Healthy Food Staples
Keeping a well-stocked kitchen with a variety of healthy food staples is the key to a healthy diet and lifestyle. When you have a kitchen that always has what you need at a moment’s notice, you are less likely to skip that home-cooked meal and head to a restaurant or buy fast food.
There are several food staples that are recommended all homes should have on hand. From grains to bone broth, these food staple suggestions will set your kitchen up to always have the healthy food you need to make both basic and complex dishes.
Healthy Food Staples – Grains
Whole grains like quinoa and rice are great food staples that don’t need refrigeration and can keep in your pantry for several months. As one of the most nourishing and versatile whole grains, quinoa is a good source of fibre, protein and vitamin B6. Quinoa also contains more protein and iron compared to other grains, while rice is the perfect filler grain that is inexpensive and can take on almost any flavour based on the spices you use.
Quinoa and rice can be made when you make your meal for the day or you can make them ahead of time. Just prepare a batch of quinoa or rice at the beginning of the week and store it in your fridge until you need it. These grains are great in soups, breakfast bowls or salads. Alternatively, mix your favourite grain with cooked veggies and diced chicken for a nutrient-dense meal that everyone will enjoy.
Frozen Vegetables and Fruits
We all know the importance of fruits and vegetables. They are chock full of nutrients and vitamins that keep us healthy. But the downside to these foods is their shelf life. Most fruits and veggies go bad within a week and get tossed. That’s why we love keeping frozen vegetables and fruits in our freezer. They contain the same nutrient value and can keep for several months.
When you are cooking, pull out your bag of frozen veggies and toss them into a warm pan drizzled with olive oil. Cook until they are warm throughout. Mix these veggies with rice or quinoa or serve as a side dish. Your frozen fruit can be tossed into a blender and mixed with your favourite milk or some ice for a fruit smoothie. Another option is putting frozen berries into your morning oatmeal for added flavour and vitamins.
Beans are an underrated food that are full of fibre and protein. Shahzadi Devje, dietitian and diabetes expert from Forbes states that beans are high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, “making them an ideal choice for those looking to control their cholesterol levels and manage their weight or diabetes.”
Dried or canned beans are a food staple that can be stored in your pantry for months, and sometimes, even years. According to Healthline, “…canned beans can be stored in the pantry at room temperature (68℉ or 20℃) for 2–5 years, while dried beans can last 10 or more years. Dried beans have such a long shelf life because they lack the moisture needed to promote microbial growth.” Use these beans in salsas, burritos, or as a base of a veggie burger. Another option is to puree the beans for a dip that your friends and family will also enjoy.
Crack An Egg
Eggs are one of the most versatile foods that contain tons of vitamins and minerals. Although eggs are an excellent source of protein, vitamins (A, D, and B12) and other essential nutrients, they have a relatively short shelf life lasting up to a month in the fridge. Many people have heard that eating too many eggs can cause high cholesterol, while this is true if you eat a significant amount of eggs every day, a few eggs a week is considered a safe amount.
There are numerous ways to make eggs, from fried, omelettes, hard-boiled, poached, steamed and scrambled to name just a few. Make your eggs with vegetables mixed in or topped with a small amount of cheese to change it up. However you cook your eggs there are so many options it is unlikely you’ll ever get bored eating one of nature’s gifts.
Healthy Food Staples – Oats
Oats are a versatile food staple that are packed with protein, iron, potassium, and magnesium. Oats also contain soluble fibre which can help manage cholesterol levels and blood sugar. This staple food can remain on the shelf for approximately 12-months making them a great option to always have on hand.
There are so many different ways to use your oats. Oatmeal is a classic breakfast dish that just about anyone will enjoy. Top your oatmeal with fruit or nuts for some added flavour without adding sugar or unhealthy fat. Another option is to bake muffins with oats for a quick breakfast that keeps you full all morning long.
Healthy fats and oils are one food staple that everyone needs to have on hand. You’ll need oils or fats to cook almost any food on your cooking surface. If you don’t already, try switching to olive oil, coconut oil or avocado oil for a healthier diet. These beneficial oils are shelf-stable for up to a year or more and contain healthy fats. Avocado oil has an incredibly high smoke point at 520°F and is a great choice if you are cooking at high temperatures.
Use your oils in everyday cooking and sautéing. Not only are such oils healthy, but they also help brown meats and roast vegetables. While healthy oils are easy to bring into your cooking, be careful not to use too much. They do carry a high-calorie count which can weigh you down.
Leafy Greens & Salads
There is so much you can do with leafy green. They are loaded with nutrients like vitamins, fibre, antioxidants, and minerals such as iron and calcium. What’s more, there are so many different types of leafy greens to choose from like kale, spinach, romaine, arugula and many more. They are best eaten fresh and have a moderate shelf life, so try and consume them within a week of purchasing.
The most obvious way to eat your greens is in a salad, which we know can get boring after a while. Add dried cranberries, chopped fruit, nuts and cheese to a salad to mix up the flavours. Another option is to add your leafy greens to smoothies, soups, or use them as a wrap.
Spices For Life
One of the quintessential food staples is spices. These little containers of cinnamon, nutmeg, oregano, basil and more are the vital ingredients that give food its enticing flavour. You can take a simple dish of rice and vegetables and make it taste like Italian cuisine with some basil and oregano. Or go with an Indian flair and add curry. One of the best parts about spices is that their storage life can be a year or longer.
If you’re looking for an added health bonus, Healthline tells us, “Turmeric, cayenne pepper, rosemary, cinnamon, ginger, oregano and cumin all offer impressive health benefits and may help reduce inflammation and lower your risk of certain diseases.” It seems like there’s almost no reason to not have spices on hand.
What are your staple food items? Tell us by leaving your comment.
Source: Active Beat.