10 Must-Have Healthy Staples for a Delicious Kitchen
Add these healthy staples to your shopping list for quick & easy cooking.
How often do you find yourself looking at beautiful recipes for inspiration, only to realise that you need to do a huge grocery shop just to get all the staple ingredients!
In my journey to everyday healthy eating, I’ve learned to keep my cupboards stocked up with healthy staples. Items that I know I can always use to make a delicious, healthy meal. Often only requiring a few quick fresh items from my local grocery store in order to throw together one of those beautiful recipes.
Add these ingredients to your next shopping list, and you too will find that you have tons of great healthy staples to work with on a busy Tuesday night.
Beans & lentils
Beans & lentils are a great source of plant-based protein and can easily be mixed into salads, soups and stews or replace meat in almost any dish. They are packed with dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This makes them an ideal choice for those looking to control cholesterol levels and manage their weight or diabetes. Stock up on boxes or cans of chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, white beans and lentils. You can also buy these dried which makes them even more affordable, just remember to follow instructions for soaking and cooking ahead of time.
Brown, black & red rice
Unlike white rice which has been stripped of most nutritional value, brown, black and red rice are all delicious whole grains packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre. They are the perfect energy boosting food. Full of complex carbohydrates to ensure that your blood sugar levels stay even, avoiding those unnecessary energy crashes. Stock up the fridge at the beginning of the week with cooked whole grains like rice. This makes it easy to throw together a hearty salad for your lunch box or side to a quick weeknight curry.
Whole wheat and bean pasta
Whole wheat pasta has 60% more fibre than regular pasta. But even my favourite whole wheat pasta has nothing on bean pasta… which serves up twice the protein and four times the amount of fibre of regular pasta! Bean pasta is also gluten free – which can be a huge bonus to some. Cooking up an easy homemade pasta sauce is also a great way to sneak in tons of extra veggies. You can easily turn your quick comforting pasta meal into one packed with nutritional value for your family!
My ultimate breakfast staple that I probably couldn’t get through the week without! Packed with protein, iron, potassium and magnesium, oats are filling, versatile and incredibly nutritious. Not to mention soluble fibre, which helps to control cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Oats are also my go-to because they make a filling breakfast that sets me up with balanced energy throughout the day. Topped with fresh or frozen berries, plain greek yogurt, a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds and a dash of cinnamon is a great way to start the day!
Nuts & seeds
Not only one of the best snacks to reach for, they also make great salad toppings and gluten-free crusts. They can even be turned into creamy sauces, like a vegan cashew sour cream. Mix up a little combination of almonds, pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate pieces for a tasty afternoon snack. Or when you’re looking for a little pre-gym energy boost, try stuffing walnuts into sliced dates. Don’t shy away from nuts and seeds! They ensure you’re consuming healthy unsaturated fat helping to maintain brain function, nourishing your red blood cells and helping to fight excess inflammation. You can also reach for chia seeds, flax seeds and hemp seeds.
Herbs & spices
Yes a dash of sea salt & black pepper are essential for bringing the flavour out of your dish, but don’t forget the incredible flavours and nutritional benefits that come from using dried and fresh herbs & spices. Even small doses can be powerful providers of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Turmeric and ginger, which can be used both dried and fresh, are known for their anti-inflammatory properties which can be beneficial to those suffering from rheumatic pain. Others like cinnamon and cumin are more famous for their rich antioxidants, helping to protect every cell of your body from disease. Stock up on dried thyme, oregano, rosemary, fennel and chilli powder.
Canned tomatoes and tomato paste
Not only essential basics for healthy, quick cooking but both canned tomatoes and tomato paste offer powerful antioxidants and vitamin C. Adding garlic, onion and oregano is all it takes to serve up a flavourful pasta sauce to your family. Or throw together a quick plant-based bean chilli with black and kidney beans. Looking for a budget-friendly brunch idea? Try a surprisingly simple shakshuka with stewed canned tomatoes with baked eggs. Very multi-purpose, while packing a nutritional punch!
Every week I have leafy greens on the shopping list, often switching it up between spinach, kale, beet greens, collard greens, arugula and Swiss chard. They are loaded with nutrients like vitamins, fibre, antioxidants and minerals iron and calcium. Leafy greens help to protect a healthy heart, strengthen bones to protect against osteoporosis and prevent inflammatory diseases. They are definitely a ‘superfood’ to have at home, not only nutrient-packed but also so easy to throw into soups, smoothies, salads, wraps or Buddha bowls.
Plain greek or coconut yogurt
Way more multi-functional than you may have realise! Not only great with breakfast oats, granola or fresh fruit. Yogurt also makes a great alternative to standard cream or sour cream as a topping in a hearty stew, a big bowl of spicy chilli or on your Friday night tacos. I often make a sauce out of yogurt at least once a week, such as a tzatziki, a garlic sauce or a creamy sriracha dressing. They make the most delicious toppings to salads, wraps, sandwiches or even just for veggie dipping. As a fermented food, yogurt is a great addition to your diet to help promote a healthy microbiome. Helping to keep you healthy from the inside out.
Frozen fruit & veggies
On those nights when you haven’t had time to pick up fresh produce, steam some frozen broccoli and cauliflower. Or add some frozen berries to your morning smoothie for an antioxidant boost. Yes, frozen fruit & veggies are a great option! As soon as a fruit or vegetables are harvested, they begin to lose their nutrients. And they just continue to lose more as they travel all the way to your grocery store. Frozen fruit and veggies are frozen shortly after being harvested locking in their nutrients, leaving them full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.