I love cooking and experimenting with recipes. Mostly I am striving to make the recipe healthy in some way. Maybe it means using a flax egg versus a chicken egg. Maybe it means I use almond flour instead of white flour. Maybe it means I use a meat-substitute like Quorn to make a recipe vegetarian. But I always find I have several staples in the pantry that are my go-to products to make a recipe more healthy. Below are the products I use most often!
1) Ground Flaxseed Meal. Flax Seed meal is so versatile and nutritious. Not only do I use it as an add-in for oatmeal to increase omega intake but I use it for flax eggs as well. Flax eggs are great for baking and binding anything together. I use flax eggs when making meatloaf, muffins, cookies - really anything that calls for eggs. I try to limit the amount of eggs I eat to once or twice a week. The brand I buy is Bob's Red Mill but I am sure there are other brands out there to try! Click on the image to be brought to the product page on BobsRedMill.com.
2) Healthy Grains. Quinoa, barley and farro are the three grains I always have in the pantry. They are great for soups, salads, main dishes and side dishes. They are healthier than white rice or pasta. Barley contains fiber, selenium, B vitamins, and magnesium. Farro and Quinoa are high in protein which makes both grains sought after ingredients for main dishes and great for meatless Monday dinners! If you haven't tried Quinoa or Farro, below are links to easy recipes you can try.
3) Nut Flours and/or Whole Wheat Flours. Depending on if you have a gluten-allergy, there are a ton of choices available to buy a healthier flour. Almond flour is my favorite to work with and is very healthy. Almond flour is low in carbs, rich in Vitamin E and Magnesium. Almond flour also releases its sugar slowly into your system which means your blood sugar stays stable.
Almond flour can be substituted as a 1 to 1 ratio in any baked goods. The only difference is that any baked goods will be more dense and flat because almond flour is gluten-free. Whole Wheat flour is another healthy option, if you don't have gluten issues. Whole Wheat flour is more absorbent than white flour so it requires more liquid when baking with it. So a little trial an error will be needed if you totally swap white flour with wheat flour.
4) Nutritional Yeast. Haven't tried it? It is very popular when cooking vegan food. Since I am flextarian, I eat vegetarian / vegan meals 3-4 days a week. Nutritional yeast has a cheesy flavor which also makes it great to use if you have a dairy allergy. It is a great source of protein, B vitamins and contains all 9 amino acids. Amino acids can only be sourced from foods. If you haven't cooked with nutritional yeast, you should definitely try this soup recipe - Creamy Cauliflower Wild Rice Soup by Running On Real Food.
5) Canned beans. That's right - canned beans. I don't know about you but I don't have time to soak beans. So canned beans are a must. I always buy low sodium and wash the beans really well before using them. Did you know you can remove 40% of the sodium of the beans simply by rinsing them well under water? I make hummus, use them in vegetarian stir-fry, add them to salads and soups, and make bean burgers.
I hope this post helped you think differently about how you can stock your pantry with healthy products for cooking and baking. If you'd like to get more healthy living tips and recipes for free, follow my blog on Bloglovin.