It’s time to graduate from two minute noodles. These nutritional superstars will get you started.
Would you cringe if somebody peered into your pantry right now? What would they find if they ventured to the depths of your fridge?
If you’re embarrassed by a kitchen dotted with nothing but tinned tuna, frozen ready meals and a packet of Tim Tams, listen up. Healthy eating isn’t complicated, and it definitely doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. We’ve got your back with this dietitian-approved list of 5 ingredients every 20-something should have in their pantry.
Not only are eggs rich in protein, they contain healthy fats and an abundance of vitamins and minerals. They’re extremely versatile and can go from perfectly poached eggs at brekkie, to a crowd pleaser at dinner in the form of a frittata. Despite what your grandma might have told you – the yolk is where all the goodness is, so make sure you eat the whole egg. Up to six eggs a week can form part of a balanced diet, according to The Heart Foundation.
We’re talking lentils, beans and chickpeas. These foods really are an everyday superfood. They contain a tonne of fibre for your gut to stay healthy, as well as plant-based protein and good quality, low GI carbs to keep you feeling full. Plus, half a cup of legumes counts as a serve of veggies (quick refresher: your daily target is five). Legumes are super economical (read: cheap!) and can be used to bulk up meat-heavy dishes for a fraction of the cost. Lentil lasagne, anyone?
These babies make for the perfect healthy snack as they contain both satiating healthy fats and protein. Nuts can boost the nutritional quality of any meal – you can sprinkle them on salads, add them to smoothies or chuck them on top of a stir-fry. While they do contain beneficial healthy fats, they are high in energy – so be sure to stick to just a small handful, and stick to unsalted too.
A wholegrain that makes for the perfect quick and easy breakfast. Oats are full of fibre to support a healthy digestive system and contain a compound called beta-glucan, which helps to lower cholesterol levels in your blood. Oats are also a source of plant-based protein and will help to keep you feeling full well after breakfast. Go for plain oats rather flavoured to be sure they contain no added sugars.
5. Extra virgin olive oil
No diet is complete without healthy fats – and as much as we love avos, life is about variety. A key part of the Mediterranean diet, extra virgin olive oil is high in mono-unsaturated fats (a good kind of fat) and contains beneficial antioxidants. This healthy fat will also aid the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Despite what you’ve seen on Instagram, coconut oil is not the healthiest fat to use as it contains high levels of saturated fat. Instead, opt for extra virgin olive oil when cooking stir-fries, in your salad dressings or drizzled over roasted veggies.