Grocery staples for healthy meals

by Laura Agar Wilson on August 24, 2010

in Uncategorized

Hi everyone, I just want to say a huge big thank you to everyone who commented on yesterdays post. You’ve all been really encouraging and have given me lots to think about. It seems that a few of us have similar experiences around others opinions of our portion sizes. You honestly have no idea how much I value your comments so thank you again :-)

I got hardly any sleep last night I woke up at 2am and was awake for the rest of the night. At least I got some reading in as well as watching random night time TV! It also meant I could justify brewing up a mug of hazelnut and cinnamon coffee to drink with my breakfast. I had a bowl of Dorsets Cereals Berries and Cherries muesli mixed with plain jumbo oats, fresh blueberries and unsweetened soy milk.

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This really hit the spot. I did manage to spill half my cup of coffee on my cream carpet. I’ve spent most of the day making silly little mistakes, forgetting things and being clumsy – I don’t do very well on no sleep!

Mid morning I snacked on half a pot of quark cream cheese with walnuts and a tablespoon of banana and apple puree mixed in.

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I forgot to bring some pre gym fuel with me so I decided to call into the shops to find something that would do the job. I was starting to feel really poorly before lunch – nauseous and faint, so when I picked up some Cherry Infused Nakd raisins for later I got an extra pack to eat then and there. They sorted me out a trick!

Lunch was some Sainsbury’s salad bar bought mixed bean salad with chopped cooked chicken on top of shredded cos lettuce. It was a beast ;-)

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I finished off with some strawberries.

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Before leaving work for the gym I had my other pack of Cherry Nakd Raisins.

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As I was so tired the gym was really tough. I still managed my usual 45 minutes of cardio intervals plus abs but I was utterly exhausted by the time I was done.

For dinner I made a quick omelette with two egg whites and one egg filled with edam cheese, courgette, mushrooms and red onion. I added more veggies to make a big salad rather than trying to squeeze them in the omelette (it still tore though!) which included 2 chopped carrots (I ate most of these while chopping the other veggies) spinach, orange pepper, cucumber, courgette and red onion.

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Desert was an extra thick cookies and cream Spiru-tein shake made with a little less soy milk than usual and ice cubes plus a crunchy brae burn apple.

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When I ordered my things from Teapigs last night I remembered that I still had some samples I’d been sent to try. I decided to have the green tea with mint.

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This was lovely but I wouldn’t say it’s anything special in comparison to their other teas.

My top grocery staples

Yesterday I read this great guest post by Ashley from (never home)maker about good value grocery staples. It made me think about what items would top my list and why. Here are my top healthy grocery staples:

Apples – I love apples and often eat several a day! They keep well, are full of fibre, nutritious and can be used in a range of meals and snacks.

Frozen fruits – My smoothies would not be the same without frozen fruits! I buy big bags of frozen cherries, blueberries, raspberries etc on 3 bags for £5 from Sainsbury’s. These can be used frozen in smoothies or defrosted and added to yoghurt, porridge or muesli. They also offer excellent value for money when fresh berries are out of season. I also freeze my own bananas in bags and I’m busy stocking up on strawberries while they are in season to freeze up as well

Spinach – I couldn’t imagine not having a big bag of spinach in the fridge. I use it in green monster smoothies and as the base for salads. I also add it to soups, stir fries, omelettes, savory muffins, curries etc.

Non diary milk – Soy milk is my current obsession! So creamy and contains more protein than other non diary milk I have tried. I’ve read that you should moderate your processed soy intake so I’m going to mix it up with other non diary milks such as oat, coconut and rice milk. I prefer non diary milk to skimmed cows milk, for the extra creaminess but also so that I can use my daily dairy portions on cheese and yoghurt (I don’t like eating more than two servings of diary a day – if I have a lot I start to feel a bit rubbish) 

Greek Yoghurt / Fromage Frais – Perfect for breakfasts, snacks and deserts as well as using to make a dressing for home made coleslaw or a dip for veggies. You can go for the low fat option if required and it packs a great protein punch to keep you fuller for longer.

Eggs – so versatile, keep well in the fridge and again, provide an excellent protein source. I love my omelettes for a quick and easy dinner, poached or scrambled on rye bread for breakfasts, and of course used in a range of baked goods too. I’ve recently just discovered the two chicks liquid egg whites which I’m looking forward to trying out.

Tofu – I’ve recently become hooked on this stuff, both the silken tofu and the firm tofu. The silken tofu is a great store cupboard staple as it can be blended into smoothies for extra protein and creaminess and made into puddings and even home made soy yoghurt. I love the pre flavoured firm tofu for including in salads and stir fries and marinating plain tofu then oven baking till its extra crispy.

Tinned tuna – I like having tuna tinned in spring water in the cupboard to use in healthy salads either on its own, mixed with some beans or with a little yoghurt or mayo.

Oats – I couldn’t imagine life without oats. The hubby eats a big bowl of porridge every morning. I buy a big bulk bag of scottish oats to keep in the cupboard at all times then we always have a healthy breakfast option

Tinned beans – kidney beans, chickpeas, pinto beans and haricot beans are my favourite. They can be used in salads, soups, made into bean burgers etc. So handy to have a few tins in the cupboards at all times.

Frozen Veg – I always like to have a couple of bags of frozen veg in the fridge in case of emergencies. Frozen peas and soya beans are my current favourites as the peas can be used to make a fast soup and the soya beans used for stir fries and salads

I could easily add more! I’ve found writing this list quite useful and I think I’m going to print it off to stick on the fridge as a reminder of the items I need to keep in stock all the time to make sure that no matter what I can always knock up a healthy and tasty meal. What are your top grocery staples that you always have in your kitchen and why?

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

happyatthirty August 24, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Hey! Seems like we had the same dinner!
Ive just bought some unsweetened soya milk (a small carton). Want to give it a try.
What I always have in the fridge/freezer/cupboard: lettuce, tomatoes and onions as it makes me a nice and simple salad for lunch.
We also have tons of apples and bananas for snacks.
Some canned fruits and veg when we cant afford/forget to buy fresh ones.
We always have some chicken breasts in the freezer -> if we dont know what to eat, then it’s chicken.
Then, it’s just the basics: pasta, patsa sauce, different spices, herbs…

Oh, about yesterday’s post, dont worrie about other people. They may have a tiny lunch in front of the colleagues but then, they eat snacks over snacks…and I’m sure they dont work out the way you do. You need fuel to stay up.
Oh, btw, have you bought Womens running???

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Laura August 24, 2010 at 9:55 pm

I loved reading your grocery staples! Very useful, I need to get better at budgeting!

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thirtyandhealthy August 24, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Aw what a shame you didn’t sleep well! I didn’t sleep well either (was also away at 2am!) but I got a nap so all was well. Well dont for still getting to the gym!

My staples are oats, unsweetened soya milk, baking supplies, PB and marmite. I also have bread, fruit and veg in the freezer at all times.

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Parisa August 24, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Apart from the Tofu, which I really should eat more of, our shopping lists are virtually identical too. I often like to buy fresh berries and bananas each day because in our house we go through so much of them, in the smoothies, on porridge, as snacks etc! But in all honestly, it’s worth it! :)
xxxxx

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Madeline - Greens and Jeans August 25, 2010 at 5:30 am

I would say fruit and veggies, canned beans, pita bread, and hummus are the most important things in my kitchen!

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thehabitofhealthy August 25, 2010 at 5:39 am

This is a great post. I agree with most of your staples and usually have them myself but I’ve never bought frozen fruit before so perhaps I’ll have to give that a try.

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Laura August 25, 2010 at 8:04 am

Helene – I haven’t bought the mag yet, will have to remember to get a copy! I love having chicken breasts handy in the freezer too

Laura – I think having this list is going to be so helpful for budgeting stuff

Jo – how could I have left out PB! I must give marmite a try too, I bet it would be lovely on toasted rye bread

Parisa – I agree, fresh berries are totally worth it! I’m going to be so sad when they go out of season

Madeline – ooh, how could I forget hummus too! I’m going to have to try making my own something as well

Stacey – you’ll have to give the frozen fruits a try they are so handy – just make sure your blenders up to it!

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Sarah @ Gluten-free tries Vegan August 25, 2010 at 9:24 am

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment on my blog! I’m SO going to have half of Whole Foods in my suitcase home.

I love those Nakd snacks for the gym. My grocery staples are frozen peas and edamame, nut butter (almond or peanut), Soya milk (it’s the only one I like in coffee), corn thins and apples. I love apples.

Btw, loved reading your about page and well done on losing the 5 stone! Amazing. The husband is aiming to lose 4 stone and started a few months ago. He’s lost almost a stone but is struggling because it’s not coming off fast enough. I think it’s because he’s trying to make long-term health changes rather than using quick dietary fixes (which, of course, is much better). Gosh, i’ve babbled on a bit! :)

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Neen August 25, 2010 at 10:00 am

Great post hun, i like your store cupboard staples, i like to make sure there are always veggies of some kind, preferably fresh but tinned or frozen will do, sweet potatoes and herbs and spices, tinned tuna, tinned tomatoes/passata, meat in the freezer and i’m set to go any night. oh i like to have a fully stoked backing cupboard too i get chills if i dont haha! x

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Nicole August 25, 2010 at 11:40 am

Many of our staples are similar. My staples are also peanut butter and almond butter.

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Cosmic August 25, 2010 at 12:40 pm

mmm mmm mmm, deliously-nourishing fare!

Excellent staples Laura:)

xoxox

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Cosmic August 25, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Apples – low GI energy, pectin, quercetin(sp)and thus a excellent food!

Bananas – for a healthy mind and body!

Frozen berries – so versitile and bursting with goodness!

Nuts – Good source of protein, minerals and Vitamin E(Great substitute for non-dairy milks:0)!

Buckwheat – Excellent protein source that’s gluten-free!

Hemp seeds,oil or pwd – Possibly, the most sustainable crop ever that can save our future(Excellent source of protein and Essential fatty acids ie Omega 3′s)!

Oats – Mood Food Energy, soluble fibre and protein!

Tomatoes – source of lycopene and sun protection!

Carob powder – protein, calcium and sweet treats!

Fresh herbs and spices make livens tase buds up!

Leafy green vegetables for it’s magnesium, calcium, veg protein, folate, vit e, essential fatty acids etc. etc.

Root Veggies: Beets / carrots / sweet spuds for sheer versatility!

Eggs, * raw garlic and lemons: healthy, tasty, versatile and nourishing; not together(The latter is alkaline in the body:)!

* good for any parasites lurking within!

Yogurt – so versatile!

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leashieloo August 26, 2010 at 12:45 am

What’s the story with chia seeds? I’ve been seeing them everywhere but I’m not sure what the nutritional value is. Do they have a taste?

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Laura August 26, 2010 at 10:51 am

Leashieloo – the chia seeds are full of healthy fats they kind of act like a bulking agent as they absorb water and pump up so they have lots of fibre and help you to feel full. I don’t really think they have any taste – more a texture. I haven’t tried them without soaking them in something before although I have seen them sprinkled dry on to things x

Thanks for all your other comments guys, love your staples Cosmic!

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Anne @ Food Loving Polar Bear August 26, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Interesting post! I always have tuna, rye bread, pasta/macaroni and tomato sauce in the cupboard :)

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