Part of my mindful eating ethos is to make cooking healthy meals as easy as possible. The more you cook from scratch, the less added sugar, salt and unhealthy fat you will eat. You will also have the flexibility to include both the ingredients you like and those which are beneficial to your health.
Here is my list of pantry favourites which you'll often find used in my my EAT - recipes. These staples will enable you to build meals using simple combinations. I'm putting together more info on HOW to do this, but getting your pantry well-stocked is the first step. All my EAT - recipes are pretty simple, some quicker than others, but I don't use difficult techniques or expensive ingredients.
If you lack space and are not sure which ones are best to buy, I've put an * against the ones I use most often. (You can always email me if you want to know more).
· Tomato puree*
· Pesto (red and green)*
· Thai curry paste
. Harissa paste (or horseradish)
· Coconut milk & cream
· Tinned tomatoes*
· Tinned sweetcorn
· Tinned pulses* – kidney beans, black beans, cannellini beans, chickpeas
· Dried herbs and spices* – especially useful and often found in my recipes are: smoked paprika, basil, oregano, chilli flakes, thyme, cumin, curry powder, mixed herbs, plus all-in-one spice mixes (e.g. Schwartz Thai or Italian seasoning)
. jars of capers and gherkins
Grains and pulses
· Pouches of ready cooked grains* – can’t beat them! Try brands like Merchant Gourmet.
· Dried lentils*
· Brown rice (I prefer short grain)*
· Bulgar wheat
· Jumbo oats*
· Wholewheat pasta*
· Whole barley
Perishable grains (or keep them in the freezer)
· Brown / whole grain / seeded bread*
· Wholegrain wraps*
. Wholemeal plain flour*
· Extra virgin olive oil (for salads)*
· Olive oil (for cooking)*
· Soy sauce
· Worcestershire sauce (not V)*
. Balsamic vinegar*
. Balsamic glaze
. Vegetable stock cubes*
· Tinned fish – sardines and tuna especially*
· Baked beans*
In the freezer
· Frozen berries*
· Frozen vegetables
· Salmon fillets*
· Your EAT recipes leftover portions!
Other cooking (and snack) foods*
· Nuts – Brazil, walnuts, cashews, almonds (whole or flaked) – all nuts should be unsalted
· Seeds – pumpkin, chia, sunflower and linseed
· Oatcakes / whole grain crackers
· Medjool dates
· Soft dried figs
· Organic dried apricots
· Nut butters
If you can have at least some of these foods handy, you can add your vegetables or fruit (and some fresh protein if you choose), to create healthy meals with increasing ease. For example, the simple combination of chopped onion, tinned tomatoes, garlic, a teaspoon of red pesto and dried basil, gently simmered until thickened, will give you a lovely pasta sauce.
Keep a look out for my new course and e-book which will be all about meal planning and creating healthy balanced recipes from simple ingredients - a a building-block kind of thing... They're in development at the moment, but if you want to be notified when they're ready, just drop me an email.