Well hello there Middle Eaters (excuse the pun, was it too much?) I’m here to share with you the 10 items I always have in my kitchen to ensure I can eat clean and don’t stray over to the dark side of processed food.
We all have those moments where we’re staring into our cupboard or fridge thinking, “Woah, I have nothing to eat!” Well, put down the pot noodle darling and brace yourself because I’m about let you in on some little secrets that will never have you uttering those words again.
Let’s start with the obvious:
Poach ‘em, scramble ‘em, stick ‘em in a pan. These delicate beauties are one versatile ingredient. If you want the nitty gritty they’re busting with iron, phosphorous, selenium and vitamins. If don’t give a flying chicken about that then how about the fact that they taste cracking served poached on bed of smashed avocado, sprinkled with dried chillies, a pinch of salt, cracked black pepper, dried parsley and my version of crack, smoked paprika. A hard-boiled egg makes an easy snack packed with protein. Quite frankly everything about these shelled delights is EGG-cellent! (yes, I went there)
Sadly I have to break it to you Popeye was wrong. Eating spinach won’t make your biceps pop instantly and give you gargantuan strength. Alas, I know it’s a heart-breaking fact BUT fresh spinach IS rich in iron. Iron plays a central role in the function of red blood cells which helps transport oxygen around the body and aids energy production. This is ace if your want to pump some ‘iron’ and pop those biceps with some serious gym action. You can throw spinach in just about anything; curry, sandwiches, scrambled eggs, casseroles, salad. I like to think of it as the culinary courtesan…it likes to get around at a reasonable price. Just remember don’t be stingy on the amount you use in your cooking because of its high water content it’ll reduce its amount by about a quarter.
Wraps, the perfect bread substitute. They don’t sit heavy in your tum or make you feel bloated. I use them for fajitas, quesadillas, homemade taco shells and tortilla chips as well as just dipping them in some hummus for a tasty snackaroo. Scramble some eggs with a dollop of cream cheese, wholegrain mustard, a sprinkling of smoked paprika, dried chillies and corriander. Scramble your eggs to your liking then pop ‘em in wrap to make yourself an eggy breakfast burrito.
Salad is salad, we know it’s healthy so just eat it, kay?! I often buy a couple of bags of mixed leaves and some rocket to pop in a chubby tupperware container and store in the fridge. Don’t be shy, throw in some pomegranate seeds or smashed mixed nuts to make your salad less boring. I squeeze half a lemon over my salad and shake it, shake it, shake it like a polaroid picture…or until the leaves are evenly coated. This will make them last an extra day or two. I use my salad throughout the week in sandwiches, as an accompaniment to a main or just as a snack with a yummy dressing and a tin of tuna.
Quinoa and grains
Like salad if you make a batch up at the beginning of the week you can dip into it on those busy days where you just don’t have a minute to spare. There are loads of recipes and handy tips online (Pinterest being my personal fave) that can help you figure out how to make the most of quinoa. It is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates and fiber that balances blood sugar while providing the essential glucose your brain craves. Quinoa is also a good source for iron to keep blood oxygenated and B vitamins to balance moods and protects blood vessels. This super-grain is also gluten free so it sort of ticks all the boxes and is a healthy substitute for pasta.
Squash and sweet potatoes
These autumnal beauties are great to add to salads, wraps and soups. They just add that little bit of healthy sweetness to any dish. Squash and sweet potatoes are a great source of potassium which is good for controlling your blood pressure and muscle performance. They’re also bursting with fiber which as we know aids digestion. Squash is a bitch to peel, you know it I know it. BUT BEHOLD if you preheat your oven to 200°C, stab your squash repeatedly all over with a medium to large knife and plonk it in the oven for about an hour (obviously depends on the size) once cooked you can slice it in half and easily scoop out the insides.
Avocados are basically the ninja fruit! They’re a great source of monounsaturated fats, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. These increase blood flow to the brain, lower cholesterol, and aid in the absorption of antioxidants. They even have a bunch of their own antioxidants, such as vitamin E and are also a wonderful source of potassium. They’re yummy enough to eat on their own or popped on top of toast for a scrumptious mid-day snack. I like to use avocado as a substitute for mayo as well as pop on top of a salad, bake with eggs or even throw inside a wrap. They’re fleshy green center is also a nifty companion to your morning power smoothie.
With high levels of protein chickpeas are a smashing way for vegans and veggies to get their much-needed dose. They are able to provide a comparable amount of protein against meat and dairy WITHOUT the high calories and saturated fats. They’re also riddled with fibre and manganese, which aids digestion and energy production. Chickpeas are a bloody versatile legume that’s for sure!! Traditionally a part of Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine you’re not just limited to using them for hummus, falafel and curry. They’re a handy way to bulk out stews and casseroles or even add to a soup that could benefit with a subtle nutty taste.
Berries basically help kick cancer’s butt as they are riddled with antioxidants. Strawberries and raspberries boost your metabolism and also blueberries help prevent heart disease. Berries are basically nature’s sweeties, I can’t get enough! It’s no secret that berries tend to loose their sass after a day or two is it? If your berries start to look a little sad wash ‘em, freeze ‘em and pop them into some bags to freeze so you can add them to a smoothie when needed.
This is literally my FAVOURITE ingredient in the whole wide world! It has just enough spiciness to be interesting, and its smokiness gives depth to recipes. You can use it on baked eggs, potato dishes, sprinkled over roasted veggies, and in stews. It’s perfect for adding just a hint flavour. Not so much that it defines a dish, but just enough to give it a smoky kick. It’s a great spice for adding flavour and depth to vegetarian and vegan dishes too. The paprika nutritional benefits are primarily due to the presence of a rich array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and an exceptionally high level of carotenoids. Its detoxifying, anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, and medicinal properties come from its rich content of vitamins C, K, E, A and B complex. So basically it’s the king of all spices. Bow out turmeric, you haven’t got what it takes.
This post was brought to you by guest blogger Jessiny from The Feel Good Revolution, a woman passionate about all things that will put a smile on your face.
Click over to her blog for more on her wonderful outlook on life.