Kitchen Tips

15 foods you need in your house to stay healthy

If you're ready to kick-start your health goals by re-booting your diet, but don't know where to start – fear not. These 15 ingredients will have you on track to feeling your best.

Often, people who embark on a health journey find the reason they were turning to less nutritious options was because of convenience. It's quick, flavoursome and often very accessible. When pressed for time, it might be tempting to drive-through the local fast food joint on the way home, but by stocking your fridge and pantry with fresh produce and versatile ingredients, you'll constantly be surrounded by nutritious options that are right at your fingertips.

In the pantry

1 Tinned beans and legumes:
Canned beans and legumes are just as nutritional as those cooked from scratch, but you should give them a good rinse before you use them to remove any excess salt. They make an quick, filling addition to many recipes, and are delicious tossed through salads, soups and stews or simmered with tomatoes for homemade breakfast baked beans.
2 Tinned fish:
If you want to get your protein hit but don't have time to head to the supermarket, this is an excellent way to enjoy flavoursome seafood quickly and cheaply. It's loaded with healthy fats to keep you fuller for longer, and if you opt for fish still containing bones, you'll get a good serving of calcium too. Simply toss it through a salad, pasta or enjoy atop crackers for fast, nutritious snack.
Quinoa is great for bulking up salads.
3 Quinoa:
This wonder grain is naturally gluten-free and high in protein, making it an excellent source of complex carbohydrates that won't spike your blood sugar. Simply boil in water for 15 minutes, and use it as a base for curries, stir-fries, porridge or use it to bulk up a salad.
4 Nut and seed butters:
These creamy, nutty spreads are a great snack to have on hand to stop you reaching for a nutritionally-void snack. Opt for natural butters made from pure nuts, with no added sugar or oil, and enjoy it spooned straight from the jar, spread on wholegrain toast, sandwiched between fresh fruit or as the base to delicious healthy desserts.
5 Kumara:
The healthier sibling of the potato family, kumara are a wonderful filling, unrefined carbohydrate that are lower in GI than other starches (meaning they won't give you an energy high and resultant crash.) You can mash them up, bake them as chips or turn them into a surprising dessert. The options are endless.

Keep it in the fridge

6 Free-range eggs:
These magic bullets are packed full of protein, healthy fats and amino acids, essential for helping your body absorb all the powerful nutrients eggs have to offer. They're filling, versatile and easy to incorporate into your daily menu, making them the ultimate fridge-filler. Serve them scrambled or poached over toast, or make a delicious silverbeet omelette or asparagus and feta frittata.
7 Fresh fruit and vegetables:
This one seems like common sense, but you'd be surprised by the power of loading your house with fresh produce. It'll be right in front of you when you open the fridge, perfect to snack on raw, steamed or incorporated into most meals. For some easy staples, go for packaged dark leafy greens, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and fruit like bananas and berries.
8 Natural unsweetened yoghurt:
Packed full of protein and gut-loving live bacteria, you can't find a better snack to always have on hand. Enjoy a bowl of yoghurt for breakfast with muesli and fresh fruit, use it in place of cream in your favourite desserts, or dollop it over nachos or tacos for a healthier alternative to sour cream.
Ensure your fridge is stocked with healthy, creamy hummus.
9 Fresh herbs
Stocking your fridge with fresh herbs is a great way to add lots of flavour to your dishes, without the added sugar, salt or artificial flavouring. Some great staples to start with are mint, basil and coriander, but experiment with flavour combinations to find what suits your taste.
10 Hummus:
This tasty dip is based on chickpeas and tahini, loading your body with protein, fibre and healthy fats with every spoonful. Simply cut up some carrot and celery sticks, and sit back with an easy afternoon snack. You can also use it as a base for salads, or spread it in place of butter on your sandwiches for extra flavour.
Mix things up with these 12 delicious hummus recipes, including beetroot hummus, carrot hummus and capsicum hummus.

Just freeze it

11 Frozen fruit:
These are a great item to always have on hand. You can add them to smoothies, sprinkle them over porridge for some natural sweetness, or give them a quick zap in the microwave to enjoy as a healthy dessert after dinner. With everything from frozen berries and sweet stone fruit like mangoes available in supermarkets, this is a must-have for people who tend to get late night sugar cravings.
12 Frozen veggies:
You'd be surprised how many vegetables are available frozen, with everything from corn, peas and stir-fry mixes on supermarket shelves. Having a bag of these on hand is always a good option, as they can usually be ready within a few minutes, ready to add to everything from stir-fries to casseroles.
Frozen berries are perfect for creating smoothies.
13 Seafood of all shapes and sizes:
Obviously, fresh is best. But to ensure you've always got something healthy near by for last minute dinner options, keep some frozen seafood in your fridge. Most seafood is high in protein and healthy fatty acids, while staying keeping quite low in calories. It'll also last in your freezer for up to three months – yeah!
14 Lean meat and poultry:
It's great to have a serve of lean meat in your house, ready to defrost when you can't think of what to make for dinner. Opt for cuts lower in fat like the breast, and make sure you're always going skin-less to remove any excess fat and kilojoules. Chicken and turkey breast are great high-protein options, and can easily be grilled, poached, baked and incorporated in many savoury dishes.
These simple, tasty chicken breast recipes are a perfect dinner option.
15 Wholegrain or sprouted bread:
Most breads get a bad wrap, but if you're opting for loaves with unrefined flour and minimal ingredients, you can often find a filling and satisfying base to many meals. By keeping the bread in your freezer, you'll be less likely to keep reaching for it during the day, allowing you to fill up on more fruit and veg.
This article originally appeared on foodtolove.com.au