It’s springtime, and you know what that means – spring cleaning! But don’t stop at just your wardrobe, take a look at your pantry as well! Time to throw out the biscuits, the Twisties and the box of chocolates from last charismas – before you eat them all! And don’t forget the processed cereals, two-minute noodles and salty, sugary bottled sauces. Replace all of the ‘junk’ with these seven pantry staples:
- Rolled oats
Arguably one of the best ways to start your day, oats offer low GI carbohydrates for long lasting energy, B vitamins to help your body utilize this energy, and both soluble and insoluble fibre for satiety, bowel health and lowering cholesterol. That’s a mouthful of health benefits! They are also cheaper than sugar-laden cereal alternatives.
Another powerhouse carbohydrate food, chickpeas also offer protein and iron. They are extremely versatile – add them to salads and soups, blend them into hommous or falafel patties, or oven roast them with a sprinkle of salt and spice for a healthy savoury snack. If using tinned varieties, rinse and drain well to remove brine.
- Sweet potato
The perfect accompaniment to your protein and veg evening meal. Instead of boiling, roast or steam them to protect vitamins B and C, and make sure you keep the skin on – its packed with fibre and potassium! A little trick – poke and microwave your sweet potatoes for 4 minutes on high before roasting, it will cut your cooking time by 60%
Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, fibre, vitamin E, calcium and potassium to name a few, almonds have been linked with a wide range of health benefits. A small handful of 20 almonds a day has been shown to support weight management, anti-aging, heart health and reducing cancer risk.
- Tinned salmon
Tinned salmon is far richer in omega-3 fatty acids than tinned tuna, and also lower in mercury. It is also an excellent source of protein, and good to have in the pantry when fresh options are not available. Add to frittatas, salads, wraps and sandwiches.
Garlic is known for its strong antibacterial and antioxidant properties, and has been used for a wide range of conditions, including cold and flu prevention and cholesterol reduction. It can be used instead of salt for flavouring meals.
- Herbs and spices
As with garlic, make the most of herbs and spices to flavour your meals without adding too much salt. Many have been linked with health properties; for example, tumeric has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties, especially when used with pepper! Keep a variety in your pantry, so meals will never get boring!
Once your pantry is looking spick and span, turn your attention to the fridge and freezer. Make sure you always have a supply of fruits, vegetables, dairy and lean proteins, fresh or frozen.