Having some staple ingredients in your fridge, freezer and pantry makes building a healthy meal and snack that much easier when working from home. We have complied a list of our favourite foods below that we like to keep in our kitchen to help you. Before we get to that, here is a reminder why each group is important for our health.
Carbohydrates are our bodies preferred source of fuel and consuming these 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, so aiming to choose a wholegrain based carbohydrate should generally be the goal.
Healthy fats are important for heart health, inflammation, help to lower cholesterol and they also help us stay fuller for longer! Try switching to Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) for all your cooking needs or the base of a salad dressing. You could also add a small handful of nuts and seeds on your morning bowl of oats, or to your Greek yoghurt at afternoon snack time.
Colourful foods include our non-starchy fruits and vegetables, these contain all the essential micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are essential for all of the functions in our body. 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 the different nutrient profile. They are also a great source of fibre which help keep us satisfied as well.
Protein sources include animal and plant based foods such as lean meats, beans, legumes, cheese, Greek yoghurt, tofu, soy milk and eggs. Protein is broken down into amino acids in the body which are then used to build and repair our cells which plays a vital role in the growth and repair of our muscles and bones. Protein is also the main nutrient when it comes to managing appetite, so ensuring you have a good hit of protein at all meals and snacks, is essential to eating well at home. After all, it is much easier to eat well when you aren’t hungry. Adequate protein helps manage that!
See below our favourite foods to keep in your pantry!
Carbs/ Whole Grains:
- Mixed cereals: Oats (any variety), porridge sachets, All bran and WeetBix are some lower sugar, low GI choices for sustained energy
- Breads/wraps: multigrain or wholemeal are the best options
- Vita-Weats and Sakata
- Self-raising flour: Wholemeal varieties are higher in fibre and generally lower GI
- Muesli bars: lower GI (those with nuts and oats) are great for snacking
- Brown rice, quinoa
- Wholemeal pasta
- Potato or sweet potato
- Nuts & seeds: chia seeds, flaxseeds, pepitas, almonds, cashews, walnuts
- Extra virgin olive oil – full of monounsaturated fats which are important for heart health
- Avocado – full of monounsaturated fats which are important for heart health
- Tinned fish: tuna and salmon are great sources of omega 3 fatty acids (also a good protein source)
- Fruit: oranges, apples, bananas and kiwi fruit to name a few– great source of fibre, vitamins and minerals
- Vegetables: Mushrooms, carrots, shallots, pumpkin to name a few – great source of fibre, vitamins and minerals
- Tinned fish: tuna and salmon great sources of protein and omega 3 fatty acids
- Beans, legumes and legumes: black beans, cannellini beans, kidney beans, chickpeas are god sources of protein when paired with grains and are also a great source of vitamins, minerals and fibre
Carbs/ Whole Grains:
- Cooked and cooled rice, pasta, sweet potato – are a great source of fibre and are lower GI for sustained energy
- Avocado – Source of omega 3 fatty acids and also a good anti-inflammatory choice
- Fresh or smoked salmon or tuna are great sources of omega 3 fatty acids
- Fruit: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, pears – berries are a good source of antioxidants, other fruits contain vitamins and minerals
- Vegetables: spinach, rocket, lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, capsicum, beans, peas etc – great source of fibre, vitamins and minerals
- Cows milk – great source of protein and calcium
- Greek Yoghurt – chobani and yopro are high protein and contain calcium and probiotics
- Fresh fish, chicken, lean meat – great source of protein and zinc, red meat is also an excellent source of iron
- Cheddar cheese – great source of protein and calcium
- Cottage cheese – great source of protein and calcium
- Ricotta –source of protein and calcium
- Eggs – good source of protein, vitamins and minerals
Carbs/ Whole Grains:
- Bread – freeze bread to keep it fresher for longer
- Cook wholegrain pasta put into containers in portions to defrost ready for quick meals
- Frozen salmon fillets – good source of omega 3 fatty acids
- Bags of frozen berries, ,mango, banana – are just as good as fresh fruit and are a great source of vitamins, minerals, fibre and energy
- Frozen vegetables – are just as good as fresh veg and are a great source of vitamins, minerals, fibre and energy
- Frozen fish fillets – good source of omega 3 fatty acids and protein
- Freeze lean meats and chicken into portions to keep them fresh – great source of protein and zinc, red meat is also a good source of zinc