Updated: Sep 30, 2020
Switching to a healthier diet sounds great and you buy loads of fresh vegetables and fruit, some fish and a little meat only to discover back home with recipe book open that you have none of the other ingredients; or you do but they are the refined carbohydrates, high salt and sugar sauces and convenience, processed products that you've wanted to cut down on.
So, an important part of setting yourself up for success is to have a clean out in the pantry, cupboards and fridge and to stock up on some healthy basic ingredients.
Most recipes can stand some variation, but it's a little hard to make a tagine without diced tomatoes, turmeric or cinnamon, for example!
I'd also recommend culling some of the less healthy items from your cupboards, or to avoid waste, as you use them simply don't replace.
I have compiled a list of staple foods to help you feel prepared and motivated to cook and enjoy delicious meals based on a Mediterranean diet pattern. It's not exhaustive you can probably add more of your favourite go-to items. And of course depending on the season and on where you live you may not want dried herbs if fresh are readily available, or even better, in your garden ready for picking!
Don't turn your nose up at canned and frozen basic foods. They have been picked and preserved really quickly and will have very bit as much nutritional content as veggies that have been in your fridge for a few days. Tinned tomatoes, corn, artichoke hearts etc are great convenient products to use in may recipes. Similarly frozen sweet corn, peas, fish fillets/seafood and berries are snap frozen at their freshest and are often cheaper than their fresh counterparts.
You might also want to consider sustainable ways to shop.Do you buy local produce in season eg turmeric/basil and then freeze it for year round use, perhaps as a paste or pesto? Can you shop at whole food suppliers where you can take your own container or avoid plastic packaging? If using paper bags, decant into well washed glass jars at home to keep dried goods and herbs/spices fresh for longer.
But here is the list to get you started (in the attached file below). Perhaps you could add an item or two each time you shop to get your pantry Mediterranean ready?! Print off the list and start working on it!
But don't let that delay the start of your healthier cooking. Use what you have already and get into it! Check out the recipe section of my website for some ideas.