The secret to healthy eating? Stocking up on the right ingredients so you can whip up a quick, tasty meal at any time. It’s that simple. It all begins with grocery shopping and filling up your pantry with herbs, spices, whole-grain foods, fresh vegetables, nuts and lots more. Want to know how to build a healthy kitchen? Read all about it below.
Create a healthy base
It all starts with creating a healthy base for your meal that you can draw upon. Stock up your pantry with whole wheat pasta, lentils, rice (for example brown or wild), quinoa, bulgur wheat, millet, sorghum, and buckwheat in Kilner jars. This way, you always have a starting point for your meal when you need to whip something up quickly.
Buy in bulk
Stock up on cans and tins: chickpeas, tomatoes, beans and pulses all come in cans or glass jars and are ideal to buy in bulk since the expiration date is mostly a year or two after buying (but always check to be sure!). Another great addition to your kitchen pantry is lots of herbs and spices, like Ayurvedic turmeric, cumin, ginger and cardamom.
Nuts are a great addition to your everyday meal, as they are high in healthy fats and a great source of fibre and protein. This makes them ideal as a snack or to top of a bowl of bulgur with fresh jars of lentils, rice and other bases. your jars with lentils, rice and other bases you have stocked upon. Other high-fat foods are avocados, extra virgin olive oil (a must-have in your kitchen!), fatty fish (that you stock up on in tins), whole eggs and chia seeds.
Make the most of your freezer
Frozen veggies and fruits are rich in nutrients and are handy to save in your freezer as they can be used for smoothies, snacks and homemade acai bowls. Think of frozen mango, all types of berries and pineapple. Veggies that are great frozen are, for instance, peas, carrots, cauliflower and green beans as you can throw them into recipes like chilli, stews and soups for added nutrients and flavour.
Olive oil is an essential ingredient in every kitchen. Great (if not essential) to add to a bowl of quinoa and veggies, wholewheat pasta, or to dip your bread in with some salt. Even better is herb-infused olive oil – and super easy to make. Just add some herbs to an ice cube tray, add some olive oil and garlic et voila; ready to go in the freezer. Take a cube out of the freezer when you are ready to cook – the flavour combinations are endless.
Stock, broths & foodie tricks
Soup stocks and broths are pantry essentials, as they are very easy to make and preserve at home. Basic ingredients for any kind of stock are celery, onion and carrot – you can also add aromatics such as thyme, cloves and black peppercorns. There are many vegetable and herb scraps that you may have been tossing out that make an excellent base for your soup, like celery leaves, carrot leaves and ends, parsley stems, the green part of leeks, and onion ends and skins, tomato ends and thyme and oregano stems.
Buy seasonal produce
There are lots of advantages when buying seasonally. The food tastes better when it’s grown in its natural season, the food is cheaper to buy and last but not least: seasonal food is better for the environment. Growing and transporting food so that it is always available uses a lot of energy that creates CO2, and this greenhouse gas is harmful to the environment.
So, now your healthy kitchen is all set. What comes next is the best part: let’s get cooking! It’s all about trial and error (and lots of taste tests, of course) and looking online for recipe inspiration.