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Pantry staples for healthy eating

Date: April 19, 2024
Time to read: 4 min
Published in: ,

Stocking the pantry with staple ingredients is a great start to make eating a varied and healthy diet easy. Pantry staples generally have a long shelf life and often have ‘home brand’ varieties that are less expensive in the supermarket.

Having the right ingredients helps you create nourishing and delicious meals without last-minute trips to the supermarket. So what should you stock in your pantry? Here are our top 6 essential items for the pantry.

1. Brown rice

Brown rice has a delicious nutty flavour and contains more fibre than white rice to keep you fuller for longer. If you aren’t sure your family will eat brown rice, why not start by mixing some brown and white rice together top get them used to it.

Brown rice does take a little longer to cook but to make it easier you can use sachets of precooked brown rice or cook a batch of brown rice and freeze in individual portions so you have cooked rice on hand.

Brown rice is delicious on its own or in recipes like our chicken burrito bowl or tofu poke bowl.

round white bowl containing tofu, brown rice, avocado, cucumber, carrot and red cabbage on a wooden platter with wooden chopsticks and a small bowl of soy sauce on the right

2. Wholemeal pasta

Like brown rice, wholemeal pasta is higher in fibre which is good for your gut and keeps you fuller for longer.

Wholemeal foods are made from wholegrains which contain all of the nutrients found in the outer layers of grains such as  fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.  Refined grains such as white pasta have had most of the fibre removed and many vitamins and minerals are lost during processing.

So, give wholemeal pasta a go – delicious in a lasagne, pasta bake or vegie pasta soup. If you aren’t sure, then try a mix of wholemeal and white pasta.

A baked chicken and vegetable lasagne with a metal serving spoon and a spoonful missing in a large rectangle oven proof dish, served with basil leaves, forks, dressing and a white cloth napkin on the side.

3. Rolled oats

Rolled oats are an inexpensive, must-have wholegrain in your pantry. They are easy to use and add to recipes boosting the fibre and nutirents of meals and snacks.

Oats can be served hot or cold to make healthy breakfast, thrown into a smoothie or used in snack recipes. Try these recipes:
Apple pie overnight oats
Toasted muesli
Oat and dried fruit flapjacks

Image of bake flapjacks on baking paper in a baking tray with a bottle of milk and straw on the side

4. Legumes – no added salt canned varieties

A few cans of legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans and cannellini beans are great to have in the cupboard as a quick and easy snack or addition to a meal.  Legumes are high in fibre and are a good alternative to meat as they are higher in protein than most other plant foods.

Compared to meat legumes are a cheaper source of protein. You can add canned beans to a classic bean salad, have baked beans on toast for lunch or why not try a lentil burger.

Find out more about legumes here.

Image of an open lentil burger serving on a white cutting board

5. Vegetables – no added salt canned varieties

Using canned vegies such as corn and tomatoes or in recipes is a great way to get some 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.  Or how about using canned tomatoes in our chicken cacciatore for a vegie boost to your dinner meal.

Image of stacked zucchini and corn fritters topped with tzatziki on a large plate with a side of dill and lemon wedges

6. Fruit – in natural juice

Canned fruit in juice is a good option when fruit is out of season or too expensive.  They’re great in the lunch box, on your cereal in the morning or added to yoghurt and muesli for a quick and healthy dessert.  Canned fruit is perfect in baking, like peaches in our oat, sultana and peach bread recipe or pears in our delicious pear and yoghurt slice.

Keeping these staples in the pantry will help you create nourishing and delicious meals.
Happy eating!


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