The 5 Items You Need In Your Pantry

There is no argument, good health begins in the kitchen. The choices we make three times a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner – ultimately influence our wellbeing now, and in the future. Whilst fruits and vegetables are the foundation of a healthy diet, we can also look to shelf-stable, tasty additions to not only jazz up our meals, but amp up their nutrition. Keep these delicious staples on hand and feel their powerful benefits.

Nutritional yeast

  • B vitamins – for energy production, brain function, stress response and hair growth;
  • Chromium – assists blood sugar stabilisation and thus appetite control;
  • 16 different amino acids – the building blocks of protein, important for muscle repair.

Use for: a great cheese-replacement due to its “cheesy” flavour, make salad dressings, soups, nut-cheeses with it, or simply sprinkle it atop a pasta dish.

Sea vegetables

  • Iodine – thyroid and hormonal balance;
  • Omega 3 – assist in balancing the important omega 6:3 ratios, crucial for cardiovascular health, brain function, immunity, youthful skin and mood;
  • Binds to toxins – such as heavy metals and radioactive pollutants present in the environment, leeching them from our system;
  • Antibiotic activity – destroys harmful gut bacteria, cleanses colon and enhances nutrient absorption.

Use for: as a salt replacement due to their naturally salty taste, stir-fries, stews, salads, soups, snack on nori sheets.

Pulses

  • Good source of both complex carbohydrates and plant-based protein;
  • Cardiovascular-protective;
  • Maintains healthy blood glucose and insulin levels;
  • Fibre – the most fibre-rich plant food! This helps with digestive function, colon health, appetite control and weight-loss;
  • Contain phytochemicals such as saponins and tannins – antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic effects;
  • Blood-sugar stabilisation – beans and legumes have been shown to keep your blood sugar levels under control well and truly until your next meal, and even the next day!

Use for: a quick way to bulk and nutrition-up meals such as salads, curries, stir-fries, pasta sauces and dips. 

Tahini

  • Calcium – one of the richest sources of plant-based calcium, 1 tbsp has 64mg;
  • Iron – a decent source of plant-based iron, 1 tbsp has 1.3mg;
  • Healthy fats – contain mostly polyunsaturated fat, assists hormonal balance, satiation, mood and skin health;
  • Contain phytoestrogens and lignans – beneficial for hormonal balance, cancer-prevention and healthy cholesterol levels.

Use for: making salad dressings or sauces creamy, in dips, drizzled atop veggies.

Konjac noodles

  • Quick easy meals – they take 5 mins to make with no equipment required!
  • Gluten-free, light, low-calorie;
  • Associated with reduced blood sugar, insulin levels and cholesterol;
  • Fibre-rich, Prebiotic-containing – assists appetite control and colon health, as they are a resistant starch they act as prebiotics, nourishing healthy gut bacteria.

Use for: a noodle or pasta alternative in Italian or Asian cuisine.

You can find more of Sami's delicious recipes, health and wellness tips on her blog