Nutritious store cupboard foods

Nutritious store cupboard foods

Fresh produce is great, but not always practical. Here are some healthy options you can have on standby in your cupboard for midweek meals.

The healthy eating message is constantly hammered home by the health experts, with the emphasis on fresh, nutritious ingredients. But let’s get real: even shopping weekly can be a bit of a chore if you’re juggling family, work and social life, and even when you do manage to buy in lots of goodies, life gets in the way of you doing it justice.

Rather than giving up on the idea of healthy eating altogether, think carefully about what you buy, so you’ve always got some super-nutritious foods in the store-cupboard or freezer, ready for when you have the time to use them.
Believe it or not, it is possible to get your five a day without peeling a fruit or wielding a sharp knife. If you’ve got a few of the following, plus a stash of pasta, rice and noodles, there’s simply no excuse for calling in a takeaway.

Long-life cartons or bottles aren’t as nice as freshly squeezed, but as they are airtight and pasteurised they keep for ages, and their vitamin C is protected.  One glass still counts as one of your five a day.

Frozen veg (and fruit)
This option for fruit and veg is preferable to canned, and often better than some of the supposedly fresh produce you’ll find in the shops, as it is prepared and frozen really quickly after picking, giving no time to destroy that precious vitamin C and otherwise deteriorate. Peas and sweetcorn are the obvious choices, but you’ll also find spinach, broccoli, courgettes, plus ready-prepared mixes ideal for stir-frying or steaming. Vitamin C-packed berries and currants are also good frozen.


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Dried fruit
This also counts to your five a day. Because it’s dried it has a higher density of nutrients than in its original form, although some vitamins will have been lost in the drying process. A great source of fibre and minerals, they make an ideal snack and a good rich cake, or even as an added ingredient to a curry or stew.  Raisins, apricots (preferably unsulphured), prunes, pears, mango, papaya, pineapple – the choice is huge these days.

Nuts and seeds
Bursting with vitamins, minerals and protein, a good stock of these can really liven up your cooking: dry-fry to add extra flavour to a stir-fry, add to salads, use them in baking… Make sure you consume nuts by their use-by date as they can be harmful if left too long.

In the can
Tuna, salmon, sardines, anchovies, chickpeas, kidney (butter, borlotti, haricot) beans, lentils, tomatoes – all are healthy staples available in cans. Choose beans with no added salt or sugar, rinse them over when you open the can. And drain tinned fish well: they’re usually preserved in brine or oil, both of which should be avoided in excess.

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Hum mm yummy and not spend a lot time in the kitchen good

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