I am a firm believer that making sure your cupboards and fridge are always stocked with nutritious staples means that you will have ingredients on hand to whip up something healthy. Here are my go-to staple foods that I love to fill my kitchen with.
In your fridge, keeping a stock of all of your favourite meats, fish, fruits and vegetables is essential to making sure you have fresh ingredients on hand to cook with. This is the area of your kitchen that is going to have your most nutritious foods in so stock it wisely! Aim to plan your meals and then buy accordingly but here are the things that I buy most weeks as I know I can knock up a meal in an instant from these ingredients.
Any favourite veggies
Lemons & Limes
This area of your kitchen should be your basic dry stores, the ingredients that form the base of your dish that you can always rely on having in the house. Pick things such as your favourite whole wheat grain and buy a big bag of it so that you can always cook some quinoa, spelt etc to serve with any dish. Also include lots of pulses, legumes and other healthy tinned foods as these are great to bulk out any dish. Lastly, pick some healthy snacks such as nuts and granola for when you need a pick-me-up.
Your favourite grain (brown rice, quinoa, bulgar wheat, spelt etc.)
- Tinned black or kidney beans
Your favourite plain nuts
Your freezer is a great place to keep fresh staple ingredients frozen so that you can defrost a chicken breast or a whole meal in a pinch. Similar to your fridge, fill it with lean meats, fish, frozen fruit and frozen veggies. Buying frozen mixed bags of fruit are great to have on hand for things like smoothies and frozen vegetables are great to add in to stews, stir fries, you name it! Another tip is to cook dishes in bulk, then portion up the leftovers in freezer bags, label them and freeze so that you always have meals ready. Healthy fish cakes (look for ones with low salt and no heavy sauces) are a personal favourite, you can cook them from frozen and serve with steamed vegetables for a super easy lunch or dinner. I always keep my loaf of bread in the freezer and just toast it straight from frozen, no need to worry about stale bread!
Bag of cauliflower florets
Bag of broccoli florets
Homemade pasta sauce
Mixed bag of berries
Mixed bag of veggies
Last but not least, no kitchen is complete without some fundamental herbs, spices, sauces and oils that make food in to a meal. These are just the ones that I consider the bare essentials, but the wider your range of seasonings the more adventurous you can get with your flavours! I use rapeseed oil for roasting and frying as it is stable at high temperatures, it is also wonderful for baking. Olive oil is delicious in dressings and for cooking at lower temperatures.
Dried mixed herbs