We believe that health can actually taste great. And the start of your new health journey should always begin in the kitchen at the pantry - incorporating whole foods and ingredients is key to a better you! Here are some tips on refreshing your pantry, fridge and freezer and creating healthy, balanced meals.
The first step is to assess the state of what you have available to you – from the fridge, to the pantry. It's important to look at what needs to be added, taken away or as we like to think of it, what you can 'swap in' to create a healthier kitchen. It's tempting to go out and buy the latest 'superfoods' or on trend ingredients, but we believe it's better to keep it simple and start with the basics that you can build up gradually. For their top produce tips and nutritional advice, we asked our Resident Wholefoods Cook Dani Venn and our Resident Nutritionist Steph Lowe.
Let's start with the fridge
Look to swap out heavily processed, low fat, high sugar produce for good quality, organic, fresh, good fat-based produce options:
- Organic Dairy: our favourites are grass-fed butter, full fat natural yogurt, organic cheese - stick to full fat options (they keep you fuller for longer and contain less sugar)
- Dairy Alternatives: try non-dairy milks like almond or coconut, coconut yogurt or cashew cheese - preferably unsweetened and without colours or thickeners (watch out for anything with a whole list of numbers listed on the label)
- Staple Vegetables: load up on greens (spinach, kale and rocket are some of our favourites), herbs like coriander, parsley or mint and some great versatile vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli (that work brilliantly as rice alternatives) and zucchini (a perfect pasta alternative)
- Good Quality Protein: stock up the fridge with some high-quality animal protein (go for pasture-raised, grass fed or sustainably caught wherever possible), free-range eggs and non-animal protein like lentils, tofu/tempeh and chickpeas
- Vinegars/ Fermented Foods: we love apple cider vinegar (make sure it contains the mother), Sauerkraut or Kim chi, probiotic drinks like kombucha and water kefir – all great for digestion and good gut health
Time to refresh the pantry
Let's look at the everyday pantry staples and swap them for the healthiest, organic (where possible) options available:
- Kitchen oils: trusty pantry staples include good quality olive oil, ghee, coconut oil (liquid or solid), flaxseed oil (a great way to boost your daily omega levels – but this one must be stored in the fridge) and sesame oil (there are so many healthy kitchen oils to choose from for all types of cooking – so once you get your staples stocked, have some fun trying other interesting oils). With any oil, you're best to choose expeller or cold-press oils and avoid the refined or chemically processed oils
- Carbohydrates: stock up on healthy complex carbohydrates like sweet potato, beetroot and wholegrains such as quinoa (added bonus this is a good source of protein and omega 3 essential fatty acids), brown, black or wild rice (swap these out for your traditional white rice and pasta)
- Flours: look to adding nut flours/meal such as almond meal or ground nuts like hazelnut or pistachio, flaxseed meal, coconut flour, buckwheat flour or wholemeal spelt flour - find natural alternatives to white flour (especially if you regularly use in your cooking and baking)
- Canned goods: our go-tos include canned legumes, lentils, beans, chickpeas, canned salmon, tuna or sardines (look for fish brined in spring water or 100% olive oil and sustainably / line caught), canned coconut milk and cream (choose ones with nothing else added to it) and tomatoes - canning actually preserves most of the nutrients (despite canned goods bad rap) and so they can serve as nutritious, quick and cost-effective additions to your cooking (just try to choose BPA-free)
- Nut and seeds: perfect for a healthy snack or to add to your cooking, nuts and seeds will provide sustained energy and a source of healthy fats - top choices are almonds, walnuts, pistachios, brazil nuts and seeds such as chia, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame seeds. We also love 100% natural nut spreads - perfect additions to smoothies and cooking, as well as a guilt-free snack
- Seasonings and condiments: bring extra taste to your cooking with sea salt flakes, river or Himalayan salt, tahini (unhulled or hulled), coconut aminos or tamari, mayo (make sure it's good quality with no added nasties), and Worcestershire sauce
- Spices: our favourites are cumin, fennel seeds, cinnamon, smoked paprika and of course you can't go past your traditional rosemary, thyme and oregano - perfect for boosting flavour without adding sodium, sugar or preservatives
- Sweeteners: great choices are rice syrup, molasses, unrefined coconut sugar, raw honey, pure maple syrup and medjool dates – look to cut down and swap out refined white sugar for natural or lower fructose alternatives (but do remember, sugar is still sugar no matter where you source it from, so use it sparingly!)
Frozen products are a great way of preserving wholefoods, so make use of your freezer to stock up on things that may spoil quickly in the fridge and that you can keep handy all year round to throw into your cooking (perfect for smoothies).
- Frozen fruit and vegetables: our picks are organic frozen berries or a chopped up banana and frozen greens, such as beans, peas, spinach and edamame