A well-stocked kitchen is required for preparing a fast, healthy dinner. Many popular nutritionally dense foods, on the other hand, are very perishable and must be consumed within a few days, forcing many home chefs to deplete their food supplies hastily.
Medically reviewed by Dr K on 3rd June 2022.
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- Dried and canned beans and lentils
- Nuts, seeds, and their kinds of butter
- Frozen fruit and vegetables
- Honey and maple syrups
- Apple cider vinegar
- Healthy fats for cooking
- Fermented Foods
- Spices and dried herbs
- Garlic and onions
- Long-lasting fresh fruits and veggies
- Frozen fish, poultry, and meat
- Healthy condiments
- Full fat yoghurt
15 Healthy Ingredients To Be Stored In Your Kitchen Pantry
A well-stocked kitchen is required for preparing a fast, healthy dinner. Many popular nutritionally dense foods, on the other hand, are very perishable and must be consumed within a few days, forcing many home chefs to hastily deplete their food supplies.
Even if you’re out of your usual go-to foods, you can maintain a number of good, long-lasting staples in your pantry, freezer, and fridge and utilise them to produce nutrient-dense meals and snacks.
Here are 15 nutritious essentials that you should have on hand at all times.
Source - Real Simple
Dried and canned beans and lentils
Lentils and beans are two of the healthiest meals you can consume. Furthermore, dried and canned beans and lentils have very extended shelf lives, making them an excellent non-perishable food to have in your kitchen.
In reality, canned beans may be kept in the pantry at room temperature (68°F or 20°C) for 2–5 years, while dry beans can be kept for 10 years or more. Dried beans have a long shelf life because they do not have the moisture required to induce microbial development.
In addition to being shelf-stable, canned and dried beans and lentils are incredibly nutritious, including a variety of elements such as fibre, magnesium, B vitamins, and iron.
Try incorporating black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and kidney beans into chilli, soups, and salads.
Nuts, seeds, and their kinds of butter
Nuts and seeds are protein-rich powerhouses that provide healthy fats, satisfying protein, fibre, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Depending on the kind, nuts and seeds can be stored at room temperature for 1–4 months, making them an excellent pantry component.
Natural nut and seed butter stay longer and are healthier than their commercial equivalents, which generally include additional oils and sugar.
Oatmeal, yoghurt, trail mix, and salads can all benefit from the addition of nuts and seeds. Nut and seed butter are great complements to smoothies, and they can also be mixed into sauces or spread over fruits and vegetables for a fast, filling snack.
Salads, grain bowls, soups, and pilafs are terrific options when you are in a rush because of their adaptability and simplicity.
Grains such as spelt, brown rice, amaranth, bulgur, oats, and quinoa may be stored securely at room temperature for months to years, depending on the kind, making them an excellent option for bulk purchases.
Furthermore, these grains are high in fibre and micronutrients such as B vitamins, manganese, and magnesium, and consuming them may help protect against illnesses such as heart disease and other cancers.
Frozen fruit and vegetables
Many fresh fruits and vegetables, such as berries and greens, have a short shelf life. However, purchasing these items frozen enables you to always have nutrient-dense vegetables on hand.
Frozen fruits and vegetables have vitamin levels equivalent to fresh food, making them a wholesome and practical freezer staple.
Frozen greens can be added to sautés, soups, and smoothies. Frozen berries, like fresh berries, can be utilised to bring out the natural sweetness to oatmeal, smoothies, baked products, and yoghurt parfaits.
Honey and maple syrups
Everyone deserves a little sweetness every now and again. Honey and maple syrup are natural sweeteners with distinct health advantages.
Raw honey, for example, offers antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities as well as strong antioxidants. Maple syrup is high in antioxidants and includes trace levels of magnesium, potassium, and manganese.
Honey and maple syrup may be utilised to enhance the flavour and depth of both sweet and savoury dishes. Just keep in mind that too much sugar of any form might be harmful to your overall health.
Apple cider vinegar
In the kitchen, apple cider vinegar can be used in a variety of ways. It can, for example, be used as an excellent all-purpose cleaner and as a savoury ingredient to dishes such as sauces, salads, and baked goods.
This acidic vinegar is not only versatile but is also quite nutritious. It contains anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and heart-health-promoting qualities, according to research.
Healthy fats for cooking
Depending on the type, some fats, such as coconut oil, ghee, and olive oil, can be properly stored at room temperature for a year or more. As a bonus, you can purchase these pantry essentials in bulk so that you always have a good fat source on hand.
Cooking with these healthy fats boosts the assimilation of fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from meals and adds flavour to dishes.
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles are tasty and multifunctional, and they provide a myriad of health advantages. According to research, they promote digestive health and aid in the reduction of inflammation and blood sugar levels.
Furthermore, since these products are long-lasting, you can store them up without worrying about food waste. Sauerkraut and pickles, for example, can be kept at room temperature for up to 18 months.
These tangy delicacies may be eaten directly from the jar or used as tasty toppings for salads and other meals.
Spices and dried herbs
A well-stocked spice rack is vital for creating tasty meals. Spices and herbs enhance the flavour of foods and might be useful when you’re stuck in a recipe rut.
Moreover, including dried herbs and spices in your diet might benefit your health in a variety of ways.
Turmeric, cayenne pepper, rosemary, cinnamon, ginger, oregano, and cumin all have significant health advantages and may help decrease inflammation and your risk of certain illnesses.
Garlic and onions
Garlic and onions are the backbones of many recipes and are popular among both professional and home chefs because of their adjustability and extended shelf life.
Both have been proven to be beneficial to your health in so many ways and consuming them on a daily basis can help lower your risk of an ailment, including some cancers, mental decline, heart problems, and diabetes.
Long-lasting fresh fruits and veggies
Although many fresh fruits and vegetables degrade rapidly even when refrigerated, there are a number of long-lasting varieties.
Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, apples, beets, cabbage, spaghetti squash, rutabagas, pomegranate, carrots, and citrus fruits are just a few examples of fruits and vegetables that may be kept in the fridge or on the counter for a few weeks or more.
Frozen fish, poultry, and meat
While fresh fish, meat, and poultry are very perishable, frozen versions of these goods may be maintained at the proper temperature for much longer.
Fresh poultry and beef, for example, can be kept frozen (0°F or -17°C) for up to a year, while white fish like cod and haddock can be kept frozen for up to 5 months.
When fresh animal protein sources are limited, having a decent supply of frozen chicken, beef, and fish on hand may help you produce nutritious protein-rich meals.
In a matter of seconds, a dash of spicy sauce or a sprinkle of tahini may transform a meal from mundane to fantastic.
However, it is important to keep your cabinet with healthy condiments and avoid buying excessively processed sugar-laden goods.
Tahini, salsa, coconut aminos, balsamic vinegar, coconut butter, mustard, nutritional yeast, tamari, raw honey, and sriracha are just a few examples of healthy multi-purpose condiments.
Eggs are an adjustable meal that can be eaten any time of the day. They’re high in protein and almost every vitamin and mineral your body needs to survive, which is why they’re known as nature’s multivitamins.
Although eggs are considered perishable, they may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 weeks.
To increase protein content, make a nutrient-dense veggie omelette or add a fried egg to oats, salads, or vegetable meals.
If possible, choose pasture-raised eggs. Eggs from pastured chickens are not only more nutritious than those from caged hens, but the hens that lay them are often treated considerably better as well. They have access to the outside areas and can engage in normal scavenging behaviour.
Full fat yoghurt
Yoghurt may be added to a number of recipes, making it a must-have in every well-stocked kitchen. It can be eaten with berries, mixed into smoothies, slathered over vegetables, or used to add smoothness to sauces and soups.
Although many individuals prefer nonfat or reduced-fat yoghurt, full-fat yoghurt is very healthy and has been linked to a variety of health advantages.
Consuming full-fat yoghurt, for example, may prevent heart problems and the development of belly fat, which is a risk factor for a range of illnesses, including diabetes.
Most yoghurt can be stored in the fridge for up to three weeks and even eaten well beyond the expiry date, as long as it still appears, tastes, and smells fresh.
The Bottom Line
Keeping healthy foods in your fridge, pantry, and freezer can guarantee that you always have the ingredients ready to produce a healthy, home-cooked dinner.
By picking up a handful of the products mentioned above on your next few shopping trips, your kitchen will be packed with healthy essentials before you realise it.