Being a mum can be beyond BUSY. It is so easy to fall into the trap of a quick takeaway or unhealthy snack. With a bit of pre-planning you can stock your pantry with healthy, budget staples.
These 10 pantry staples won’t break the bank and are ideal to keep on hand for quick, nutritious meals the whole family will love.
1. Tinned fish
Salmon and tuna are fabulous proteins to have on hand for an easy, last minute dinner or snack.
It’s affordable and full of heart-healthy nutrients. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, and it’s an great source of protein. They’re also low calories and high in vitamin B12 – stick them in salads, serve on sandwiches or toss in with pasta and steamed veggies. Dinner sorted.
Bananas are just about the fastest fast food you can buy, plus they come in their own perfect packaging.
If you need a sweet hit they are the perfect option. Sweet but not jam-packed with naughty calories and they’ll keep you feeling full. They are full of potassium, too, as well as loads of other vitamins and minerals. Eat them as they are or whiz in smoothies. The kids will love them too!
3. Frozen berries
Frozen berries are fantastically healthy and usually much cheaper than the fresh varieties. They keep well in the freezer and are ideal for adding into your Healthy Mummy Smoothies. They’re low in fat and calories, you can eat them cooked or uncooked, put them into cereals, desserts, smoothies or salads or blend them up and make ice-blocks for a sweet, icy treat.
Eggs are amazingly good for you – packed with protein and heart-healthy fat, they are just 70 calories each and contain essential amino acids. They are perfect for a mid morning snack or added to a salad, and at around 15 cents per egg, they’re super good value. Use them in omelettes, scramble them for breakfast or bake them in a frittata for dinner.
5. Brown rice
Brown rice is a wholegrain, so it contains more fibre and more nutrients than regular white rice. It costs just 10 cents per ¼ cup serving of rice, and it is super versatile – stir into salads, add to stir fries or cook as a side dish for a stew or casserole. You can also put rice into soups to bulk them out and make them more filling. Grab a few of the instant rice cups or packets for quick back up dinner options.
6. Sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are packed with fibre and beta-carotene, and they are thought to be one of the most nutritional foods around. They’re low in fat and super budget-friendly. Mash them with some garlic and milk or bake them with paprika or cinnamon for a delicious potato chip style snack.
Even the kids will LOVE sweet potato with this Easy Crispy Sweet Potato Fries recipe!
7. Tinned tomatos
Tinned tomatoes are a fantastically cheap way to get a big dose of vitamins and nutrients for very little cost.
Cooked tomatoes contain lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant, and they are packed with vitamins A and C. Use them in stews, casseroles and ragu’s or cook them in pasta sauces. Combine tomatoes with tinned fish, fresh veggies and some wholemeal pasta and you’ve got a fast, easy, healthy dinner option.
Lentils are probably the king of healthy, budget foods. You can buy them dried or ready-cooked in tins, depending on how you want to use them, they are low in fat, super filling, packed with protein and other vitamins and are supremely versatile. Pop them in curries, fry them with onions or whiz them up to make tasty and filling dips and spreads. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to add them into your everyday foods.
9. Tinned beans
Beans of all varieties are packed with fibre. They’re also full of protein, meaning that they are super filling and being low on the glycaemic index means they release their energy slowly over a period of time, keeping you fuller for longer.
Mash beans as an alternative to mashed potatoes, toss them into salads, cook them in soups or stews, add them to mince and stir them into casseroles. You can also make delicious bean dips and spreads.
10. Wholemeal pasta
Did you know wholemeal pasta contains three times the fibre of any other pasta?
Fibre fills you up faster and keeps you fuller for longer, so you can eat less and still feel full, therefore helping you to lose weight. Wholemeal pasta is also proportionally low in fat and calories, making it a great side dish, or you could cook it and serve it in pasta salads or use it to bulk out soups.
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