It’s July, and nothing makes me happier than a fully stocked cupboard piled high with my favourite ingredients! It’s so hard to know what to buy, as eating healthily means that a lot of foods go off quickly because they are fresh. I always keep the fridge topped up with my favourite fruit and veg, including spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, alpro almond yoghurt, almond breeze milk, broccoli and asparagus to name a few. When it comes to throwing these together to come up with some delicious dishes, desserts and treats, there are a few ingredients that I can always rely on…
1. We can hope all we like, but we all know that unfortunately chocolate can’t be healthy. If you thought that dark chocolate was the healthiest, you thought wrong: behold Creative Nature Organic Cacao Powder. This stuff is incredible, and you don’t need much to get the rich chocolate flavour. Cacao powder is chocolate in its rawest form, before anything has been added to it and so it’s the purest of the pure. I love to keep a tub of this in my cupboard as it’s brilliant for adding into porridge and baking, and I also use it to make my own healthy hot chocolate. Simply heat some almond milk up on the hob, add a teaspoon of raw cacao and a dash of honey or maple syrup to sweeten before stirring it all together. I also keep Creative Nature Organic Cacao Nibs in my cupboard because they’re a healthy version of chocolate chips – perfect for those cookies you want to bake!
2. Gone are the days of adding olive oil or butter to cooking, Vita Coco Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is super healthy and delicious, adding a hint of the tropics to your cooking with a coconut taste. I used to dislike coconut because it was such an acquired taste, but after adapting my diet and trying new foods, I have a new love for all things coconut. Perfect for baking healthy cooking and cakes for greasing the tins, or for adding in as a substitute to butter, coconut oil is never not in my cupboard.
3. Ah, my Cocoa Orange Nakd Bars; the best on-the-go snack. These raw fruit and nut bars are what inspired me to create my raw fruit and nut bites, but if I haven’t pre made any and I’m in a rush then I’ll always have a Nakd bar in my bag. Nakd pride themselves in their wheat, gluten and dairy free bars, also suitable for vegetarians and vegans, which means that almost anybody can eat them. They come in so many different flavours, but as a chocolate lover, these take priority. Read about my homemade raw fruit and nut bites inspired by Nakd bars here!
4. Peanut butter = heaven, and I can’t go a day without having my peanut butter fix. I always make sure that I have stock in my cupboard of my favourite brand: Meridian Peanut Butter. Perfect for adding a little extra to porridges and smoothies, or simply for a morning or afternoon snack, packed full of energy, peanut butter is my go to treat. Who needs chocolate when you have peanut butter? Read more about my favourite PB snacks here!
5. Sugar and spice and all things nice, that’s what cooking is made of. When it comes to cooking, I love to play around with spices and flavourings to add that extra zing and make my dishes pop! Chilli flakes and cayenne pepper are ones that I add to all of my meals as they’re great metabolism boosters, so keep a look out for my post ‘Top Metabolism Booster Spices’ coming soon. I’ve recently discovered Pro Fusion Himalayan Rose Pink Crystal Salt which I love adding to my recipes. Not only is it pink (yay), but it has less sodium than ordinary table salt and is packed with minerals including sulphate, magnesium, calcium, potassium, bicarbonate, bromide, borate, strontium, and fluoride, in turn increasing hydration and strengthening bones. When it comes to adding salt and pepper to your meals, Himalayan Pink Salt is the way forward!
6. Almond Flour is my baking must have and is my favourite gluten-free flour. Coconut flour, and rice flour, buckwheat flour and quinoa flour are some other alternatives just to name a few, but almond flour is my favourite and I use it in the majority of my recipes. Brilliant for making those cookies, brownies and cakes that you crave, I also use this to make my own falafels. It’s so versatile and is basically really finely blended almonds, so if you can’t find any or need some in a hurry, just whiz up some almonds in a food processor to make your own.
7. Coffee, coffee, coffee. Where would we be without it? I wouldn’t be out of bed that’s for sure! My favourite coffee is Clipper Organic Decaf Instant Coffee as it’s backed with flavour and of course, organic. I try not to drink too much coffee, as no matter how organic it is, it’s still not brilliant for you, but I always make sure I have some in supply. Whether it’s making an iced black coffee or an almond milk latte, or adding it to my Fruit and Nut Bites for a coffee shot in a snack, this stuff really is full of beans. It also has some hidden health benefits, bonus! Read more about them here.
8. Packed with antioxidants, Goji Berries have been used in Chinese medicines to manage a number of different health issues and can also be eaten raw, cooked or dried. These little mood boosting fellas can be enjoyed on their own, or sprinkled onto fruit bowls for some added flavour, or my personal favourite, adding to a delicious bowl of warm porridge. Go goji!
9. Go nuts for nuts! Almonds are one of the best nuts that you can eat, and you can do so much with them! Whether it’s making it into your own almond milk or grinding them down into a flour for baking, or just simply eating a few as a snack, they’re packed with nutrients and are the lowest-calorie nuts, with 1oz containing 160 calories, 6g of protein and 14g of fat. So many people are concerned with how fatty nuts are, and whilst this is true and you shouldn’t eat more than a few, they are a healthy fat and one that we need to survive. I keep plenty of nuts in my cupboard, but almonds are definitely my number one.
10. Medjool Dates are deliciously chewy and are a perfect alternative to sugar as they give you that extra boost. Packed with goodness, they can be eaten on their own, but make sure you remove the stones first, or you can incorporate them into baking. I love putting them into my guilt free cookie mixes as this makes them sweeter and helps the cookie dough to stick together. They’re also one of the key ingredients in my Raw Fruit and Nut Bites so I always make sure I have stock!