Assessing your pantry is one of the first steps to making a healthy and nourishing diet easier. Filling your house with healthy ingredients you actually want to eat, putting healthy food at eye-level and potentially removing or changing the location of ‘sometimes’ foods is key to setting up for success!
Here we share just 8 of our favourite pantry staples that make throwing together a nourishing meal simple, and make reaching your goals that little bit simpler.
- Grainy sourdough bread:
A quality loaf of bread can have an endless number of uses; a slice dolloped with peanut butter before an early morning run, a satisfying egg on toast for breakfast, a quick and easy chicken and salad sandwich for lunch or a crunchy side for a nourishing vegetable soup. A grainy sourdough loaf contains long-lasting energy to fuel a hard workout or a day concentrating in the office, provides nutrients including iron, zinc, magnesium, antioxidants, folic acid and B vitamins, and feeds our good gut bugs!
- Garlic & onion
This delicious duo is a staple for adding nourishing flavour to various meals without any of the extra’s found in pre-packaged sauces/flavourings. Garlic and onion sautéed with olive oil is a staple start to many a dish. They may exert various effects on the immune system, and on our risk of chronic disease. Additionally, they each have prebiotic function, meaning like sourdough, they provide food for various gut bugs that in turn keep us healthy!
- Microwave brown/mixed rice:
Quite possibly the best invention yet, pre-packed microwaved brown rice just tastes so much better than home-cooked (not to discourage you from cooking it at home if you have time!). Rich in Vitamin B and minerals – microwaveable brown rice packs are the absolute easiest way to add a gut-loving, satiating, energy-boost to any salad, curry, casserole or stir-fry.
Nuts are excellent sources of monounsaturated healthy fats, protein and fibre, as well as various essential nutrients and antioxidants. Because they are so filling, they may also help you to maintain a healthy weight! A small 30g handful makes the perfect snack. If that’s not exciting enough for you – add to a salad or stir-fry for crunch, sprinkle on cereal, make bliss balls, add nut butter to porridge, or toast nuts and seeds with honey and/or spices. No one type of nut is best – go for a variety for the biggest benefit.
- Rolled oats
Rolled oats truly are a superfood in our books. Full of a satiating soluble fibre called beta-glucan, they make a fantastic budget friendly and filling breakfast, and may lower cholesterol levels and keep your blood sugar levels stable. Try for warm oats in the winter, and overnight oats or muesli in the summer – the flavour combinations are endless! Rolled oats also make the perfect addition to smoothies and your baking cupboard, combining perfectly with banana bread, bliss balls, crumbles and biccies.
- Tinned – everything.
Tinned fish, diced tomatoes, legumes and vegetables (including corn and beetroot). Like frozen food, tinned products are an excellent (and cost-effective) way to ensure healthy food is always on hand. In particular – tinned legumes and fish are great sources of protein when you don’t have a fresh source and diced tomatoes are the perfect addition to pasta, a casserole or a lasange. Go for salt-reduced varieties where possible.
- Extra-virgin olive oil
Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) contains a high proportion of fatty acids, antioxidants and phenolic compounds (these have disease-fighting properties in our body). EVOO is associated with a healthy weight and reduced disease risk, and even helps you absorb certain nutrients! Contrary to popular belief the antioxidants keep the oil stable during cooking. The biggest benefit of all is – vegetables taste better drizzled with olive oil so you will want to eat more of them!
- Herbs, spices, sauce & stock
This one’s a little broader, and everyone has their own preference. Ensuring you have flavour-giving items is key to making eating enjoyable. Some our favourites include harissa, paprika, cumin, garam masala or a simple curry powder. Buying a fresh bunch of herbs, such as basil, parsley and/or coriander can give a week of fresh flavour to multiple dishes. A little soy, oyster sauce, sesame oil and honey makes the perfect stir-fry sauce. Get creative!