Can you give your meals a health kick by simply refreshing a few small ingredients in your kitchen cupboards? We posed the question to nutritionist and fitness instructor Cassandra Barns and this is what we learnt…
1. Throw out your vegetable oils
Most nutritionists agree that vegetable cooking oils such as sunflower oil are actually worse for your health than animal fats. So instead of using vegetable oil try using organic ghee instead, such as GHEE EASY [£6, Sainsbury’s]. Made from butter, ghee is rich in vitamins and a healthy fat for cooking at high temperatures.
2. Replace your tinned tuna with mackerel
Tinned mackerel is super-high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for the brain, heart, joints and skin. In comparison tinned tuna contains hardly any of these health-boosting fats.
3. Make Porridge a staple
Porridge oats, such as Nairn’s Scottish Porridge Oats [£2.05, Waitrose] are a natural source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B1, magnesium, iron, manganese and zinc, which have many vital roles in the body including supporting energy and immunity. They can easily be ‘dressed up’ to increase their deliciousness and nutrient content. Add fresh berries for sweetness and antioxidants, chopped nuts or seeds to increase the protein content, or sprinkle over a teaspoon of cinnamon, which may help with balancing blood sugar. Porridge can also be a good ‘emergency’ supper on the odd occasion you come in really late from work or the gym and don’t have time to prepare a meal.
4. Spice it up
Spices can have many health benefits: turmeric and ginger are great for the joints, and cumin and cardamom can aid digestion so make sure you always have plenty to hand when cooking. Use good-quality organic spices for the greatest health benefits.
5. Pack in plenty of beans and pulses
Beans, lentils and chickpeas have a lot going for them as a cupboard staple, yet many of us over look them, so make sure you add them to your list next time you do a food shop. They’re a great way to quickly and easily add some extra protein to salads, soups, stews and even stir-fries, and are a particularly important source of protein if you’re vegan or vegetarian.
Contributor: Alexandra Keates | CCD PR