Store Cupboard Essentials for Healthy Eating
At Combe Grove we offer all food groups as part of our food ethos, this is because we know we are all individual and what might work well for one person may not be ideal for the next. As with many things, moderation is key, and we shouldn’t rely heavily on one food source to meet all our dietary requirements. If you have allergies, intolerances or choose to remove any from your diet, please get advice to make sure you are supplementing any nutrients you may be missing.
It is also to be mindful that provenance is everything, especially when it comes to animal products.
Store Cupboard Essentials – Protein
Protein is an essential part of any diet, regardless of whether you eat meat or if you are vegan.
We find protein in many different foods not just animal products, but nuts and seeds, beans and pulses, legumes and soya products such as tofu. As one of our macro nutrients, protein is important for cellular repair and growth. On average, a woman needs 45g and a man 55g per day depending on body weight. This is not the same as 45g or 55g of meat fish or tofu as those foods also contains different nutrients as well. Protein is broken down in the stomach which takes time, and therefore keeps us feeling satiated for longer.
Protein is an important part of your diet when trying to lose weight or keep blood sugars balanced. Adding protein at breakfast and lunch can be a game changer for many people. Having a stocked store cupboard can help with meal planning and also saving money.
As we age, getting enough protein in our diet is important to maintain muscle mass, which in turn helps to support our core strength and stability. In your cupboard, stock up on beans and pulses, adding these to your meals and creating healthy recipes has numerous benefits to your health and wellbeing.
In a vegetarian diet we recommend the following protein sources which can be fresh or store cupboard essentials; nuts and seeds including sesame, flaxseed, cashews and almonds to name a few. Tofu and soya are protein dense, however as these can be genetically modified, always choose organic versions. Tempeh is an ideal protein source as it is fermented and better for gut bacteria. Keeping canned chickpeas or kidney beans, as an example, in the pantry is helpful when you need extra protein in your meal plan and improving recipes at home.
Dairy is a good source of protein, especially eggs, and also stronger cheeses such as feta or goat’s cheese but with these a little goes a long way as delicious as they are as ingredients to cook with.
For meat-eaters, provenance is important. Fresh meat, fish and game are rich in protein; however, it is strongly recommended that these foods are wild, organic or grass-fed to ensure a healthy meal for you and the family.
With a higher protein content on your plate, there is less need to fill up on carbohydrates such as pasta and rice.
Store Cupboard Essentials – Natural fats
Fat has been given a bad reputation over the last 30 years or so, with the belief that consuming fat makes you fat, whereas it has been noted that following a low-fat diet makes it harder to encourage weight loss due to the exchange of fat for sugar.
Whilst it is true, per gram, that fat is more calorific, it’s not that simple.
Essential fatty acids (EFA), as the name suggests, are essential to our health as we cannot synthesis them in our body, so we need to consume them.
Every single cell in our body has a layer of fat or lipid which keeps them healthy and pliable. They help to satiate us and keeps us feel full and satisfied.
Natural fats reduce the glycemic impact of a meal, so you don’t get the spike in blood glucose and the corresponding crash thereafter.
Where do we find natural fats? Lean meats and poultry, ideally free-range organic grass fed or wild in the case of fish. Dairy in moderation is a source of natural fat, but again provenance is key. Oily fish is high in omega 3 (specific type of EFA).
For those on a vegetarian or plant rich diet, most beneficial fats are found in Extra Virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, coconut oil and ghee, which is a clarified organic butter. These are great store cupboard staples to aid healthy eating. The best oils for cooking include avocado oil and coconut oil as these can withstand higher heat.
Avoid Trans-fat or Hydrogenated fat which can be found in margarine, cheap baked goods, biscuits, Palm oil and vegetable oils. Trans-fat and Hydrogenated fat are not natural and have been created as a cheap ingredient often to make foods last longer. Also, be mindful that low fat products often have more sugar in them as a lot of flavour is carried in fat.