An important element of not only sticking to a budget but creating healthier habits for your family equates to being more organised in the kitchen. Having a well-stocked pantry and fridge allows you to adapt to many recipes on a whim, while family life is juggled.
Creating nourishing recipes that are based on a number of the same foundational ingredients, is not only going to help makes things simpler but also help the hip pocket. A handy tip I use each week before I go grocery shopping is to jot down my grocery list staples. I run through some base ingredients which I know will be useful. Make sure they’re topped up while having a loose idea of meals I would like to create. Research shows that we are more likely to be tempted to order takeaway if met with obstacles so, for this reason, it makes sense to be as organised as you can.
To help reduce the cost of meals it always helps to buy in season or look to your local weekly specials. Cuts of meat that require slow cooking and mince (think rissoles, Bolognese, tacos, burgers, pies, lasagne) are generally cheaper and can go even further when matched with canned or pre-soaked red and brown lentils or beans. Buy in bulk and freezing portions of meat, bread, berries, vegetables and baked goods save time too.
These are by no means my list of most nutritious pantry items, rather, simple items that are healthy and versatile that I add to my grocery list on a regular basis.
My Top Healthy Pantry Items
- Plain Yoghurt
Used in smoothies, casseroles, baking, or just on its own, packed with protein, probiotics and B12. I love Cocobella dairy-free yoghurt.
- Chia seeds
Chia seeds have an outstanding amount of fibre (leaving us feeling fuller), omega-3s, protein and calcium. Jazz up any smoothie, salad, energy ball, or breakfast soak. The seeds are tasteless so easy to include in your recipes.
- Natural Muesli / Oats
Oats can help lower cholesterol reabsorption and contain fibre and protein with the added benefits of antioxidants. Throw it in your smoothie, bake healthy biscuits or grind it into flour
- Baby Spinach
More tender than its more mature spinach – it is super versatile. Thrown into salads, on sandwiches, used in a bolognese sauce or with eggs and mushrooms, spinach is vitamin and mineral-rich.
- Microwavable Rice Sachets
For when you don’t have time to cook rice from scratch, or want to shower the kids, help with homework etc – all you need is 1.30 min and rice is cooked and ready to serve. Rice is a great source of carbohydrates and key nutrients.
- Free Range Eggs
- Nuts and Nut butter
As a snack, ground into flour or made into milk, almonds are a popular choice for my household. Full of healthy fats, they nourish the nervous system and lower blood sugar levels after meals. Of course, steer clear of any allergies present.
- Tinned Tuna
For those times that you don’t have time, tuna is great! Tuna patties are my all-time fave anytime meal, or pop on a salad, sandwich rice cakes or sushi!
Always a winner with young children and a no-brainer when you just want an easy meal. Spaghetti bakes all around! Gluten-free options should also be considered for those with intolerances
For healthy after-school snacks – have both plain and self-raising on hand, I lean on gluten-free. From muffins to slices and savoury treats, flour is the rock in your kitchen
+ Cocao powder
+ Coconut oil
+ Olive oil
+ Dried fruit and seeds
+ Wraps and wholemeal bread
+ Cans of lentils and beans
+ Organic butter
+ Milk – rice/oat milk/lactose-free milk for intolerances
+ Frozen bananas and blueberries for smoothies
+ Rice malt syrup and honey
+ Low Sugar Granolas
+ Green Superfood Powder, Acai Blend Powder for Smoothies
Of course, seasonal veggies and fruits make up the bulk of my grocery list each week with the addition of protein such as chicken, red meat, fish and vegetarian options.