By Rick Hay, ‘The Superfoodist’ – Nutritionist and Author
Now that more of us are stuck at home and taking our isolating measures seriously, it makes sense that we would also be backing this up by cooking more at home too.
Despite what some may say though, you can eat nutrient rich meals from home without all of the fancy, expensive superfood price tags.
Here are some of the staples that I always have in the pantry which are budget friendly but also healthy.
One of the most nutritious breakfast options, oats are extremely versatile but also very healthy as they are packed with a particular type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan which has been shown to reduce cholesterol reabsorption in the digestive tract. This may help to lower your risk of a heart attack.
Oats are also rich in micronutrients like calcium, potassium, zinc, B1, Vitamin E, manganese as well as essential fatty acids.
You can make them into porridge and granola or overnight oats. Top them with a affordable superfoods such as turmeric which reduces inflammation and cinnamon which helps to balance blood glucose levels. Look for fruit and berries that are in season as they will be more affordable and add some nuts.
1/4 cup quinoa
1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1/2 cup plant-based milk
1 cup of filtered water
Top with nuts, seeds and berries
1. Combine quinoa, oats, water, milk, honey, and spices in a small pot. Cook, stirring often, until soft and tender, approx. 20 to 25 minutes
2. Serve in one big or two small bowls
3. Top with seeds, nuts, and berries. Use more milk and honey if needed
Beans/Legumes (buy organic if possible)
Such a great plant-based staple that is also long lasting in a cupboard. Beans and legumes are rich in magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and folate, while chickpeas are rich in zinc. Zinc is important because it helps build your immunity which is important at this point in time.
I love beans and legumes because again they are so versatile and can go into anything from soups and curries to salads and dips. People are even making them into crisps now, not that I recommend you eat that!
Spinach & Bean Salad
1 cup cooked beans/legumes of choice
1 small red onion, chopped
5 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cups fresh spinach
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Crumbled goat cheese for garnish (optional)
1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine cooked lentils with chopped onions, tomatoes, spinach, and parsley. Toss gently.
2. Add olive oil, salt and pepper.
3. Add a crumbled goat cheese. Serve
Have you ever heard of a pantry that didn’t have rice in it! But did you know that rice is healthy? It is a good source of vitamin B 1, 3 and 9 and it also contains manganese and magnesium.
Brown rice especially is also great for improving bowel movements and managing blood sugar levels.
Rice and Black Beans
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup veggie stock
1/2 can black beans
1 tablespoons lime juice (optional)
1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté. Add the minced or chopped garlic and sauté for a further minute.
2. Add cumin and rice, mix and sauté for 2- 3 minutes
3. Pour in veggie stock and beans, bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes
4. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes (don’t forget to stir).
5. Remove from heat and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, lime juice and parsley.
6. Season with a little salt and pepper, to taste
Herbs & Spices
Not only do they enhance the flavour of every dish and help you limit the amount of salt you need to use, but many are also celebrated for their medicinal properties and they have been used in some cultures for centuries. For example:
Turmeric is rich in curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory effects
Basil Helps to fight infection and boost immunity
Cinnamon which can lower blood sugar by slowing the breakdown of carbohydrates in the digestive tract and improving insulin sensitivity;
Rosemary Can help those with allergies and nasal infections
Ginger which has strong anti-inflammatory properties, and can help with pain management and it can also help with nausea
Cayenne Pepper Can help to reduce appetite and may have anti cancer properties
Nuts & Seeds
I always have a variety of nuts in my pantry as not only are they a great and satisfying snack, but the various nuts have different health benefits. Almonds are rich in healthy fats, protein, fiber, magnesium and vitamin E
Cashews are ruch in selenium, zinc, magnesium, iron and phosphorous. Macadamias are linked to several benefits including improved digestion, heart health and weight management
Keep a variety of nuts in your pantry.
Rick Hay The Superfoodist – Dip Nutrition, Dip Botanical Medicine, Dip Iridology, Dip Teaching
Rick is an anti-ageing and fitness nutritionist with many years clinical experience in nutrition, naturopathy, botanical medicine and iridology. He is also the author of The Anti Ageing Food and Fitness Plan – Plant Based Edition.
His specialisms include obesity treatment, weight management, anti-ageing nutraceuticals, beauty from within supplements and natural sports medicine options.
Rick lectures in Sustainable Weight Management and Detox at The College of Naturopathic Medicine in London and is a regular Health and Fitness Expert on Ideal World TV. He is also the Nutritional Director and Formulator at Healthista www.healthista.com
Rick has just started a new project called ‘The Australian Natural Health News’ where he will be focusing on the latest in research and innovation in the nutritional field both in Australia and globally. Rick’s vast experience in Nutrition, Botanical Medicine and Nutraceutical Formulation has led to him being regularly sought after by the media both in the UK and Australia for his nutritional expertise and comment.
His approach is to debunk the myths and misinformation surrounding diets, healthy eating and weight management. He is passionate about the science behind food and fitness and aims to provide easy yet effective nutritional solutions.
Rick is an advocate of more plant based eating and follows a plant based diet himself.