(1) Nuts & seeds
Every dietitian knows that nuts and seeds are filled with plant-based protein sources packed with vitamins , minerals and healthy fats. Only a small handful is all you need to give your breakfast, salad, or snack time a bit of crunch and also a nutrient punch! They seem a bit expensive on the shelf, but a little does go a long way. Try and choose unsalted versions wherever possible but roasted or raw is up to you.
My personal favourites are: almonds, cashews, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds.
(2) Oils & Dressings
What makes a salad good? It’s the dressing of course! Give those veg some lovin’ with some oil and vinegar. In my kitchen, you will find a few different types of oils and also a few types of vinegars to add some healthy fats and flavour to salads and veg. I like to mix and match my dressings with acidity from lemons and limes and some spice from ginger, chilli or garlic.
My favourites are: olive oil and avocado oil, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar and sweet fig balsamic.
(3) Lentils, beans, peas
Lentils and beans are a definite staple and it’s perfect for #meatfreemondays. These guys count as vegetables OR as a source of protein, talk about versatile. I like them in salads, soups, nachos or blending up some hummus.
My favourites are: brown lentils, chickpeas, red kidney beans, 4 bean mix, fresh green peans, frozen peas, snow peas.
This might just be me, but I love using new grains! I especially love finding wholegrains, they have more fibre, B vitamins and minerals too to include in soups, as sides, spring salads or as a flour for my Sunday morning pancakes
My favourites are: pearl barley, wholegrain basmati rice, tri-colour quinoa, wholemeal couscous, spelt flour, pasta!
(5) Green leafy veg
Sounds boring I know, but there at least two shelves in my fridge dedicated to green leafy veg. They are perfect for salads, and a simple mixed leaves bag is all you need to help you get your 5 serves of veg in! You can also use greens in risotto, pasta and other meals, like a favourite of mine spinach and ricotta pie.
My favourites are: lettuce, baby spinach, rocket, English spinach.
(6) Low-fat yoghurt
Yoghurt is a perfect base for breakfast or as a snack, filled with probiotics to help maintain the good gut bugs in your tummy. You can also add yoghurt to your meals instead of sour cream or coconut milk in a curry. Yoghurt is a great source of protein and also calcium for healthy teeth and bones. What’s not to love? Wherever possible, choose low-fat and minimally flavoured yoghurt to stop the sugars and calories spinning out of control.
My favourites are: Chobani vanilla squeezy pouches, Chobani lightly sweetened, any type of Greek yoghurt.
I think I’ve stated my love for eggs before. These little guys are not only filled with protein, they are just so versatile! They’re one of the only foods that you can make in so many different ways and for any meal or snack, from a simple omelette to a frittata, pancakes to baking muffins. Don’t sweat it too much about the cholesterol in the yolk, it actually has little effect on your blood cholesterol and it isn’t worth avoiding them for all the nutrition you get from them!