10 Healthy Pantry Must-Haves – Nyoutritious
Above you can see a photo taken of my kitchen pantry. Ha! Just kidding! But this lovely pantry was displayed on blogger Shay Shull’s “tour of her kitchen pantry” a few months ago and the post has remained engrained in my memory. This is the stuff that Pinterest boards are made for – look at the impeccable organization! And the chandelier hanging (upper right)! I am inspired looking at this pantry; I want to cook and plan menus and take ingredients off those perfect shelves and put them right back where I found them. I don’t see any random baby shower napkins from six months ago or plastic forks from take-out last weekend or three boxes of the same exact type of pasta noodle. Although maybe if I put a chandelier up I wouldn’t notice my clutter under the dazzling lights.
Anyway, the reason I mention pantries at all is because, even if some of us don’t have chandeliers hanging in ours, we can stock it with healthy ingredients. Inspo contributor Regina Barker offers her advice on her latest blog post about “10 healthy pantry must-haves.” This is a fabulous reference guide, for the organized and cluttered pantry keepers alike.
10 Healthy Pantry Must-Haves
I often get asked about what staple pantry items I keep in my own kitchen and what condiments I use and recommend. So, here I’ve put together a list with my top 10 favourite healthy pantry items, many of which I use daily! I’ll go into what’s good about them, why I love them and how I like to use them.
ACV is one of my favourite kitchen essentials and one I often recommend. I use it all the time for homemade dressings and vinaigrettes and also take it as a supplement mixed with water, as it is bursting with health promoting benefits. Apple cider vinegar contains beneficial acids (namely malic and acetic acid) that not only help improve our intestinal flora (good gut bacteria), but also support our immune system, and have anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties that can help keep excess candida yeast at bay. Apple cider vinegar is also known to help break down mucus throughout the body and has a cleansing effect – hence why it is commonly taken during a detox. This too makes apple cider vinegar your new best friend whenever you’re fighting a blocked nose or sinus infection and you want to beat naturally! I like to take 1-2 tbsp diluted in a bit of water first thing in the morning or throughout the day. If you struggle with the taste (which isn’t one I would call pleasant, sorry) try mixing it with sparkling water instead as this somehow makes it a tad easier to drink. For a sore throat, simply garge a tablespoon or two for a minute or so a 2-3 times a day.
2. Raw Garlic
Garlic is one of the most amazing superfood around and has antiviral, anti fungal and antibacterial properties. It is perfect for beating the common cold and has been a trusty side kick of mine during flu season for years now! It is especially great during pregnancy when you have limited options. It is a cornerstone in many cuisines, is versatile and full of health benefits – especially when eaten raw. I’m not a big fan of chewing raw garlic but cut it into smaller bits and swallow to minimise odour and taste. I also love adding raw garlic to my salad vinaigrettes, hummus and raw nut pates and highly recommend this fab garlic press.
3. Dulse Flakes
Dulse is a sea vegetable and the flakes are an amazing source of iodine and other minerals that adds great flavour to salads that isn’t too overpowering in taste. Dulse helps support a healthy thyroid function and therefore a healthy metabolism, and is great for the digestive system as well as gut, brain and liver function – making a sprinkle of dulse an amazing and easy way to enrich the nutritional value of a meal.
Wholegrain and dijon mustard are my two favourite types of mustard and I love how small amounts add so much flavour. I use them mostly to make up my own dressings, marinades and vinaigrettes. I recently found out that mustard seeds are actually part of the brassica family – and therefore related to vegetables like broccoli, cabbages and sprouts. Mustard seeds are like most other brassica’s rich in a variety of powerful antioxidants that help protect and promote healthy cells all round. And best of all, they’re free from the overload of sugar and sodium found in most commercial dressings and marinades.
Stevia is a super sweet herb and it is the best and healthiest sugar substitute around. It does not have any effects on our blood sugar levels, but I do, however, find that it has a slightly funky aftertaste (some people don’t notice this), which means I tend to use it in very limited amounts and often in combination with other natural sweeteners, such as maple syrup, raw honey and dates. That said, you’ll always find this gem in my kitchen pantry. My favourite use? To add a drop or two to one of my vegetable green smoothies if they need an extra touch of sweetness. I don’t tend to add much fruit to my smoothies so a drop or two of stevia and a lemon does the trick!