I love the start of a new year. Even though you can start with plans and goals at any time, the start of a new year just seems like a great time to get organised and kick start the year right. Having a well stocked fridge and pantry with a few essential items can really help with getting into a good routine with healthy eating and meal preparation. After all, there’s nothing worse than staring into the fridge or pantry and having no idea what to create – I know I’ve been there!
So to help you out this year, I’ve put together some ideas on key items to have in your fridge and pantry and some ideas of what to create for yummy, nutritious breakfasts, lunches and snacks. And I’m also giving away a $150 Prezzy Card to help you stock up too. Keep reading for details. So ‘detox’ your pantry of all those old things you never use, and restock so you’re all organised and ready to go for healthy breakfasts, lunches and snacks. Later on I’ll write a post on essentials for dinners.
Brown rice, or for a quick option instant brown rice cups
Seeds (including chia seeds)
Herbs and spices – my essentials are smoked paprika, oregano, cumin, ground coriander, paprika, chili flakes, garlic powder
Nice to have:
Other dried fruit for bliss balls, muesli bars and homemade granola
Freeze dried fruit – a little expensive but it does go a long way!
Raspberry balsamic vinegar – tastes amazing as a dressing!
Some bliss ball type snacks for those times when you don’t have anything prepared.
Feta cheese and hard cheese
Unsweetened natural yoghurt or Greek yoghurt
Frozen berries (or fresh when in season)
Baby spinach or other greens for salads
Other fruits/vegetables – chop some up and store in containers in the fridge for snacks
Cheese, yoghurt and milk are an excellent source of calcium, Vitamin A and B12. Yoghurt and milk are also good sources of protein to help keep you satisfied.
Fruit and vegetables provide lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and can form the base of many meals. Frozen berries are super handy for smoothies and to add to cereal and oats when berries are not in season. Eggs are easy and fast to prepare and provide a range of nutrients as well as being a source of protein.
Nice to haves:
Smoked salmon (you can just use tinned salmon as a cheaper option)
Pesto and hummus can be used as spreads and dips and smoked salmon is a good source of protein and omega 3 fats.
So here’s what you can put together:
A yummy combination of oats, milk, yoghurt, fruit and seeds, this makes a nice alternative to porridge in the summer. Here’s the basic recipe:
Soak ½ cup of oats with ½ cup milk overnight. In the morning, stir through unsweetened yoghurt, fruit and top with nuts and seeds plus extra fruit and coconut. You can make more than one day’s worth too, just double or triple etc the recipe.
The chia seeds in this recipe provide over 11g of fibre – that’s about 1/3 of your daily needs! Fibre is great for your digestive system and gut bacteria and also helps keep you feeling full. Chia seeds are also a good source of a number of other vitamins and minerals and contain some plant based omega 3 fats, so they make a nourishing breakfast. Here’s how to make a basic chia pudding:
Soak 2 tablespoons chia seeds overnight with 1/2 cup of milk. Add fruit plus nuts and seeds. If you like things a wee bit sweeter drizzle with a teaspoon of maple syrup or honey. Top with a dollop of yoghurt. Here’s another recipe for a raspberry and coconut chia pudding too.
There are so many different ways you can have eggs for breakfast. Poached or scrambled on toast with tomato and avocado, omelets with vegetables and feta cheese, sweet omelettes with yoghurt and fruit…. Check out the recipes I have here for some inspiration.
A combination of oats, nuts, seeds, coconut and either dried or freeze dried fruit makes a delicious nourishing breakfast. I’ve got a couple of yummy recipes here cashew, coconut and strawberry and also a recipe for plum, cashew and coconut muesli/granola. Top with a dollop of natural yoghurt.
Smoothies are a great quick breakfast that you can have on the go. There’s so many ways you can create a smoothie but my basic formula is a mixture of milk, yoghurt, fruit, vegetables and nuts or seeds. I’ve created a guide for making balanced smoothies here.
Having some quick, healthy lunch options makes life so much easier. With just a few items listed above you can create a range of different lunch options in less than five minutes. Here’s some options for one serve –
- Heat one brown rice cup and mix through salmon, feta cheese, avocado, cherry tomato, red onion, red capsicum and baby spinach. Stir through a teaspoon of raspberry balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
- Rinse and drain a tin of chickpeas. Heat a teaspoon or two of olive oil in a pan. Add the half the chickpeas and sprinkle over 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika and a sprinkle of dried oregano. Place in a bowl and mix through a heaped teaspoon of pesto. Add cherry tomato halves, chopped capsicum, and a sprinkle of feta cheese and a tablespoon of cashew nuts.
- Cook a serve of quinoa as per instructions on packet. Mix through some smoked salmon, chopped cucumber, tomato and red onion. Add a dollop of natural yoghurt mixed with fresh herbs.
- Heat one brown rice cup and place in bowl. Add baby spinach, chopped cherry tomato, cucumber, avocado and chickpeas (if you want, pan fry in olive oil with some smoked paprika first), feta cheese.
- A range of sandwiches and wraps – you can make them vegetarian with cheese and salad, or do smoked salmon and salad or even mashed feta and chickpea with salad.
I find I need a snack between meals some days to help tide me over and these are some of my favourite nourishing options that are also delicious 🙂
With the essentials listed you can have:
*Yoghurt with berries or other fruit
*A handful of nuts
*Homemade bliss balls (check out a recipe here) or store bought bars/balls for those times you don’t have anything prepared.
*Roasted chickpeas (recipe here)
*Vegetable sticks, cheese and hummus
* Individual yoghurt containers. I like De Winkle plain unsweetened. These are great to grab for work when you’re running late!
WIN WIN WIN!!
I hope this helps you to kick start 2017 with lots of healthy meal ideas. To help you out, I’m also giving away a $150 Prezzy card! To be in the draw to win, simply comment below with what your favourite idea is from above. Competition is open to NZ residents only sorry and will be drawn on Saturday 14th January. Winner will be notified by email and published on this post after the 14th January.
WINNER: Congratulations Maia! Check your emails 🙂
This post was made possible thanks to Fonterra.