We all need more healthy food in our lives so why not include more wholegrains, vegetables and fruit when restocking the pantry. These are all great pantry staples that can form the basis of a variety of healthy meals and snacks. Why not try the following ingredients.
1. Brown rice
While it takes just a little longer to cook, brown rice has a delicious nutty flavour and contains more fibre than white rice to keep you fuller longer. If you aren’t sure your family will eat brown rice, why not start by mixing some brown and white rice together. To make it easy, you can combine a sachet of precooked brown rice into your cooked white rice or cook a batch of brown rice and freeze so you have cooked rice on hand. Brown rice is delicious on its own or in recipes like this chicken burrito bowl.
2. Wholegrain pasta
Like brown rice, wholegrain pasta is higher in fibre which is good for your gut and is filling. Try it in a lasagne, pasta bake or vegie pasta soup or try a mix of wholegrain and white pasta.
3. Wholemeal couscous
Wholemeal couscous is packed full of fibre and can be used instead of regular couscous in a recipe. Try our new Spanish couscous recipe, or simply add some wholemeal couscous to your favourite salad for a boost of fibre.
4. Home-made tomato pasta sauce
With 1.5 serves of vegetables per portion, this hidden vegie tomato pasta sauce is made with canned tomatoes (no added salt). It’s great on wholemeal pasta or can be used as a pizza sauce. An added bonus is that it’s low in salt and can be kept in the freezer as a quick meal starter.
Red and green lentils are another easy way to reduce the meat content and increase the vegie content in your favourite meals They cook quickly and don’t need soaking like other dried legumes. Throw some red lentils into a bolognaise sauce recipe or try this quick sweet potato and lentil curry.
7. Rolled oats
Rolled oats are a handy, inexpensive wholegrain staple to have in the pantry. They can be served hot in winter, thrown into a smoothie or used to make these healthy breakfast and snack recipes. Try these recipes:
These can be turned into a quick meal or used to make healthy snacks. Try adding some thinly sliced mushrooms when heating the baked beans and serve on wholegrain toast with a sprinkle of cheese. Make a baked bean toasty with sliced fresh tomato, a sprinkle of cheese and wholemeal bread. Cook a batch of baked bean mini muffins and freeze so you have something to pop in the lunchbox.
Using tinned vegies in recipes is a great way to get one of your recommended vegie serves when fresh isn’t available or it’s too expensive. Try our delicious zucchini and corn fritters – they are great as a lunch box option and can be frozen ready to use whenever you need.
11. No added sugar tinned fruit
Tinned fruit with no added sugar are a good option when fruit is out of season or too expensive. They’re great in the lunch box, on your oats in the morning or can be served with yoghurt for a healthy dessert.
12. No added salt seeds and nuts
Nuts and seeds are a nutrient packed snack or can be added to other recipes like salads and stir fries. But remember not to pack nuts in the school lunch box.