A top nutritionist has offered a peek into her pantry and shared the nine items she always has on hand, meaning she is able to cook a quick and nutritious meal.
Sydney-based Jessica Sepel said it’s important to have a well-stocked pantry if you’re trying to be healthy or else going to the takeaway menu can get all too tempting.
“These are my nine staples,” Jessica placed on her Instagram page, in addition to a grid with staples such as brown rice, tuna, herbs, pasta and good quality pasta sauce.
So what does she swear by?
A top nutritionist has offered a peek into her pantry and shared the nine items she always has on hand, meaning she is able to cook a quick and nutritious meal (Jessica Sepel shown)
Jessica Sepel (photo) from Sydney said it’s important to have a well-stocked pantry when trying to be healthy, or it can get all too tempting to go to the takeaway menu
Among the foods in the nutritionist’s nine staples are spices, whole-wheat pasta, crackers, rice cakes, and legumes (photo)
1. Rice cakes
The first thing Jessica said she always makes sure she has rice cakes, which means if she needs a snack she can always take a whole grain rice cake and spread it with nut butter or some avocado from the fridge.
“Some of my favorite snacks are half avocado rice cakes or almond butter rice cakes, sliced bananas, and cinnamon,” Jessica said.
She gets hers from health food stores, but you can also find them at large supermarkets.
2. Quality pasta sauce
The nutritionist also said she likes to keep a jar or two of high-quality pasta sauces in her pantry so she can use it for pasta dishes and ragus.
Jessica explained that the good thing about good quality whole grain pasta and pasta sauce is that you can always make lunch or dinner within 20 minutes.
If you want to make it healthier, you can always make your dish great with lots of vegetables.
Jessica said canned tuns (photo) are an ‘easy and affordable protein source’ you can use to make wraps, salads and pasta dishes
3. Canned tuna
Tuna is a staple in many households, and Jessica’s is no exception.
“Canned tuna is an easy and affordable source of protein,” Jessica said said.
“When purchasing tuna, look for varieties in spring water or, if canned in oil, for brands that use extra virgin olive oil.”
The nutritionist uses the protein source to make salads, wraps and quick pasta dishes.
It also works well in warm salads or so-called ‘buddha’ bowls.
Jessica said she uses brown rice (photo) with curries, stews, and wild salmon to ensure she has healthy dinners on hand
4. Brown rice
Not many nutritionists will say you shouldn’t have brown rice in your pantry.
Jessica uses hers several times a week alongside curries, stews, and hot salads.
“Brown rice has a more nutty flavor and is tougher than white rice,” she said.
Jessica mainly eats it with salmon, or even with healthy fried rice with onion, garlic, kale, tamari, egg, sesame seeds and chili flakes.
5. Canned legumes
Whether lentils, beans or chickpeas, a range of legumes should always feature prominently in your pantry.
“Not only are canned beans and lentils affordable and practical, they’re also incredibly nutritious,” she said.
A serving of legumes (about half a cup) contains a whopping 7-9 grams of dietary fiber and a whopping 8 grams of protein.
“They also contain almost no saturated fat and are a source of B vitamins, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese and zinc.”
Use them in soups, hummus, bolognese sauce, on toast, in a bowl or in a curry.
Be it lentils, beans or chickpeas, a range of legumes (pictured) should always have a place of honor in your pantry
6. Nut butters
Jessica also loves having an assortment of nut butters on hand, including almond butter, peanut butter, and an assortment of spread.
She uses them on rice cakes, in desserts and even with rhizomes when she needs a snack.
Spices should be a mainstay of any good pantry.
Jessica’s favorites include chili flakes, curry powder, cinnamon, and tamari.
“A little spice makes everything taste good! I love filling my meals with a pinch of chili flakes to add an extra touch of flavor, ‘said Jessica.
8. Seed crackers
In addition to rice cakes, Jessica said she loves keeping seed crackers in her pantry.
These are great for snacking alone or with hummus or nut butter.
When particularly pressured by time, the nutritionist said she uses them to make a five-minute work lunch with Yumi’s pumpkin hummus, avocado, goat cheese, tomatoes, and arugula.
Finally, Jessica said you can’t go wrong with some pasta in your kitchen cupboards. She goes for whole wheat or the pulse (photo)
9. Pulse paste
Finally, Jessica said you can’t go wrong with some pasta in your kitchen cupboards.
She goes for the whole grain or wrist variety because she said it is healthier and milder for the stomach.
Some of Jessica’s favorite things to make with the pasta are a creamy broccoli pasta or a tomato and basil with zucchini pasta.
She said pasta doesn’t have to be unhealthy if you pack it with lots of vegetables.