As a Real Foodie, I'm often asked what my pantry looks like?
Well, I like to think it reflects my family and respects our individual needs. It's stocked with unprocessed and locally sourced food, plenty of flavour and colour plus even a few sneaky mod-cons that you may not expect a nutritionist to eat! It's full of food that makes us feel good and that means mostly eating organic and avoiding preservatives, additives, food colouring, artificial sweeteners, pretty much anything that has a number attached.So here it is, my pantry laid out bare for you to peruse. Eat well and listen to your body.
I have a wide selection of grains on hand for family meals and baking, and enough flour varieties to feed my family's insatiable sourdough addiction.
• Stone ground flours are best — they retain more nutrients and go through less processing. It's best freshly milled but we tend to buy more frequently in small amounts to ensure freshness.• When introducing solids to infants I recommend holding off on all grains and legumes until their molar teeth have come through. Read more →
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are perfect for adding a little extra crunch to salads, on their own as a snack, and as a flour replacement in baking
• I recommend raw nuts and seeds over roasted — store bought roasted nuts frequently contain harmful vegetable oils and are seasoned with table salt.
• Smoothies are a great way to add superfoods to your day especially when it's been a little lacklustre on the Real Food front.
• Try activating your nuts by soaking and then dehydrating. Nuts that have not been activated contain phytates, unfortunately these little suckers bind to some of our most precious minerals such as Zinc, Magnesium, Iron and Calcium meaning our body loses out!• When buying nut butters choose ones that do not have any added oils or salt (unless sea salt).
Sugar comes in many forms. Since we use sparingly I've stocked ones that add the most to my pantry.
• Look for sulphite free dried fruit — they're often organic and tend to be darker as the fresh fruit colour isn't preserved.• Get the most out of your honey by going raw — raw honey contains antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties making it perfect for resisting ills and chills. You'll most likey find it at your local farmers market.
Oils & Fats
Fats are a major component in all our meals, they help with satiety, they are needed for brain function and most importantly hormone production. We simply can not live a healthy life without them.
TIPS• Add fat to vegetables whether you sauté them in butter or coconut oil or drizzle something on afterwards — this increases your absorption of the fat soluble vitamins that are found in the vegetables.
Dried Herbs & Spices
It may seem crazy to have a huge selection of herbs and spices, but if you are serious about eating Real Food, they are essential for big flavours and leaving processed food in the dust.
• I've found that organic stores have remarkably cheap dried herbs and spices — most are far cheaper than the supermarket.• Something I love about spices is that you always get a hit of extra antioxidants. They are just so easy to add in to every meal. Cinnamon on your porridge, cumin in your scrambled eggs and paprika on your roasted chicken.
Amazing produce is a priority for my family and we do a weekly trip to our local farmers market and butcher to get all our fruit, veges, herbs, meat, eggs and honey spray free and organic. To fit within budget it's often quality over quantity especially with pricier cuts of meat.
• Save all your vegetable ends and meat bones for stock! Just keep in a large zip lock bag in the freezer until you're ready to use. Multitudes of nutrition, virtually free!• Freeze bananas when they start to brown to extend their life - perfect for chilled smoothies.
Lastly we have all the foods that we buy in for convenience. In a busy family environment we just don’t have the time to make everything from scratch so we select these carefully and stick to those that avoid preservatives, additives, artificial food colouring and artificial sweeteners. Fermented foods are a hot favourite and always on heavy rotation — we make our own sourdough bread with our beloved starter 'Artie', brew a mean kombucha and sauerkraut is my go-to to complement any savoury dish.
• There are helpful apps that you can easily use to understand all the various numbers and ingredients on labels. I recommend Chemical Maze.• If you are buying in your ferments make sure they have not been pasteurised as this kills all the lovely probiotic goodness.