This post started off as ‘My Top 5 Healthy Kitchen Essentials’ – punchy and concise. Then I started thinking about things I have in my kitchen at all times, and it quickly grew to ‘My Top 17 Healthy Kitchen Essentials’ – less punchy, less concise.
So, as a compromise, we’re going for 10. And, because I have so much to say about each one, I’m splitting this post into two parts. Part 2 will be up soon, don’t you worry.
These are things that I always keep in stock in my kitchen. Some things I buy weekly (oh hey, bananas), some things have a longer shelf life. But I use all of them regularly, hence their attendance on this list. They’re all very worthy contenders for your kitchen.
1. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are my all-time favourite food. I put them in fajitas, I make sweet potato wedges, I have them baked with delicious toppings, I put them in soup, brownies, smoothies, curries, pastas, Mexican bowls…I could go on, but you get the point. They’re packed full of goodness such as vitamins A and C, fibre, iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium and manganese. Plus, they’re downright delicious and you can easily pick them up in the supermarket.
My favourite thing to do with sweet potatoes is to make wedges or chips – they’re a great side dish and so easy to make! Just slice up your potato, drizzle over olive oil, sprinkle herbs/spices, and pop in the oven.
2. Nut Milk
I’ve never been a fan of cow’s milk, even before I knew about the dairy industry. I don’t like the taste, and I’ve always found it weird that we drink juice squeezed from a cow. Anyone with me? I mostly use almond milk in my daily smoothies, and in porridge. I sometimes buy hazelnut or coconut milk rather than almond, just to keep things interesting.
I don’t drink regular tea or coffee so I couldn’t tell you how it does as a replacement for regular milk, however what I can tell you is that Luke gets his flat white with soy milk, and he doesn’t complain. Make of that what you will.
You can find it in supermarkets, and some are fortified with extra vitamins to keep you nice and healthy! Some brands (such as Alpro) fortify their’s with B12, which you’ll struggle to get naturally on a plant-based/vegan diet.
Not only is it good for smoothies, shakes and porridge, you can also use it in baking – win!
Each week Luke and I buy about 15 bananas, and the supermarket cashier makes a joke about us living at a monkey sanctuary. We just love bananas! Luke cycles to and from work every day, so for him they’re an essential source of energy which he has daily. For me, it’s very rare that I don’t pop a banana in my morning smoothie. They’re the perfect base, which ever flavour you’re going for! If it’s a running day I’ll generally have an extra one about 30 minutes before my run, just to give me an extra energy boost.
The banana possibilities are endless – smoothies, porridge, banana bread, banana & raisin flapjacks, chocolate milkshakes, cookies, etc etc.
Avocados are another one of my favourite foods. They’re a good source of healthy fats, which means they’re good for your heart, skin, hair and nails; they lower your cholesterol; they contain lots of potassium (more than bananas!); and they form the base of guacamole A.K.A the best dip to have ever existed.
My favourite ways to use avocados are:
- Guacamole (recipe here)
- On toast with cherry tomatoes and a squeeze of lime
- In a green smoothie to make it extra thick and creamy
5. Herbs & Spices
Herbs and spices make my meals – without them, I’d be eating some seriously boring meals. Instead, I eat delicious meals which are packed with flavour. My favourite herbs and spices are:
- Basil – my #1 herb. I use this in soup, pasta dishes and sandwiches and it’s delicious
- Chilli flakes or powder for chilli, pasta or curry dishes
- Smoked paprika for casseroles and chilli
- Cumin for roasted root vegetables – the spicier the better!
- Cinnamon – this is a goody for baking, and I also like to use it in smoothies to help prevent spikes in my blood sugar.
So there you have it, the first half of my Top 10 Healthy Kitchen Essentials. I may have cheated in an extra five with that last point, but let’s not dwell.
What are some of your cooking must-haves? Let me know in the comments.