If you’re stuck in a one-bedroom apartment during the quarantine, chances are you’re feeling a bit lonely right now. But right now, this is the best opportunity to try new things. Pull out that slow cooker you bought and never used, the blender your mum gave you after graduation and those ridiculous cookie cutters shaped like dinosaurs – it’s time to learn to cook.

Here we answer your doubts and offer some positive advice.

  1. “It’s only me in the apartment, why would I cook for myself?”

Nutritionally, you need it. Depression can take a lot of forms – including not eating. Cooking for yourself is not only a way to pass the time, but also a way to keep you from starving. Plus, keeping your mind active is one of the best ways to keep those lonely thoughts at bay. You’ll be active while you’re cooking, and proud of the outcome – it’s a double win!

  1. “I already cook – how is this going to help me now?”

You could be the best chef in the world – there’s always more to learn. Try learning new recipes from other chefs online, message your friends for their favourite recipes and send them photos of the outcome – it could become your ‘cooking quarantine competition’ in your favourite group chat. Challenge yourself to the most difficult recipes you’ve always wanted to try!

  1. “I love to cook, but only for other people. Isn’t this going to make me feel more lonely?”

Yotam Ottolenghi, one of the most famous and current chefs right now, says “dinner parties are still highly popular and I believe they always will be.” Take your cooking to the next level and have virtual dinner parties with your friends over Zoom or Skype. You won’t feel so isolated, you can check in on your quarantined buddies, and it’s basically a good night out without having to do so many dishes the next morning.

  1. “I only have a tiny kitchen in my apartment, how am I going to be able to cook?”

Remember that slow cooker you bought on sale? Almost all of your favourite dishes can be made in that weird, double-handled pot you hide under the sink. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to chocolatey, gooey desserts – just have a hunt on Instagram or Pinterest for a quick recipe. For a real, hearty dinner that’ll take ten minutes to prepare and keep you going through re-runs of Veep, try winter stews, curries or risottos in your wondrous slow cooker – your new kitchen BFF.

  1. “How am I going to avoid temptation if it’s just me, my kitchen and Netflix?”

In times of high-stress, most people will automatically head to the closest sugary snack, family bag of Doritos or pile into the pints of Tip-Top stashed away at the bottom of the freezer. But if you’re under strict instruction to avoid the above temptations, how are you going to do it? Firstly, keep your home stocked with fruit, veg and tins of beans. It’s incredible the variety of meals you can make so cheaply, quickly and nutritionally beneficial for yourself with only a few ingredients. Look online for cheap, five-minute meals with tinned beans, tomatoes and courgette – maybe the next night make something up yourself!

Remember: although we are promoting food and nutrition in this article, Health Central is still asking readers to follow Government protocol around supermarkets, sanitising and distancing when grocery shopping.

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