Chef – Nutritional Therapist
Eating well can be simple and affordable. All it requires is the knack of maintaining a well-stocked supply of staple ingredients.
Utilising tinned, frozen, and dried foods can get you quite far in eating a balanced diet.
Frozen vegetables are ideal in ensuring you stay on top of your 5-a-day. Long-life vegetables, like onions and garlic, give meals body. Tins of tuna or pulses are convenient protein. Dried wholegrain pasta and rice bulk out meals, and your fibre, and condiments (mustard or soy sauce) and dried spices (cumin, chilli flakes and even dried stock cubes) keep meals interesting.
It can help keep the shopping lists streamlined and minimise food waste too.
It also pays to have a slightly systematic approach when buying fresh ingredients. For example, opting for a few items that have a relatively long shelf life (eggs, yoghurt, cheese, smoked fish) will see you through the week. Always having a couple of green vegetables on hand (broccoli, spinach) for those minerals, fresh herbs to brighten and lift meals – but start off with only getting parsley (versatile) and coriander (for anything vaguely “exotic”).
You could invest in fresh basil but it bruises and wilts easily so there is less chance of it lasting (I’d opt for dried oregano for anything vaguely Italian). Always have fresh salad leaves (try rocket or watercress rather than the generic iceberg) and a tub of hummus to help take an unimaginative lunch up a notch. For the fruit bowl go for bananas (quick snack), lemons (to brighten flat dressings or sauces) and having a bag of frozen berries makes an easy topper to yoghurt (dessert) or porridge (breakfast). It might all sound rather formulaic but systemising your staples makes eating well conveniently easy. Here are some examples of flavourful, no fuss meals to create at home.