9 April, 2020

Nutritionist-Approved Pantry & Freezer Essentials (With 5 Easy Recipes)

9 April, 2020

Healthy, long-lasting pantry and freezer essentials to see you through self-isolation – as recommended by a nutritionist.

It’s a strange time we’re living in, there’s no denying that. We’ve seen toilet paper fly off supermarket shelves and queues of people snaking around the block for face masks and hand sanitisers. Thankfully, supermarkets remain relatively stocked, and we’re still able to dine-in at restaurants and order takeaway. There is definitely no need to panic buy, but if you’re self-isolating or limiting time spent outside, you might want to stock up on these pantry and freezer essentials.

Read more: The Best Online Grocery Delivery Sites In Hong Kong

Shopping for pantry essentials

If your pantry is looking a little bare, what sort of things should you be filling it up with? Hong Kong-based nutrition & fitness coach Beth Wright of B Fit & Fabulous recommends you buy more tinned, bottled, preserved and frozen items with a long shelf life, that can also add flavour and variety to your meals.

Ensure your pantry is stocked up with plenty of canned tuna or salmon to make easy salads with. Simply add in some tinned olives, sun-dried tomatoes, capers and a bit of Parmesan – which lasts forever – and voila! You’ve got yourself a tuna Niçoise salad.

If the Wellcome near you is running low on fresh greens, scope out the freezer section. Beth tells us that what a lot of people aren’t aware of is that frozen fruit and vegetables often have more nutrients than fresh ones (as they are harvested and frozen at peak ripeness).

“I always have some frozen vegetables and berries on hand and buy ready-to-cook frozen fish and chicken,” says Beth. Raw chicken can last up to nine months in the freezer and vacuum sealed salmon up to two years.

Odds are we might be working with limited ingredients for a while, so how do we keep things nutritionally balanced while prepping ahead? Beth aims to have good quality protein, some carbs and some healthy fats in every meal.

“I also look for lots of colour on my plate,” says Beth. She suggests keeping meals interesting by trying different cooking methods such as grilling, roasting and slow cooking. Fresh herbs and aromatics such as fresh chilli, ginger and garlic (all of which you can store for longer in the freezer) can also really help to liven up a dish.

Read more: 5 Dietitian-Approved Snacks To Help You Get Through Another WFH Day

Pantry essentials

Don’t forget to keep your condiment game strong as well. A little soy sauce and chilli sauce will go a long way. Beth also recommends trying to get hold of some chickpeas and tahini to make hummus (which you can then add into a salad or wrap). Fresh dips and sauces really help add variety to your meals.

Another thing that can always be found in Beth’s freezer is chicken stock. “I’m constantly making chicken stock, which I then portion out and freeze, ready for homemade soups,” she says. Chicken stock also makes a great base for building a delicious, immunity-building bone broth (which we could all use right now).

Sassy Tip: If you’ve got a sugar craving and are looking for something sweet to snack on, Beth suggests you reach for a few squares of good quality, anti-oxidant-packed dark chocolate.

Looking for a little cooking inspo? Here are some easy-to-make meals that only require a few ingredients.

Pantry Essentials:

Tinned sweetcorn, Harissa paste, stock cube, spices

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Making magic with a tin of sweetcorn 🙏🏼🌱 If anyone is looking at their store cupboard ingredients and thinking 🤔 then I hope we can keep giving you some inspiration. Let me know if it’s helpful 🙋🏻‍♀️ Serves 2: * X2 200g cans sweetcorn, drained * Dash of almond milk (or oat milk) * 1 onion, peeled and chopped * 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped * 2 carrots (or sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into very small pieces * 3 teaspoons harissa paste * 1 vegetable stock cube, mixed with 400ml boiling water * 1 teaspoon paprika * Olive oil * Salt Place a pan over a medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Once warm, add the onions, garlic, carrots (or sweet potatoes) and a pinch of salt, and cook for 10 minutes until soft. Once soft, add the drained sweetcorn and paprika and cook for a further 2 minutes, before adding the harissa paste and stock. Bring to the boil, before reducing to a simmer – leave to cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add all of the soup ingredients into a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth – you may want to add a dash of almond milk until you reach the consistency you like best.

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Pantry Essentials:

Buckwheat (swap for rice, quinoa or whatever grain you have on hand!), coconut milk, jarred olives, tinned tomatoes, spices

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TOFU, TOMATO & OLIVE STEW 🍅🌱🥑 Meals don’t need to take long at all with this richly flavoured olive and tomato stew with tender tofu chunks. It’s plant-based, packed with veggies and so incredibly easy to make! . Serves 2 . 🛒YOU’LL NEED . ✔️1 red onion, small dice ✔️2 garlic cloves, crushed ✔️1 courgette, in ¼ moons ✔️1 red pepper, small dice ✔️1 tsp smoked paprika ✔️1 tsp ground cumin ✔️200g extra-firm tofu, cubed ✔️1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g) ✔️100ml coconut milk (tin or carton) ✔️80g olives, halved ✔️50g spinach ✔️100g buckwheat ✔️olive oil ✔️salt and pepper ✔️to serve: avocado slices, coconut yoghurt, chilli flakes, seeds . 👩🏼‍🍳RECIPE . 1️⃣Heat a splash of olive oil and add the onion and garlic. Fry for 5 minutes. 2️⃣Add in the courgette and red pepper and fry for 5 minutes. Now add the tofu cubes and fry for 5 minutes until crisp. 3️⃣Stir in the paprika and cumin before pouring in the chopped tomatoes, coconut milk and olives. Simmer for 10 minutes and stir in the spinach just before serving to wilt the leaves. 4️⃣Meanwhile, cook the buckwheat according to packet instructions and drain. 5️⃣Serve the Olive and Tomato Tofu Stew with the buckwheat, topped with sliced avocado, coconut yoghurt, some chilli flakes and seeds. . 🙌🏻I can’t wait to see your creations! Don’t forget to tag me @Rhitrition! . Please know my recipes are developed with my #ReNourish ethos of creating a happy, healthy relationship with eating and are not designed for weight loss purposes. . #ReNourish #Dinner #VeganDiner #PlantBased #DinnerIdeas #EatHealthy #EasyRecipes #VeganRecipes #HealthyFood #Avocado #Tofu

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Pantry Essentials:

Pasta, jarred pesto, frozen or fresh vegetables

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One bite of this healthy, cheesy Chicken Pesto Pasta, and you'll be IN LOVE!🥰 Vibrant pesto, sweet cherry tomatoes, and a secret ingredient combine for extreme CREAMINESS! This one has glowing reader reviews!⁣ ⁣ Get the recipe at the (clickable) link in my @wellplated bio or find it here: https://www.wellplated.com/chicken-pesto-pasta/ #wellplatedrecipes⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣ #chickenpesto #pastabake #healthydinnerideas #healthyrecipeshare #goodeats #eeeeeats #feedfeed @feedfeed #food52 #foodblogfeed #realsimple #buzzfeedfood #food4thought #huffposttaste #f52grams #thekitchn #goodmoodfood #bhgfood #foodphotography #foodstyling #fitfoodie #cleaneats #balancedliving #justeatrealfood #food_glooby @thekitchn @food52 @buzzfeedfood @huffposttaste #beautifulcuisines

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Pantry Essentials:

Lentils, tinned beans, tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, maple syrup, ketchup, carton of stock/stock cubes, spices

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*Any Lentil & Any Bean Chilli* to feed your street! This is SO EASY & makes 10+ portions so you can happily share away. I just dropped some to my neighbours. Henry & I made a little step by step cooking video for it so I'll share it tomorrow but in case you wanted to make it tonight.. . For those who can't find beans/lentils at the moment @hodmedods @bionaorganic are still stocking them . . ✨ Feeds 10-12 . 450g uncooked brown/green lentils 3 x 400g mixed tins cooked beans 1 v big onion or 2 onions / leeks, diced 4 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 heaped tsp dried oregano or thyme 4 x big handfuls diced veg – carrot/peppers/celery/ courgette  2 x 400ml tinned tomatoes + 2 tbsp tomato puree if poss 1-2 tsp maple syrup /ketchup 1.5 litres veg stock /broth (or water) sea salt & pepper, to taste SPICES- work with what you've got &amp up the levels of spices as much as you like, I kept mine gently spiced for families. . *1.5 tbsp ground cumin or 1 heaped tbsp of cumin seeds *Pinch chilli flakes/powder or cayenne, as hot as you like *1 tbsp smoked paprika Plus if you've got any of these…. *1 tsp ground cinnamon *2 bay leaves To serve , optional – *Homemade pink pickled onions (sliced red onion in a vinegar salt bath!) *Quick slaw (shredded cabbage plus splash of olive oil and vinegar) *Garlic yoghurt (yoghurt + finely chopped garlic + salt – see my Cook Along stories) *Grated cheddar cheese *If you have any – coriander / lime/lemon / Jalapenos 1 Melt ghee/oil in your biggest pan, add onions, fry on medium heat for 8 mins while you get on with everything. 2. Add garlic, spices, herbs and chopped veg, stir, fry for a minute, keeping an eye on them, stirring occasionally and adding a splash of water if they start to stick. 3. Add tomatoes, lentils and stock. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 mins, lid on. Stir every 5 mins making sure you get to the bottom of the pan so the lentils don’t stick.  Add more hot water if needed. 4.  Meanwhile, make the pickled onions by mixing a sliced red onion with 3 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of sea salt. Leave to ‘pickle’. Prepare the garlic yoghurt….continued in com

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Pantry Essentials:

Chickpeas, tinned tomatoes, spices and grains of your choice

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If you are looking at those chickpeas on your pantry shelf and thinking, “ok but what else do they do.?…” Well, this! They’ll soak up this deep and complex Morrocan spice blend and then simmer in a fire-roasted tomato sauce to a stewy perfection. Scoop them on top of some couscous or another grain on hand, put a little cucumber salad on the side and a pop of fresh cilantro, mint, parsley if you’ve got it.⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Heat some oil in a skillet and add 1/4 cup chopped onion. Add a clove of garlic (minced), a tablespoon each of chili powder and cumin, a teaspoon each of turmeric, garam masala, and salt, a dash of cinnamon and cayenne, and two cans of chickpeas (drained + rinsed).⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Once fragrant, add two 14-ounce cans fire roasted diced tomatoes and let it simmer for 20 mins. Serve on top of couscous, quinoa, or rice and serve with cucumbers, herbs, yogurt, hummus, whatever you've got!⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #pantryrecipe #vegetarian #veg #vegetarianfood #meatless #meatlessmonday #eeeeeats #easyrecipes #recipe #video #recipevideo #feedfeed #instayum #onthetable #eatingfortheinsta

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Read more: Nutritionist-Approved Anxiety-Reducing Foods

Featured image courtesy of Daria Shevtsova via Pexels, image 1 courtesy of Phuong Tran via Unsplash, image 2 courtesy of Daria Volkova via Unsplash.

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