Curious to know what foods a dietitian keeps in their kitchen? Here are 12 foods I always have on hand.

Disclaimer: It’s not just quinoa, kale, and plain tuna. As a dietitian, there is trusty food I always have to make whipping up Gordon Ramsey style, healthy meals a breeze. Maybe not three Michelin star quality, but they’re still very tasty.

1. Tinned legumes and vegetables

I like to be at a point where if I run out of food in my fridge, I can go to the pantry and be able to make full meals out of anything I have. Which is why I have an entire tray of tinned goods. From tinned corn, tomatoes and peas, to chickpeas, lentils and white beans.

We should be having three to four serves of legumes per week. So having this on hand, helps me easily meet those targets. Plus they’re super affordable and a great way to add more fibre.

2. Seeds and nuts

I have to admit, I like every single seed and nut that there is. I don’t buy salted because I only use them in cooking. And I’m not the kind of person to go for a handful of nuts.

My OG muesli recipe is one of the go to’s I always add different seeds and nuts to. As well as salads and stir-fry’s.

Checkout this recipe for the BEST homemade toasted muesli.

3. Pre-made sauces

Sauces and salad dressings have gotten a bad rap. But they’re definite winners and essential hero items in my eyes.

Think about it like this: if adding a yummy sauce and calories when you’re cooking means you’re more likely to cook at home, enjoy the process, and want to eat leftovers the next day- then that’s a big win!

Stop making vegetables suck. Add a yummy dressing or sauce to make it fun and actually enjoyable. Image: Lyndi Cohen

4. Extra virgin olive oil

Tips for olive oil: the extra virgin does matter. It’s more rich in antioxidants and polyphenols. But it’s best to replace (or use) within six weeks, as the antioxidants start to oxidise. It’s also best to store in a cool, dark place. Not above the stove, because heat affects those antioxidants and it oxidises at a faster rate, changing its composition.

5. Chocolate

I don’t always have a block of chocolate in the house. If I feel like having some, I go and buy it. The Aldi dark chocolate is probably my favourite. So yum. But it’s not an everyday food for me.

In saying that, the Lindt chocolate flakes are always in my pantry. I love sprinkling them on my cappuccino in the morning. It makes me a very happy lady. 

I’m all for adding in the foods we love into our day, so they don’t feel like a special occasion. It’s just part of life.

6. Spices

I have at least 30 different spices in my spice drawer. Might seem crazy. I don’t know if that’s a common. But I have the full plethora of things that I commonly use. I want to be able to make cooking as enjoyable and experienced as possible. I find it stressful if I have to think to myself, “what should I make for dinner” every single night, then rush out and go get those ingredients. I like to be a little bit planned.

Side note: If you don’t want to spend the rest of your life obsessing about what you should cook, try out my Back to Basics app. It will help take the mental load of thinking about what to cook all the time. Help you get your groceries delivered with an integrated shopping list. And you can adjust the portion sizes of every recipe to suit how many people you’re cooking for. So if you want to cook 10-20 minute meals for your family with no fuss- I’ve got your back. Cooking should be enjoyable and Back to Basics will help you do that.

7. Grains and pasta

Rice, pasta, couscous and oats are the main carbs I always have on hand. And there’s never really a day I don’t add them into my meals. I don’t always have bread. I just have no moral obligation to it. I suppose the times I would have bread is if I have toast for breakfast. But I’m mostly on the muesli train. 

Remember, carbs are friends, not enemies. They give our body energy to think and move. Plus they make meals so much more filing and delicious!

Try this perfect pasta bake recipe. The name really does say it all.

8. Dairy

Personally, I can tolerate dairy. And unless you can’t tolerate it, or have an environmental reason not to have it, it’s a great food group to include.

I drink light milk. Only because I grew up on skim so I prefer the taste. Once again, there’s no moral obligation to it. Full fat just feels a bit much for me. And I like to have a glass of milk. Cow’s milk (and dairy in general) is a great source of calcium. But if you’re wondering what’s the best milk to drink- check out this blog post.

When it comes to yogurt, plain Greek is my go to because of how versatile it is. I add it to curries that are too spicy, make tzatziki or yoghurt bark out of it, add it to smoothies… the list is endless.

I also have all cheeses. Definitely a big fan of cheese.

Hot tip if you’re going for non-dairy yogurts: choose one with added probiotics.

9. Pre-marinated tofu

I know a lot of people can make their own marinades. But I personally don’t eat enough of it to justify it. I like having pre-marinated tofu as a snack, and just eat it raw. But I mostly add it to salads or stir fry’s.

10. Eggs

Some of my go-to recipes using eggs are shakshuka, fried rice, soft boiled eggs with cottage cheese on toast, egg muffins and french toast.

Eggs are a great source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. I always choose free range. For me, that’s important.

Recipe: Mushroom Shakshuka ​​​​​​(baked eggs in rich tomato sauce)

11. Ready-made meals

I also keep a bunch of frozen meals in the freezer. And when I meal prep, I like to freeze any leftovers. I find this to be such a time saver when I’ve had a busy day and don’t feel like cooking.

Oh and can’t forget frozen veggie dumplings. I like popping them in the air fryer. Especially on a Sunday night for a ‘can’t be bothered cooking’ type of meal. They’re so good. 

12. Fruit & veg

The top shelf of my fridge is full of fermented vegetables. Things like pickles, krauts and kimchi. Not only are they a great source of probiotics, but also add so much flavour to my meals.

When it comes to fresh fruit and vegetables, I always chose what’s in season. I’m constantly trying out new fruits. I know they cost a little bit more. But if you actually end up eating them, then it’s way more valuable than an apple that goes sad and doesn’t get eaten. 

You can also always expect to find a bag of peas, bananas (great for smoothies) and berries in my freezer.

Well, that pretty much wraps it all up.

I think the only thing I haven’t mentioned is the fact that I have a snack section in my pantry. But my go to snacks are a whole topic in itself.

If you want a taste of some of the delicious recipes you can find inside my Back to Basics app- download my free budget friendly recipe book!

What type of eater are you?

like an old school cosmo quiz