A nutritionist’s Winter Pantry Essentials

A nutritionist’s Winter Pantry Essentials

Having a well stocked pantry is a great way to set yourself up to make quality food choices and support your health and immunity through winter. We asked qualified nutritionist, Harriet Lidgard, what her pantry staples are. Shopping lists at the ready… 

Oats: A warm bowl of porridge is a favourite breakfast of mine when it's cold, therefore oats are always kept on hand. I like to choose jumbo oats as they keep me fuller for longer and cause a lower spike in blood sugars. Creating a good bowl of porridge and topping it with things like greek yoghurt, berries and nuts or seeds is a great easy balanced and filling breakfast to fuel your mornings. 

Frozen fruits and vegetables: It is often thought that frozen fruit and veg is not as good as fresh, however this is not true and they can provide just as much goodness. I love to keep things like berries, bananas, peas, green beans, corn and spinach in the freezer for adding to smoothies, curries and other meals during winter as they are convenient.

Greens powder: Including a greens powder in the morning is a great way to get in some extra greens first thing and is a small routine that can help support your immune system. I currently love to use Free Soul Greens as it includes 21 active ingredients. 

Wholegrains: Brown rice, quinoa and good quality seeded sourdough bread are my go to carbohydrates. These are easy to keep on hand and add a good source of complex carbohydrates to meals. Microwave options are also great for making meals quick, easy and balanced. 

Nuts & seeds: Keeping a range of nuts and seeds in the pantry is a great way to add a little extra nutrients, healthy habits and fibre to meals. Some of my favourites are chia seeds (a great source of omega-3 fatty acids), hemp seeds (source of magnesium and other nutrient), pumpkin seeds (rich in vitamins and minerals like manganese and vitamin K), sesame seeds (for a boost of calcium), walnuts (omega-3 and a range of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins). Also nut butters such as peanut or almond butter are a must for easy toast toppings and adding a source of healthy fats to smoothies, dressings, stir-fries or curries. 

Legumes: I keep canned legumes such as chickpeas, cannellini beans, kidney beans, mixed beans and lentils in the cupboard. They are super convenient and add an easy source of protein and extra fiber to meals and salads. Legumes are often overlooked and are something that we can all try to include more of in our diets.

Vitamin D supplement: It is important to supplement with vitamin D during the winter months in the UK. I like to keep this in the pantry so that it reminds me to take it with food each day. Because vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin it needs to be taken with food with healthy fats in order to be absorbed and used in the body. It is an important nutrient that is needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.

Lemon: A great source of vitamin C and very versatile. Perfect for making hot drinks and dressings. A hack for winter is to keep the pre-squeezed lemon juice in the fridge if fresh lemons aren’t easily available. One of my favourite things when I am feeling a little under the weather is to make a hot lemon, honey and ginger drink.

Ginger: I keep crushed ginger, ground ginger and frozen ginger on hand. Ginger supports immunity, aids digestion and gut mobility and is loaded with antioxidants. It can be easily added to cooking, hot drinks and baking. 

Spices & Herbs: Some of my favourites include; smoked paprika, cumin, cinnamon and turmeric. Spices and herbs are great for adding extra flavour, variety and taste to meals to keep things interesting, delicious and also support a healthy gut. For example, adding cinnamon to meals can aid blood sugar balancing as it slows carbohydrate digestion and insulin release. I love to add it to porridge, hot drinks, smoothies and yoghurt bowls. Turmeric, is also a beneficial addition known for being anti-inflammatory and having antioxidant effects.

Protein powder: Having a good quality protein powder on hand, like Free Soul's Vegan Blend, is an easy way to make sure you are getting adequate protein at meals. I like to add it to things like oats, yoghurt bowls, smoothies and snacks to ensure these are going to keep me full and energised throughout the mornings.

Extra virgin olive oil: A seriously great, versatile ingredient and source of healthy fats. Including a source of healthy fats in meals is important for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, E, D and K. Therefore, adding extra virgin olive oil to meals when cooking, roasting or as dressings is an easy way to ensure you are getting healthy fats in your diet.

Discover more tips from Harriet @harriet_well