One of the most economical sources of vegetable protein, chick peas are a must have for your store cupboards. Either buy dried or in tins and use in stews and casseroles. You could also try blitzing up with garlic and olive oil to make your own hummus, or mix with herbs, garlic and mushrooms to make healthy chickpea burgers (see our recipe of the month). Replacing half of the meat with chickpeas in dishes such as chilli, burgers and Bolognese will halve the fat content of the dish.
You’ve probably heard chocoholics swearing that their vice is ‘full of antioxidants’ and actually good for them. And to be fair, they may have a point. Cocoa contains a group of antioxidants known as polyphenols – also found in tea, red wine, and many different fruits and vegetables. Studies have shown that these flavonoids may lower blood pressure, decrease risk of blood clots, increase blood flow in the arteries and the heart and lower levels of harmful LDL cholesterol.
Just remember to choose dark chocolate with a cocoa content of over 80% to get the most benefits. You could also try using raw cacao powder to make healthier desserts, sweets and chocolate drinks.
Even when the cupboards are empty, there’s usually an egg or two left in the fridge right? Eggs are a great way to boost your protein intake (around 6g of protein per medium egg). They’re also low in calories (just 70-80cal per egg), high in immunity-boosting vitamin A, and contain around half of the recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 – essential for making new blood cells and for nervous function.
Don’t worry about the old myth of ‘eggs raising cholesterol’ – it’s been shown that the saturated fat in our diet (found in cheese, cream, red meat and fried foods) is responsible for raising cholesterol, not the dietary cholesterol found in foods like eggs and shellfish.
Matcha, green, rooibus, Oolong, gunpowder… the list of ‘super teas’ is ever-growing. But what about the trusty black tea? Does it have similar virtues?
Despite not having the same hype surrounding its health benefits, black tea contains high levels of antioxidants linked with reducing cancer cell growth and lowering cholesterol. If you have the time, use loose-leaves as you’ll get more of the beneficial polyphenols than from a tea bag.
So the next time you think you need a trip to the health food store, have a rummage in your cupboards and see if you could save some pennies using up the less glamorous yet just a beneficial staple super foods.
Written by Ruth Tongue