Whole grains and foods made from whole grains are richer in vitamins, minerals and fibre than their more processed counterparts. It is recommended that whole grains be eaten every day, so keep your pantry well stocked!
For baking, and making pancakes, use wholemeal flour in preference to white flour.
Whole Grains: Rice, Oats, Barley, Bulgar, Couscous, Quinoa
Flour: Whole wheat flour, Spelt flour, Cornmeal flour, Buckwheat flour, Rice flour
Beans and Lentils
Beans are packed with protein, fibre and iron and low in fat; they are a great basis for healthy main meals.
Dry beans are very economical to use: soak overnight in water, rinse then boil until tender, rinse and drain, or if using a pressure cooker there is no need to soak.
Beans freeze well so you can cook up a big batch and freeze in meal-size portions for later use. Keep canned beans on hand to add to salads, soups, pasta, buddha bowls, sandwiches and stews.
We always keep cans of chickpeas, red beans, black beans, refried beans and brown lentils handy!
Pasta, Noodles, Rice Paper and Sushi Paper
- Wholemeal spaghetti and shape varieties (eg. spirals)
- Rice and wheat noodles for stir frys
- Rice paper and Nori sheets: We love to make sushi so we always have a supply of these at home, if we don’t have rice we still make great wraps with them.
Nuts & Seeds
- Sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds: Good to snack on, seeds add flavour and nutrients to smoothies, salads and hot dishes.
- Sesame seeds: Delicious fried, to top salads and savoury dishes with, or make your own gomashio.
- Flaxseed: Flaxseeds (also known as linseeds) are rich in omega 3 fats, these fats are important for healthy eyes, heart and brain. Flaxseeds are best consumed freshly ground as they are not digested when eaten whole. Once ground flaxseeds should be used quickly or kept refrigerated. Flaxseeds can be added to cereals, smoothies, pancakes and baked foods.
- Chia seeds: Highly nutritious and great to add to breakfast cereals, smoothies or even make your own breakfast pudding.
- Nuts: We like to keep a stash of almonds, cashews and brazil nuts handy!
As well as being a good snack, add nuts to salads, stir fries and other dishes for protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. They are best bought raw and unsalted and will keep fresh longer if kept in an airtight container in a cool place. Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium – just one a day is all that is needed.
There are an abundance of plant milks available these days. Common options, like soy and rice milk, are readily available in supermarkets, both in the fridge section and on the shelf. Other varieties such as almond, oat, quinoa and hemp milk can be found in health stores and increasingly in supermarkets.
We usually keep soy milk fortified with vitamin B12 in our fridge but you can give these other options a go too:
- Rice milk
- Coconut milk
- Hemp milk
- Almond milk
- Flax milk
- Oat milk
- Macadamia milk
- Cashew milk
- Hazelnut milk
Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices bring food to life, adding flavour, colour and nutrients. Have a wide range stocked in your cupboard and get experimenting with different flavours!
Here is our basic list:
- Cajun Seasoning
- Cayenne Pepper
- Chilli powder
- Coriander Powder
- Curry powder
- Garlic Powder
- Ground Cloves
- Mixed herbs
- Onion Powder
Tofu & Tempeh
Tofu and Tempeh are great to have on hand to put into stir fry, scramble for breakfast or marinate and have in sandwiches or burgers.
Sauces, spreads and other things!
- Kecap Manis: a sweet soy sauce
- Miso: Japanese paste made from fermented soybeans
- Nutritional yeast: They can be used to sprinkle on salads, sandwiches or soups and can be used to make cheese-like sauces. They are a good source of B vitamins, including B12.
- Rice syrup: for sweetening drinks, pancakes, porridge or on toast
- Soy sauce
- Stock Cubes: Vegetable, chicken and beef style stock cubes (vegan varieties)
- Tahini: Used as a spread, added to dips or mixed with water to make a white sauce for vegetables or pasta. Unhulled tahini is healthier but the hulled has a more subtle flavour.
- Tamari: thicker, less salty and generally wheat free
- Vegan Mayonnaise
- Vegan Margarine: Nuttelex, Tablelands, Organic Mountain
- Worcestershire sauce (check it is vegan and that it doesn’t contain anchovies!)