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Food essentials to make quick meals

There are key food items to have in your fridge, freezer and cupboard that can help if you need to pull together quick and good value meals.

We asked our nutrition team to tell us what food they always keep in stock and why. Here’s their list.

Fridge essentials

  • Low-fat milk
  • Cheese: choose strongly-flavoured, low-fat cheeses so you can use less and still have add lots of flavour. Cheese is great to add omelettes, toasties and pasta dishes.
  • Natural yoghurt which is great with cereal, chopped fruit or as a topping on soups and curries.
  • Hummus to use as a spread on bread or serve with vegetable sticks for a quick snack.
  • Different types of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Eggs which can be scrambled or boiled for breakfast or made into an omelette for lunch or dinner. Throw in some vegetables to make it even more tasty.

Freezer essentials

  • Freezing vegetables is a great way to store vegetables, ready for making curries, stews, soups or to serve as a side dish.
  • Different types of bread, handy to defrost when you need it
  • Buying meat and fish in bulk is often cheaper so to avoid food waste, divide it into amounts for one or two meals and freeze.
  • Freeze leftovers to eat later. A good tip is to label containers or freezer bags to keep track of what you have.
  • Freezing fruit can be handy but remember frozen imported berries must be boiled before you eat them.

Cupboard essentials

  • Tinned vegetables, tomatoes, fruit, beans, peas and fish is a great way to have ingredients at the ready for healthy dishes, and also reduce the possibility of food waste. Choose fruit tinned in its own juice and fish tinned in water or oil.
  • Herbs and spices which are a great, inexpensive way of adding lots of flavour to your cooking.
  • Wholewheat varieties of pasta, rice, noodles and grains.
  • Porridge oats, not only for a filling and cheap breakfast but also ingredients for granola, crunchy coating for fish/meat, healthy oatbars etc.

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