Top 5 Healthy Pantry Essentials – For Around $1

Top 5 Healthy Pantry Essentials – For Around $1

Tinned Tuna
Coming in a variety of flavours and often on sale for less than $1 per can, tinned tuna is a great, quick pantry item. You can throw a can into your lunch box for a healthy work lunch, add different flavours to salads and make it a staple in pasta and other grain dishes. Best of all because of tinned tunas endless self-life you can buy a dozen tins when they’re on sale and always have them ready to go.
However, make sure you take a couple seconds to read the nutrition labels when picking flavours for the first time as some options are healthier than others. It may be worth staying away from additions such as mayonnaise.

To learn about the sustainability of your favourite brand of tuna, you can visit:
http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/en/what-we-do/oceans/Take-action/canned-tuna-guide/

Canned Beans
A 400g can of tinned beans is a great high protein go to pantry item. It lasts a long time in the pantry and is extremely versatile. My personal favourite is mixed bean varieties. You can throw a handful into any salad, pasta dish or use it as a meat substitute. I recommend rinsing canned beans before using them however to remove some of the salt and sugar added to many canned bean varieties in the canning process.

Popcorn Kernels
One of my all-time favourite nightly treats, a 375g bag of popcorn kernels (not the microwave bag type) will cost you around $1 for the supermarket. 1 cup of air popped popcorn only has about 30 calories making it a great go to treat. Be it for that sneaky work snack or for sitting on the couch air popped popcorn is a great alternative to chips, biscuits and all those other treats we find ourselves polishing a bag off without even noticing.

Herbs and Spices
Whether it’s herbs from  your garden or spices from the markets or super market, herbs and spices are not only a great way to bring any dish to life, but to give your body an extra boost of goodness.  Different herbs and spices have different health properties such as inflammatory, digestive and aiding in blood circulation, so they’re really worth exploring.

Not sure how to get started?
Maybe try a new herb or spice each month and see what delicious dishes you can come up with?
Try growing your own herbs. Soft herbs such as parsley, mint or chives don’t need a lot of space and can thrive in a can, and hard herb such as thyme, sage and rosemary are surprisingly hard to kill so they’re worth a go.

Oats
A 750g bag of oats traditional or quick will cost you about $1, but what a dollar. You get a lot of bang for your buck with oats. Oats can be used for so many things from being blended and used as a flavour replacement in desserts to the base of a healthy breakfast of porridge (oatmeal). A bowl of porridge in the morning which will not only help you start your day in a healthy way but keep you full for a long time and make staying away from those surgery cereal alternatives much easier.

But isn’t porridge bland? I’ve heard this so many times but it just doesn’t make any sense to me. Porridge is so versatile; all you need to do is throw in some additions and change them up such as adding some berries, honey, nuts or seeds. My personal favourites are honey with flax and chia seeds; blueberries with flax and chia seeds; or a tablespoon or two of homemade compote (usually boiled down plum – it’s really delicious).

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