredients until blended, adding the blueberries at the end
  2. On a medium heat preheat a non-stick pan sprayed with EVOO
  3. Pour slightly less than a quarter cup of batter onto pan per pancake
  4. Cook slowly until bubbles break on surface
  5. Turn and cook on other side until lightly browned

 Nutritional information per pancake: 95kcal, 2g protein, 20g carbohydrate, 2g fibre, 3g fat