10 Healthy Pantry Staples You Should Always Have on Hand
A fully-equipped kitchen is crucial to quickly prepare a healthy meal. But because many common healthy foods are highly perishable and must be consumed within a few days, many home cooks quickly deplete their supplies of food.
Even so, you may use a variety of wholesome, long-lasting staples from your fridge, freezer, and pantry to prepare nutrient-rich meals and snacks even if you run out of your usual go-to items.
Healthy Pantry Staples List
The secret to a successful cooking endeavour is keeping healthy pantry essentials on hand. No matter what you’re whipping up in the kitchen, whether it’s a quick snack or an extravagant meal, these ingredients will come in handy. You can even try your hand at new recipes without having to make a trip to the grocery store.
Although buying all of these at once might seem like a significant investment, once you’ve stocked your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry with the essentials, you’ll undoubtedly value the convenience and cost savings from the delicious home-cooked meals. These are the go-to products to improve your health and well-being almost instantly:
Dried and Canned Beans and Lentils
Beans and lentils are by far the healthiest foods you can consume these days. The extremely extended shelf life of dry and canned beans and lentils makes them a top non-perishable food option to have in your home.
Dry beans can be kept in the pantry for 10 years or longer whereas canned beans can be kept for 2 to 5 years at room temperature (68°F or 20°C). Due to their absence of moisture, dried beans have a far longer shelf life than fresh beans. Amazing, right?
These healthy pantry essentials in both cans and dried form are not only shelf stable but also very nutrient-dense, providing a wealth of nutrients like fibre, magnesium, B vitamins, and iron. Try incorporating kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and chickpeas into salads, soups, and chilli.
Nuts, Seeds and Butters
Nuts and seeds are nutritional powerhouses that offer a variety of vitamins and minerals, satisfying protein, fibre, and healthy fats. Depending on the type, nuts and seeds can be stored in your pantry for a period ranging from one to four months at room temperature.
Natural nut and seed butter outlast their commercial equivalents, which frequently have additional oils and sugar, and are a healthier choice. Oatmeal, yoghurt, trail mix, and salads, on the other hand, are just a few recipes that benefit from the addition of nuts and seeds. Smoothies benefit greatly from the inclusion of nut and seed butter, which can also be used in sauces and as a quick, filling snack when spread on fruits or vegetables.
Due to their adaptability and practicality, grain-based foods like salads, grain bowls, soups, and pilafs are excellent choices when you’re in a hurry. Bulk purchases of grains like spelt, brown rice, amaranth, bulgur, oats, and quinoa are wise decisions because they can be stored securely at room temperature for months to years, depending on the variety.
Additionally, these grains are great providers of fibre and micronutrients like B vitamins, manganese, and magnesium. Eating these grains may also help prevent diseases like heart disease and some types of cancer.
Frozen Fruits and Veggies
Berries and greens are only two of the many examples of perishable fresh fruits and vegetables. But by purchasing these foods frozen, you can always have a supply of produce that is high in nutrients.
Frozen fruits and vegetables are a nutritious and useful freezer staple since they have micronutrient contents that are comparable to those of fresh produce in terms of nutrition.
Try to include frozen greens in soups, smoothies, and sautés. Similar to fresh berries, frozen berries can be added to oatmeal, smoothies, baked goods, and yoghurt parfaits to provide natural sweetness.
Honey and Maple Syrups
Now and then, we all require a little sweetness. Natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup each have their special health advantages.
For instance, raw honey possesses potent antioxidants, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects. Additionally high in antioxidants, maple syrup also has trace quantities of magnesium, potassium, and manganese.
Both sweet and savoury recipes can benefit from the flavour and depth that honey and maple syrups can bring. Just keep in mind that too much sugar from any source can be detrimental to your general health, so use these sweeteners in moderation.
For those wondering how do I set up a healthy pantry, fermented foods are a nice place to start! Delicious and adaptable, foods like sauerkraut, kimchee, and pickles have several health advantages. According to research, they can aid with blood sugar control and inflammation reduction while also enhancing digestive health.
Additionally, because of how long they last, you may store them up without worrying about food waste. For up to 18 months, sauerkraut and pickles, for instance, can be kept at room temperature. These tart delicacies can be eaten straight from the jar or used as tasty garnishes for salads and other dishes.
Spices and Dried Herbs
A well-stocked spice rack is vital for producing meals with taste. Spices and herbs enhance food flavour and can be useful when you’re stuck on a recipe.
Adding dried herbs and spices to your diet can also benefit your health in several ways. The health advantages of turmeric, cayenne pepper, rosemary, cinnamon, ginger, oregano, and cumin are outstanding, and they may all help to lessen inflammation and lower your chance of contracting certain diseases.
Frozen Fish Poultry and Meat
Fresh fish, pork, and poultry are highly perishable, but if stored properly, frozen versions of these foods will remain edible for a considerably longer period.
For instance, when kept frozen (0°F or -17°C), fresh poultry and meat will remain safe for up to one year, while fish like cod and haddock can be maintained in the freezer for up to five months.
When fresh animal protein sources are scarce, having a substantial stock of frozen poultry, beef, and fish can help you produce wholesome protein-rich meals.
Eggs are those versatile pantry staples that can be enjoyed at any time of the day! They are frequently referred to as nature’s multivitamins since they contain a ton of protein and nearly all the vitamins and minerals your body requires to thrive. Despite being regarded as perishable, eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five weeks.
To increase the protein level of oats, salads, or vegetable meals, try preparing nutrient-dense vegetarian omelettes or adding a fried egg. If you can, buy pasture-raised eggs. In addition to being more nutritious than eggs from caged chickens, eggs from pastured hens are also often laid by considerably better-treated hens. They can engage in typical foraging behaviour and have room to explore outside.
Full Fat Yoghurt
Yoghurt is an essential component of any well-stocked refrigerator because of the many culinary applications it has. It can be eaten with berries, mixed into smoothies, drizzled over vegetable meals, or used to give soups and sauces a creamy texture. While non-fat and reduced-fat yoghurt is frequently chosen, the full-fat version is also very nutrient-dense and has been linked to many health benefits.
For instance, consuming full-fat yoghurt may shield against diabetes and the development of belly fat, both of which are risk factors for heart disease. As long as it still appears, tastes, and functions as intended, most variations can be kept for up to three weeks in the refrigerator and even used well after its expiration date.