Let’s get personal.

Everyday there are people who let me into their lives.

They allow me to peer into their pantries and provide advice on changes they might be able to make to their diet.

I think it is only fair that I provide you with some insight into my pantry staples

I have included everything that I could not get through the week without…enjoying peering into my weekly shop!

Grains

Spelt Sourdough bread: Ibread love my peanut butter toast for breakfast! Spelt is a grain that has a higher protein and fibre content than wheat. It also has a slightly nuttier taste which I prefer. Sourdough bread is also lower GI (digested more slowly) due to the acidity created in the fermentation process. If there is no spelt bread available I go for a wholemeal base multi-grain bread. These type of breads have a higher fibre content that white base multi-grain breads so they keep me fuller for longer

Vetta High Fibre Spaghetti or Spirals: This brand of pasta has about 6.4g of fibre/100g this is double that of a normal white pasta. It is also still white in colour and doesn’t have the nutty flavor of a wholemeal pasta (which is great for kids or picky eaters). If you prefer a nuttier flavor then San Remo wholemeal varieties contain 13g of fibre/100g!

Oats: I use oats for a so many things! I pop them in smoothies, stir them through yoghurt and fruit for breakfast, I even use them in homemade burgers instead of breadcrumbs! The best thing is the are naturally a “super food” that you don’t have to pay a bucket load for.  If you prefer instant oats just be aware that they are slightly broken down already and might not keep you full for as long as traditional oats.

Sauces, Spreads and Spices

I don’t tend to buy ready-made sauces as they usually contain added sodium (salt) and sugar. I prefer to make my own with vegetables, herbs and spices.

salsa

Passata: I love this for making pasta sauces. Check the label and make sure there is no added salt or sugar. I found a great one made by Coles that only contains tomatoes and Vitamin C. I use this with a mixture of oregano, garlic, onion and basil to make a killer bolognese sauce!

Mixed herbs: Be careful with these. Sometimes there is salt added to the dried herbs so always check the ingredients list. I find these easier than fresh herbs as I am not cooking for a family (they last longer) and I don’t have a vegetable garden to grow my own. These can be added to pasta sauces and sprinkled over roast vegetables for a low sodium flavoring. Be aware of mixed herbs and spices with the word seasoning on the label. Most of the time the first ingredient for these is salt.

Paprika, chilli and cumin: These are my go-to spices, I put them on everything. From fish and chicken, to roast vegetables. Again a healthier alternative to store bought seasonings.

Tahini: This is a spread made from sesame seeds. It has a lovely nutty flavour and is great as a stir fry sauce or as a salad dressing. I recommend reading the label and purchasing a product that contains only sesame seeds.

Natural  Peanut Butter: Natural peanut butter has no added salt or sugar. I will admit it took me a few tries to get used to the flavor, but now I can’t stand the saltiness of regular peanut butter. I use it in smoothies, on rice cakes as a snack and of course on my toast with banana and honey!

Hummus: This is a dip made from chickpeas and tahini. It is a source of calcium and fibre and tastes great as a salad dressing, on toast and as a healthier dip alternative. It’s also really easy to make your own!

Dairy

Jalna fat free natural yoghurt: I use this yoghurt for a number of things. I marinate chicken in it with paprika and cumin, add it to smoothies, as a low fat substitute for sour cream and eat it with oats and some nuts and seeds. It also has no added sugars which is one thing that I always look for when selecting a yoghurt.

Unsweetened almond milk: whilst not actually a dairy product I do like this in my smoothies. I add this as it is lower in kilojoules and that means I can amp the smoothie up with other things like peanut butter and oats and not go overboard on energy. It has some added calcium but unfortunately not as much as regular cow’s milk.

Low fat cottage cheese: cottage cheese tends to be lower in saturated fat and sodium than a lot of hard cheeses. It’s really handy to use as a spread. I also like to use it as the cheese sauce on lasagne (mix with 2 tablespoons of milk and stir till runny then pour over lasagne) for a lower kj alternative.

Snacks

Carmen’s Classic muesli bars: I find these really easy to just pop in my handbag as an emergency snack. This brand on average have a higher fibre content and less added sugar than a lot of their competitors.

Rice Cakes: These are a good snack for when I just need to get by after work until dinner. I cover them with a nut spread or hummus and it keeps me going. A handy snack to prevent a pre-dinner overeat.

Tuna in olive oil: I find cans of tuna great for a snack or even just something quick and easy to throw through my lunch. If you like the flavored versions make sure that there isn’t added salt or sugar. Even better flavor them yourself with your own ingredients such as lemon, cracked pepper, tomato and basil.

Frozen Berries: I pop frozen berries in smoothies, through yoghurt or even just eat them by themselves if I feel like something sweet. I find for me the frozen bags are more cost effective than buying a fresh tub, they also last longer.

Vegetables

I eat all vegetables, they probably make up the bulk of my shop. I try and add them to all my main meals so I can get in my 5 serves each day.

wrap

I find it handy to sneak them into smoothies e.g. kale and spinach. You can also grate or puree them and sneak them into burgers, pasta sauces and curries.

Fruit

My staples are bananas and berries.

Add fruit to smoothies, banana with ricotta or peanut butter and honey on toast, or have an apple handy in your work bag or on your desk so you don’t go searching for the chocolate.

Also my favorite is frozen berries mixed into yoghurt…a healthy alternative to ice-cream.

fruit

Proteins

Salmon: I usually try to cook fish once or twice a week. I cook salmon with some dukka and lemon in foil in the oven and make a roast vegetable salad to go with it.

Steak: Eye fillets are the choice in my house. They are lean are the cuts aren’t too big , so I won’t overdo my portions.

Kangaroo: I love love love my kangaroo. It is leaner than other red meats and is also a source of iron. It is really good marinated, but warning make sure you cook it according to directions on the back of the label. As it is game if you overcook it you are in for a very tough and chewy steak (yuck).

So to finish quite a large post…I am hoping that by opening up my pantry to you, I have provided you with the tools to revamp your own. By making small changes such as making your own sauces and sneaking vegetables into meals you can increase the healthiness of your diet. Healthy eating is all about preparation and consistency but we can chat about that next week! Thanks for joining me. Jess xx

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