Having staple ingredients in your kitchen makes building a healthy meal or snack that much easier. We have compiled a list of our favourite staple ingredients you can use to stock a healthier kitchen to help you get started.
Why you need to shop for every food group to stock a healthier kitchen
Carbs are our bodies’ preferred source of fuel, and eating them with each meal will ensure you have enough energy to get through the day. Wholegrain varieties are also a good source of fibre, which is essential for gut health. Choosing wholegrain carbohydrates to stock a healthier kitchen should generally be your goal.
They’re important for heart health, reducing inflammation, helping to lower cholesterol, and they help us stay fuller for longer! Start by trying to switch to extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) for all your cooking needs or the base for dressings. You could also add a small handful of nuts and seeds to your morning bowl of oats, or to your Greek yoghurt at snack time.
These include non-starchy fruits and vegetables. They contain all the essential micronutrients, like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are essential for all of the functions in our bodies. Including a variety of colours in your diet ensures you are getting all of the different nutrients these provide, as each colour is a reflection of their different nutrient profiles. They are also a great source of fibre, which helps keep us satisfied as well.
Include animal and/or plant-based sources such as lean meats, beans, legumes, cheese, Greek yoghurt, tofu, soy milk and egg. Protein is broken down into amino acids in the body. Amino acids are used to build and repair our cells and play a vital role in the growth and repair of muscles and bones. Protein is also a key nutrient when it comes to managing appetite. Ensuring you have a good hit of protein with every meal and snack is essential to eating well. After all, it is much easier to eat well when you aren’t hungry, and adequate protein helps manage that! When you stock a healthier kitchen, it’s important to have these on hand.
In your pantry
- Mixed cereals – rolled oats, mixed grain porridge sachets, bran, multigrain weetbix as low-sugar and low-GI choices for sustained energy.
- Bread and wraps – Wholegrain varieties are higher in fibre and lower-GI
- Crackers – vitaweets, ryvitas and other wholegrain seeded varieties
- Self-raising flour – wholemeal varieties are higher in fibre and lower-GI
- Muesli bars – choose lower-GI (with nuts and oats) for snacking
- Brown rice
- Wholemeal/pulse pasta
- Potato and sweet potato
- Nuts & seeds – Chia seeds, flaxseeds, pepitas, almonds, cashews and walnuts
- Extra-virgin olive oil (it’s full of monounsaturated fats, which are important for heart health)
- Avocados (it’s full of monounsaturated fats, which are important for heart health)
- Tinned fish – Tuna and salmon (sources of omega-3 fatty acids and protein)
- Fruit – Oranges, apples, bananas and kiwis to name a few. They are great sources of fibre, vitamins and minerals. Opt for what’s in season!
- Vegetables – Mushrooms, carrots, shallots and pumpkin to name a few. They are great sources of fibre, vitamins and minerals. Again, opt for what’s in season.
- Tinned fish – Tuna and salmon are sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids
- Legumes – Black beans, cannellini beans, lentils, kidney beans and chickpeas. They’re good sources of protein when paired with grains, as well as vitamins, minerals and fibre.
For your fridge
- Cooked and cooled rice, pasta and sweet potatoes are a great source of fibre and are lower-GI for sustained energy.
- Avocado is a source of omega-3 fatty acids and a good anti-inflammatory choice.
- Fresh/smoked fish – Salmon and tuna are sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Fruit – Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches and pears. Berries are a good source of antioxidants and other fruits contain vitamins and minerals.
- Vegetables – Spinach, rocket, lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, capsicum, beans and peas to name a few. They are great sources of fibre, vitamins and minerals.
- Cow’s milk is a great source of protein and calcium.
- Greek yoghurt – Chobani and YoPro are high in protein and contain calcium and probiotics.
- Fresh meat – Fish, chicken and lean meat cuts are a great source of protein and zinc. Red meat is also an excellent source of iron.
- Cheddar cheese is a good source of protein and calcium.
- Cottage cheese is a great source of protein and calcium.
- Ricotta is a good source of protein and calcium.
- Eggs are a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals.
In your freezer
- Bread can be frozen to keep fresher for longer.
- Wholegrain pasta portioned and frozen are great to defrost for quick meals.
- Frozen salmon filets are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Fruit – Frozen berries, mango and bananas are just as good as fresh and are a great source of vitamins, minerals, fibre and energy.
- Frozen veggies are just as good as fresh and are a great source of vitamins, minerals, fibre and energy.
- Frozen fish fillets are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein.
- Frozen chicken and leans meats that are portioned can stay fresh in the freezer, and are great sources of protein and zinc.
So there you have it! Slowly build up your stock of these ingredients to keep things budget-friendly, and then replace them as you finish. If you’d like to learn more about what healthy ingredients can do for you, follow us on Instagram. Want to read more? Learn how to stay fuller for longer with our volume eating guide.