Sometimes we have great intentions to be healthy – but life gets in the way and we struggle to eat healthily and instead rely on a quick convenience meal or takeaways. The way to avoid these situations is to make sure that your kitchen is stocked up with healthy and delicious ingredients that can be made into a healthy dish quickly.
We totally understand that life is busy and we are often juggling work, sport, children and leisure time and so spending hours in the kitchen can sometimes come far down on that list.
For days like this we have several quick meals at our disposal that can be rustled up from the contents of our kitchen. The key to this is to make sure your kitchen cupboards are well stocked with healthy ingredients. We also spend time once a week making a few “essentials” that can turn a meal from boring into delicious. We have given you recipes overleaf for several of our weekly essentials.
We always make sure our kitchens are stocked with tins of ready cooked beans, rice, passata, chickpeas, potatoes, oats, coconut milk, nut butters, tahini and eggs. We also have some pouches of Merchant Gourmet ready cooked lentils and quinoa in our cupboards. These can easily be heated up, combined with some salad ingredients or some roasted vegetables, sprinkled with some seeds and served with either a salad dressing or some homemade pesto and you have a meal ready in minutes. These pouches are also handy to keep in your desk drawer for emergencies. They can even be eaten cold.
We always make sure we have plenty of vegetables and salad ingredients in our fridge. We use a weekly veg box scheme that is delivered to our doorsteps before we are even awake. This means that on those busy weeks when even a trip to the supermarket is too much we will always have lots of vegetables to conjure up a meal with.
These can easily be made into a curry – vegetables (such as squash, courgette, sweet potatoes, onions, leeks and carrots), spices, coconut milk and passata and you have a quick and very easy vegetable curry.
In our freezer we always make sure we have berries, spinach, peas and bananas. The berries can be used for breakfast to top Greek yoghurt or porridge or added to smoothies. The spinach and peas can be added to soups, stews and curries to add another vegetable. When bananas start to go brown in the fruit bowl we peel and cut them up and store in the freezer ready to be added to smoothies or combined with berries to make “ice cream”.
We also like to keep our spice drawer stocked up to flavour meals naturally. Spices and herbs often contain extra vitamins and minerals and make your meals more exciting to the tastebuds.
Adding spices to your dishes can also improve the nutritional profile of the dish for instance, cooking meat at a high temperature, such as a BBQ, produces AGEs (advanced glycation end products) which can be a factor in ageing and worsen many degenerative diseases. However, by adding spices and herbs to meat before cooking (marinading) then you reduce the AGEs.
Don’t forget to keep your fruit bowl well stocked as this is an easy snack for children to grab on the go. Make sure it’s fruit that they will actually eat and enjoy so you don’t waste money and food. Our children love apples so we always make sure we have a plentiful supply. We also always have some lemons – great for squeezing over a chicken before roasting or adding to marinades.
Hopefully with these ingredients in your kitchen you will never come home hungry and wondering what to cook. Being prepared with healthy choices makes it so much easier to stay on track.
The Health Boost have lots of quick and healthy recipes on their website that they make at home on a daily basis. Overleaf you will find the recipe for a healthy snack that they often have in the fridge ready for post workout or feeding their children between school and sports.