At times of crisis we need to take even greater care of our health and wellbeing, while keeping our costs to a minimum. Monica Braga, founder of Moni’s Healthy Choice cafes, shares her pantry list of ingredients needed to make a wide range of healthy and tasty recipes, all loaded with the nutrients our bodies need – no matter what is happening in the world.
Beans and pulses
Pulses are a relatively cheap, long-lasting and low fat source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. They are also rich in starch and a good source of iron.
- Broad Beans (fava beans)
Whole grains contain fiber, vitamin B, minerals, protein and are a natural antioxidant. Studies have shown that whole grains may lower the risk of heart disease and support digestive health.
- Wholemeal/brown pasta
- Wholemeal/brown rice
- Wholemeal/brown noodles
Condiments are a great addition to any meal and add flavour and, in many cases, have health benefits. However, use them with some caution, as some contain additives and are high in salt and sugar. Below are some options for your pantry.
- Vinegar (any kind)
- Olive oil
- Miso (but be careful – it has high salt content)
- Maple syrup high sugar content)
- Mustard (choose carefully, as some do contain a lot of salt and fat)
- Sauerkraut (pickled cabbage)
- Nutritional Yeast
Spices have been used in medicine for thousands of years and are the magic that bring many dishes to life. They provide multiple health benefits and if used well, will add tons of flavor to your meals.
- Garlic powder
- Curry powder
As we all know, nuts are one of the healthiest snack options and contribute good fats to our diets, as well as fiber and protein. However, keep your daily portions to a minimum, as they also pack a lot of calories.
- Almonds (very healthy)
- Walnuts (extremely healthy)
- Brazil Nuts
Seeds by definition are the unit of reproduction for plants – the first steps in their life cycle. As a plant-based source, they are rich in many nutrients and essential amino acids and minerals, including calcium, copper, zinc and magnesium. These seeds are very important for vegetarian diets. They help to improve digestion, immunity and bone health.
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chia seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Mustard seeds
Vegetables frozen at harvest retain the highest nutritional value. In fact, studies have found that they retain more nutritional content than vegetables that are transported from country to country and stored before they are sold as fresh produce in our markets.
Ann Marie McQueen
Ann Marie McQueen is the founding editor-in-chief of Livehealthy and host of The Livehealthy Podcast. She is a veteran Canadian digital journalist who has worked in North America and the Middle East. Her past roles include features editor for The National, trends writer and columnist for the Canadian newspaper chain Sun Media, and correspondent for CBC Radio.