Just a week ago it was a bit of a mundane chore – hitting the supermarket to stock up was hardly the most exciting of weekend tasks.

Now, of course, the supermarket sweep has become something of an adrenalin sport, a Mad Max “do or die” dash to the chill cabinet and a frustrating game of hunt the pasta while giving fellow shoppers the death stare if they stray too close while pushing potentially contaminated shopping trolleys with their elbows.

Planning the family meals for the week ahead has come down to writing a shopping list, chucking it in the bin and hitting Tesco dressed head to toe in plastic to grab the last sad cans of green lentils and mushy peas.

In a land of plenty where we expect our shops’ shelves to heave with precisely what we want, is it now at all possible to eat well, healthily and preferably not starve?

And, should we actually feel brave enough to go shopping, what should we snap up to ensure we put decent food on the table?

Dr Gillian Purdon, head of nutrition science and policy at Food Standards Scotland, says: “This is a difficult period for people who may have not have access to their normal choice of foods. However, it is still important to try to make healthier choices, even during this challenging situation.”

She says if the fresh fruit and vegetables have been decimated by rampaging hordes, frozen and tinned versions are just as good and will help us hit the important “five a day” target.

And if our normal favourite foods have been plundered, she reckons now is a good time to try new ones.

“Turkey or pork mince will do a similar job as beef mince in a recipe,” she says. “Smilarly, you can swap beans and vegetables if you can’t get meat. And green lentils and other pulses work just as well as red lentils in soups and sauces.”

She suggests digging out the soup pot to make the most of what vegetables are left – frozen will work too – while eggs are a good alternative source of protein to meat.

Barry Gunn, chef lecturer at Glasgow Clyde College who often works with students who have limited experience of cooking with fresh food, says the trick is to make every ingredient count. Waste nothing, he adds.

He also believes the current crisis could end up making better and less wasteful cooks out of us all.

“I watched my granny make use of everything she had when I was growing up,” he says. “During this isolation we’ll see many families become masters of the leftovers.”

He says even the most basic ingredients – such as baked beans and Pot Noodles – can form the basis of a decent meal, he adds.

“While not everyone has Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver’s larder, most of us have the basics at home to work with.

“A tin of baked beans can become beanburgers, bean lasagne, bean wraps and bean curry.”

For a change from beans – which the entire family may be grateful for – Pot Noodles can form the base for Pad Thai and noodle soup.

And if you buy one thing this weekend, he recommends that it should be a tin of tomatoes: “So versatile and endless possibilities – from soups to sauce, curries to pasta, never leave the supermarket without it.”

For those whose approach to food over the past week has been to crack open a bottle of Echo Falls and polish off the Christmas leftover chocolates on the basis that if we’re going down to coronavirus we may as well enjoy ourselves first, there’s even more bad news.

“In times of stress, people will comfort eat and drink alcohol. That’s a real concern,” says registered nutritionist Suzanne Fletcher of Nutrition Scotland, a social enterprise which delivers nutrition education to schools and community groups.

“When we’re in the house working, there might be a tendency to go for a cup of tea, grab a biscuit. We don’t have workmates watching, so we might have a few more biscuits than normal.

“But we still have to be mindful of how that impacts our health. The bottom line is it’s not healthy to be sitting in the house all day long.

“We should all be checking portion sizes anyway, but even more so now we’re not as active, we’re not cycling or walking to work, and not burning energy as we usually do.”

There’s no eating our way out of this crisis either, she warns. “There is information on social media saying that certain foods are virus-busting foods.

“While certain foods can support the immune system, there aren’t any particular foods that will destroy coronavirus.

“And in some cases, taking extra supplements thinking they can help fight the virus could actually cause health problems.”

Reaching for snacks while devouring a Netflix box set, drowning fears with booze and treating the blues with slab of cake may not be the best move if we’re to emerge from coronavirus without Type 2 diabetes and an expanded waistline.

Registered nutritional therapist Amanda Hamilton warns the current health crisis is a recipe for danger when it comes to expanding waistlines and poor diet.

“There is nothing natural about this situation,” she says. “A lot of people are doing things they might not normally, like drinking a bit more in the house, comfort eating.

“Our regular structure has disappeared, and we have to put in place new habits.

“It’s a good idea to look at putting in place a form of ‘time restrictive feeding’ and have a cut-off point – say 6pm or 7pm – after which we stop eating and drinking.

“That will prevent nibbling on the types of foods that aren’t good for us, it will help us sleep better because the body isn’t digesting complicated food, and improve insulin sensitivity.

“Our immune system will be impacted by what we eat now. And there are other illnesses like Type 2 diabetes to think about,” she adds.

“While we can’t do anything to fight the virus other than what we’re doing now, we can look to our wider health and make sure we make the best choices we can.”

FACTFILE: How to cook up a store cupboard feast

It’s just you, a tin of baked beans – or 500 tins of beans if you’ve been stockpiling – and a rumbling tummy.

Chef Barry Gunn insists you don’t have to go hungry or settle for beans on toast again.

Here’s his guide to easy baked bean meals.

Cowboy beans

· Take some baked beans and add some BBQ sauce or (brown sauce).

· Cut up cooked sausages and smoked bacon and add to the pot.

· Add some leftover black pudding or haggis for extra kick.

Either tuck straight in or serve it with a baked potato.

Bean curry

· Chop some onions and add some garlic or garlic granules

· Fry gently with some mild curry powder, store cupboard spices and any vegetables you have lying around – frozen are fine.

· Add baked beans and bring to the boil. Simmer and season.

· While the rice cooks, make a simple chapati using a cup of plain flour, a quarter cup of water and pinch of salt.

· Put a dry frying pan on the stove to heat while you roll your dough thin and to fit the pan.

· Let it cook until large air pockets appear. Turn and cook on the other side

· If you have a gas hob, use tongs to drop the dough on the gas for five seconds each side.

· Now fold it and serve with your rice and bean curry.

Bean burger

· Drain a 400g tin of baked beans, retaining the sauce.

· Take around 300g of mashed vegetables such as carrot and potato, one garlic clove or sprinkling of garlic granules, a pinch of spice (such as cumin, curry powder, or some chilli flakes), and salt and pepper.

· Use store cupboard breadcrumbs or make your own with stale bread or crumbled crackers.

· Crush the beans, add to mashed veg and season.

· Mould the mixture into balls and press flat into a burger shape. Dip it into a little flour, then into the bean sauce and back into the breadcrumbs. Refrigerate.

· Heat enough sunflower or vegetable oil to submerge the burger and fry until golden and crispy – around ten minutes. Pop in a bun with chips and warm bean sauce on the side.

Bean wrap

· Heat baked beans

· Grate cheese and grab a packet of crisps – any flavour.

· Scoop out the hot beans and place on the wrap, draining some sauce so it doesn’t get too wet.

· Add some cheese and half of the crisps.

· Sprinkle grated cheese directly into a hot pan. As it melts, put the wrap on top. Allow the cheese to go crispy and then flip so the melted cheese is on top. Cook for about two minutes.

· Service with the remainder of the bean sauce and crisps.

Bean lasagne

· Make a basic white sauce using milk and equal quantities of flour and butter.

· Cook the onion, garlic and herbs in a pan until soft. Add chopped tomatoes, bring to a boil. Add baked beans and bring back to the boil. Simmer until reduced and thickened.

· Set the oven to 200°C.

· Put a layer of white sauce, a layer of pasta and a layer of bean sauce into a deep oven dish. Repeat until all sauce is gone.

· Top with cheese, cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes.

· Remove the foil and bake for a further 15 minutes or until you have a crispy crust.

· Rest for about 15 minutes before serving.

Pot Noodle Pad Thai

· Make your Pot Noodle as directed.

· In a pan place oil (sesame if you have it) chillies and crack in an egg. Start frying.

· Remove some of the liquid from the Pot Noodle and set aside. Toss the noodles into the pan, cooking in the egg as you go.

· Splash soy sauce into the pan and toss in some crushed nuts. Drizzle with the left over noodle sauce.

· Alternatively add cooked chicken, vegetables and a stock cube to Super Noodles to make chicken noodle soup.