Healthy, long-lasting pantry and freezer essentials – 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.
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.
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.
Tinned sweetcorn, Harissa paste, stock cube, spices
Buckwheat (swap for rice, quinoa or whatever grain you have on hand!), coconut milk, jarred olives, tinned tomatoes, spices
Pasta, jarred pesto, frozen or fresh vegetables
Lentils, tinned beans, tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, maple syrup, ketchup, carton of stock/stock cubes, spices
Chickpeas, tinned tomatoes, spices and grains of your choice
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