The New Year is a time to start afresh – so be brave and get rid of everything in your kitchen that could wreak havoc with your health. Restock with nutritious foods, beverages and snacks. If you don’t have forbidden products in your kitchen, you won’t be tempted to eat them in moments of weakness.
Your family might not be happy with you at first, but it’s for your own good, and their own good, too. It really is a no-brainer that if you harbour ‘unhealthies’ in your pantry they will end up on the family dinner table. So get wise and boot out the baddies and bring in the goodies.
THE WORST OF THE WORST
Make sure you remove everything that contains hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats, refined carbohydrates such as white flour and white sugar, and high fructose syrup. In addition, get rid of, and don’t purchase, tomato products in cans – buy them in glass bottles. Your kitchen shelves should never see sodas, sugary cereals, salty chips and nuts, sugary juices, and the like.
Try to buy organic food that is antibiotic- and hormone-free, and, last but not least, make sure that your home has a drinking water filter – either on the tap or at least a water filter jug.
THE BEST OF THE BEST
Now that you’ve cleaned out the forbidden products, it’s time to replenish your pantry with healthy products. And the beauty is that once you start eating the really nutritious, life-giving foods, you will be hooked!
If you have enough worthwhile and tasty ingredients in your kitchen, you will be able to prepare many yummy meals. Below is a list of pantry basics to bring you happy eating and good health.
- Healthy oils should be unrefined and mechanically cold-pressed. If stored out of direct sunlight in a cool cupboard some unrefined oils are an excellent source of fatty acids. Consider extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and canola oil for cooking and baking. Toasted sesame oil, walnut oil and flaxseed oil are great for stir-fries and dressings. You can even take some oils out of the kitchen and into the beauty basket: use almond, apricot and prune oils to moisturise your skin.
- Olives are a ‘must-have’ The health properties of olives are numerous ranging from controlling blood pressure, to providing valuable vitamin E and acting as an efficient antioxidant.
- Unsalted nuts and seeds provide fats, protein, fibre and minerals. Brazil nuts, for example, are high in the mineral selenium which is thought to protect against heart disease and cancer. Nuts can add character and flavour to salads and stir-fries or simply be enjoyed as a snack.
- Pulses – beans, peas and lentils – are the dried seeds of the legume family. They are low in fat but high in protein and fibre. Enjoy pulses with nuts, seeds and whole-grain cereals. Raise the heat with a chickpea curry, or indulge in a lentil dhal or brown rice pilaf. The family will love a ‘spaghetti bean bolognaise’.
- Tuna or salmon, fresh and not out of a tin if possible, provide valuable omega-3s. Think grilled salmon salad or egg and tuna salad for an extra protein kick.
- Oats should be in every family’s kitchen. They are full of nutrients and are a very good source of protein, B-vitamins and the minerals calcium, magnesium and potassium. Oats release energy slowly and are excellent for blood sugar control. Go for rolled oats as they are less refined.
- Dark chocolate (75% and up) is actually nutritious as it contains several minerals and is an antioxidant. It is believed to protect against heart disease – so indulge in your chocolate desire and make those healthy brownies!
- Quinoa is a great replacement for rice and pasta. It has a high protein content, tastes fantastic and goes CRUNCH! Fluff out salads with this exciting addition.
- Green tea should be kept handy for you to brew iced teas on those hot summer days.
- Honey or stevia are natural sweeteners. Use them rather than sugar and artificial sugars. Try to use raw honey which has not been heated or pasteurised. It contains vitamins C, D and E as well as some B-vitamins and traces of minerals. It is also said to have healing properties. Add it to teas, smoothies and cereals.
- Natural nut butters are relatively new to us but are very yummy and very nutritious. They make the perfect sandwich spread!
- Fruit smoothies made with fresh fruit, raw honey, and milks such as almond or oat milk, and a dash of raw cacao powder go down very well at any time of the day. They are also nutrient powerhouses.