10 ingredients a nutritionist always keeps in their pantry

By Louise Belle BHSc (Nut Med)

Have you ever wondered what staple foods a nutritionist always keeps in their pantry? In this fast-paced society we live in, life gets in the way and we don’t always have the time (or energy) to prepare fancy gourmet meals every night. It might seem appealing to visit your local takeaway on the way home from work for a quick burger and fries, to avoid the trouble of cooking a meal. Whilst it may seem like the easy road, it will not benefit your health whatsoever. See these staple foods that you should always have in your pantry, to quickly throw together a nutritious meal when you’re short for time.

1. Eggs

Eggs are wonderfully nutritious and are so incredibly diverse in the ways you can cook them. You can whip up an omelette, fry them, scramble them, poach them, cook them in the microwave, boil them or mash them with curry. They are literally so quick and easy to cook, and you can even boil the eggs up in advance and keep them in the fridge. Add a new vegetable or spice into the mix and they can taste so different and delicious. Always keep eggs in your pantry (or fridge if you prefer) for a quick protein and omega 3 hit.

2. Quinoa/brown rice

These wonderful wholegrains are easy to cook, contain protein, fibre and B vitamins and will store in your pantry for long periods of time. Simply boil up some rice or quinoa with some herbs and serve with a side of protein, for a tasty meal that will fill you up. You can cook it up in bulk and freeze into portion sizes, or if you are really time poor you can purchase the microwaveable versions that are already cooked.

3. Protein powder

For a quick breakfast or snack when you’re on the run, protein powder definitely comes in handy! Simply mix with some water and there you have it- a protein hit that will sustain you for hours. You can even portion up single servings into snap lock bags, little containers or straight into a shaker, so you can take them with you anywhere. You can mix it with a superfood powder, greens powder, glutamine powder or some seeds.

4. Legumes

These are commonly overlooked but they are a nutritious and delicious food source, and as an added bonus; they’re very cost effective!! You can make dhal soup, chilli con carne, mixed bean salad, lentil patties or a hummus dip. Whether you prefer to soak them overnight, or to use the canned variety, beans and legumes are a good source of protein, fibre and iron that you can use to whip up a quick meal.

5. Chia seeds

These wonderful little superfood seeds are rich in omega 3 fats, fibre and calcium. For a quick and easy breakfast or snack, soak some chia seeds in water or milk and your favourite berries and you have yourself a nutritious chia pudding that you can take with you anywhere. You can also sprinkle chia seeds onto your salad, soup or stir-fry to give your meal an extra nutrient boost.

6.Tinned tomatoes

If you have a can of tomatoes, you can make yourself a tomato soup, bolognaise or a Mexican dish. They are a really quick and easy way of throwing together a meal, and they are rich in lycopene; a fantastic antioxidant. Ideally, you could buy tomatoes in bulk, chop them and freeze them, but if you don’t have time, tinned tomatoes will do.

7. Onions/garlic

These sulphurous vegetables are incredibly flavoursome! You can literally add garlic or onion to any meal and it will make it taste delicious. You can add it raw to salads or sandwiches, use in an omelette or stir-fry, or in a soup or stew. Not only are they delicious, but they are rich in antioxidants, reduce inflammation in the body and improve your liver function. Winning!

8. Canned fish

A can of fish is one of the easiest ways to throw together a quick and nutritious meal. You can have it with a side salad, with some brown rice crackers, with a side of quinoa or you can make some fish cakes. Fish is a wonderful source of omega 3 fatty acids and protein to feed your muscles and your brain. Keep a few tins of salmon, sardines or tuna in your pantry for a nutritious fix.

9. Frozen vegetables

Many people are put off by the thought of frozen vegetables, but the truth is; when vegetables are frozen they retain most of the nutrients and they are super convenient. If you don’t like conventional frozen vegetables, you can buy your own, cut them up and freeze them into serving size portions. Use them to make a stew, in an omelette or as a delicious side to your favourite protein.

10. Potatoes/sweet potatoes

Don’t be scared off from eating potatoes because they are too high in carbs. When eaten in balance with other vegetables, fats and proteins, potatoes serve as a filling and nutritious food- particularly the sweet variety. You can roast them, boil them, mash them, barbeque them or make a good old jacket potato. Combine them with a few seasonings and a source of protein and you have yourself a healthy meal.

For some delicious and healthy recipes, see Dr Cabot’s books “I Can’t Lose Weight and I Don’t Know Why“, “Healthy Bowel Healthy Body” and “Healing Autoimmune Disease“.

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