It’s widely agreed that the biggest pitfall for maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not going to the gym, or joining an exercise group, but rather its what we do in our kitchens! Most health and fitness experts agree that what we eat has more of an impact on our health and wellbeing than what we do, consequently what we do is impacted by what we eat. So clearly eating is a big deal, and is a cornerstone of health.
To ensure you don’t fall into the trap of not knowing what to prepare and grabbing whatever is convenient and easy to reach keep a well stocked kitchen full of healthy ingredients. Always have basic ingredients in your cabinets, pantry, fridge and freezer. This way you can prepare a healthy hassle-free meal in a hurry.
Following some of the pointers below will save you time, money and health.
In your Cabinets and Pantry. Keep dry non-perishables such as:
- Dry beans: black beans, chickpeas, pintos and red beans
- Canned Food: beans, chicken, salmon, tuna and soup which can form the base of your meal ideas.
- Canned vegetables: carrots, corn, green beans, peas, pumpkin and tomatoes. These can be added to soup, rice, pasta and sauces
- Dried fruits: apple sauce, dates, oranges, peaches, pineapple and raisins. You can also have these as an emergency snack when you’re feeling extra peckish.
- Whole-grain pasta: brown rice and other easy whole grains like couscous and quinoa. These are healthy and often easy to prepare
- Whole grain bread or tortillas: use these sparingly. They can also be kept in the freezer.
- Rolled oats: instant oatmeal and whole-grain cereals are great options for a quick breakfast or even a snack.
- Whole-wheat flour: Oat or cornmeal for baking.
- Nuts and seeds: these are great for snacking on during the day or when you eat some quick energy.
- Healthy Cooking Oils: rice oil, coconut oil, olive oils
- Balsamic vinegar and low-sodium soy sauce: good for salad dressings and sauces
- Spaghetti sauces: Jars can last a long time
- Low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth: both for soup and flavouring
- Dried herbs and spices, salt-free seasoning blend, pepper
Fridge and Freezer
- Frozen vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, mixed vegetables, spinach and squash make easy sides and add-ins. You can also find microwavable bags of individual meal servings.
- Frozen fruits: berries, mixed fruit, peaches for porridge, yogurt and smoothies
- Low-fat dairy products: such as milk, yogurt and cheese
- Frozen meats: fish fillets, skinless chicken breasts or lean beef mince
Get into a regular habit of reading ingredient and nutrition labels in food products. Choose the ones that best suit your health requirements. Alternatively you should always aim for products with the lowest amounts of sodium, added sugars, saturated fat and trans fat that you can find in your store. You can also get good advise from your doctor, who can refer you to a dietician or nutritionist.