27 November 2020
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Superfoods - the 10 staples to keep in your pantry

Superfoods - the 10 staples to keep in your pantry

Sarah Green
25 June 2010











Eating healthily doesn’t have to be hard or boring – it’s simply a matter of being a bit organised and being in the know!

Once you get a ‘taste’ for how much better you feel, how much more energy you have, how much more your achieve at work and how much better you look, you won’t go back to MSG-laced takeaway dinners and Krispy Kremes at 4pm.

As many of you know, my mission is to get people to stop having/eliminate additives and preservatives (numbers) in their diet, as I truly believe it is having a huge impact on our health and is a major reason why so many people are succumbing to more serious illnesses. But more on this another day.

Today, let’s run through a helpful list of ingredients to have in your fridge and cupboard, complete with an overview of what their health benefits are, along with a few ideas of how to use them to make healthy yummy meals and snacks, quickly and easily.

I like to think of these as my top 10 foods:
1. Eggs

The most wonderful source of protein, eggs keep your blood sugar levels even and sugar ‘cravings’ at bay, making them the most perfect breakfast food. Despite what people think, they don’t take long – three to four minutes for boiled eggs then simply pop on top of a piece of wholegrain toast. Or scrambled eggs, again three to four minutes and add a few slices of smoked salmon (more protein and omegas to help brain function) – your productivity at work doubled already!

2. Hommus

Again, a great source of protein and fibre. Perfect just to have in your fridge for a snack with vegetables or rice crackers (just check the rice crackers have no numbers – these are one of the worst offenders of hidden additives and preservatives!).

Homemade hommus

Hint: The trick is to use dried not canned chick peas – soak them in water overnight then rinse and cook in salted water for about one hour. It’s well worth it!

You’ll need:
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ to ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 2 cloves of chopped garlic (optional).
Then you:
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend till thick and creamy.
  2. Adjust water to suit the thickness you prefer.

3. Almonds

Natural, blanched, roasted, slivered and flaked – these are the best source of protein for a snack alone or with a piece of fruit – daggy maybe, but great to have at work to stop you reaching for sugar foods as a pick me up.

To roast nuts, place on baking tray in a 160C oven for about 10 mins – shake the pan after five minutes to evenly distribute the cooking (pine nuts may take less time).

4. Avocadoes

Full of good fats – yes, there are such things, the body needs some good oils for your hair and skin – and they are delicious. You can make a quick dip, add to a salad or serve with smoked salmon and mayonnaise for lunch or an entrée. They are so versatile, store well and are easy to prepare.

Quick avocado dip
You’ll need:
  • Ripe avocado
  • Juice ¼ lemon
  • Tsp olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper.
Then you:
  1. Fork ‘mash’ an avocado with a squeeze of lemon, dash olive oil and sea salt and pepper.

5. Baby spinach

Popeye was so on the money – this leafy green is very good for you with loads of vitamins and minerals, and a great source of fibre.

Spinach salad
You’ll need:

  • 150gms baby spinach
  • 1 vine ripened tomato – sliced into 8 wedges
  • 8 baby mushrooms sliced finely
  • 1 avocado chopped roughly
  • 50g cup toasted pine nuts
  • 6 slices fresh prosciutto – gently pulled into strips
  • Olive oil to drizzle over and cracked pepper to sprinkle.
Then you:
  1. Wash the spinach and drain.
  2. Divide into two bowls and add the other ingredients equally between the two.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with cracked pepper.
  4. Great with some poached chicken!

6. Poached chicken

Those who know me well, personally and professionally, have eaten so many serves of my chicken salad over the years, but never seem to tire of it – they say it’s due to the fabulously moist chicken it contains.

To poach chicken, place the chicken breasts in a baking dish, cover with COLD water (this is the trick) and cook for about 40 minutes in a preheated 180C oven. The next ‘trick’ is to store the chicken in a container with the poaching liquid – it keeps it so moist. The chicken will keep in the fridge for about three to four days.

Use the poached chicken for a chicken salad, base for soup, with some steamed vegetables for quick dinner, or in chicken sandwiches for work or the kids’ lunch boxes.

7. Miso paste

Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting rice, barley and/or soybeans, it is high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals.

It can be used for miso soup and is also fabulous with seafood, especially teamed with salmon.

8. Beetroot

These vibrantly-coloured vegetables are rich in the nutrient betaine, which is important for cardiovascular health. Betaine has been proven to help lower blood pressure.

Beetroot is fabulous served as a roast vegetable, in a salad and in beetroot hommus.

To roast beetroots, clean and cut the stems off and bake in a preheated 180C oven with a drizzle of olive oil for about an hour.

9. Assorted fresh veggies

We all know we should have more vegetables in our diet, but for some reason we think they are boring. They so aren’t – done right, they are tasty and wonderful and enhanced with a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt. They are super quick to prepare, steamed or in a stir-fry. And my favourite – blanched, which means they keep their crunch and colour. No more soggy transparent greens of our youth! (Well, maybe you were luckier than me…).

To blanch vegetables, bring a saucepan of water to the boil, drop in the vegetables and cook for about two minutes, drain and place in a bowl of iced water – this stops the cooking and keeps them crunchy and colourful.

Use the vegetables for salads – team with the poached chicken, avocado and hommus for a tasty and nutritious take-to-work lunch.

The blanched vegetables will keep in a container in the fridge for three days.

10.Tahini

Tahini is ground sesame seeds and is a great source of calcium, protein, vitamin B and E and fatty acids – these fatty acids are wonderful for maintaining healthy skin. It can be used in soups, salad dressings and hommus, and is divine with steamed vegetables as well.

It keeps for months in the fridge.

Cupboard staples

And a few cupboard staples – olive oil, tin of chick peas, sea salt, brown rice, cracked pepper, pepitas and sunflower seeds.

Each week, I will give you lots of recipes for these ingredients, all simple and healthy.

And please if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me by posting a comment or email me on sarah@itsgoodtobeagirl.com.au

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