Planning and preparation is one of the most important steps in managing your diet. Making healthy choices when its time to eat is enhanced when you have the right food available to choose from.
Having good food choices available means you will be less likely to skip a meal or settle for unsuitable, unbalanced or convenience foods.
At home, the first place to lay some healthy food choice foundations is to stock your pantry with a range of non-perishable options. A well-stacked pantry means a range of meals are more accessible and will save you having to rush off to the shops right before mealtimes as there will be more key elements of a meal available to rustle up a meal. This also can assist when looking up recipe ideas to have a bigger bank of ingredients to create a meal.
Investing in some storage solutions to keep food dry and fresh – and then clearly labelling containers and jars – will mean your food will keep for longer. Plus it’ll assist in your storage solutions.
Below is a range of foods to keep in your pantry to provide the key component of carbs and proteins to main meals and snacks and a range of flavour variations to be creative. There are also some handy back-ups for vegetables, snacks, fibre and baking to get creative.
Pantry items for a well-stocked kitchen
Diced tomatoes, chickpeas, corn, beetroot, four bean mix
Rolled oats, wholegrain flaked varieties, bran
Grainy crispbread/crackers, rice/corn cakes
Stir fry and pasta sauces
Soy/ oyster/ teriyaki/ sweet chilli, pasta sauce, tomato paste
Main meal carbohydrate options
Rice varieties, pasta varieties, couscous, hokkien noodles, rice noodles, lentils, split peas, quinoa, soba noodles
Tin tuna / salmon, sardines, jerky, edamame beans, baked beans
Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, spray oil, infused oils
Dried herbs and spices, salt & pepper. Spreads and pastes like chutney, pickles, Indian and Thai curry pastes, balsamic vinegar, jar/tube of minced garlic/ginger
Peanut butter, vegemite, honey
Flour / baking
Plain and self-raising flour / cornflour, wholemeal flours, flours alternatives, coconut
Walnuts, pepitas, almonds, LSA – add to snacks or salads
Long life dairy
Milk powder, long life milk varieties for emergencies/ backup
*These shelf stable options can also provide some suggestions for times you may not have a fridge accessible or even some snack ideas to keep in your desk draws at work.