10 healthy ingredients to always have in the kitchen

A healthy life is based on a varied diet: with these 10 ingredients always at hand, you can easily create a #honestlygood meal for you and your family, at any time of the year. Always choose seasonal products and, where possible, organic.
I love to eat well – in every sense. I like that the recipe is seasonal (because that’s how it satisfies me the most) and that it is prepared with the most healthy ingredients possible: whole, organic, fresh. Until a few years ago it was easy to come across the whole commonplace = tasteless, fortunately, today we know that this is not really the case. Whole food and organic food, grown without pesticides and without chemical fertilizers, are much more nutritionally dense and have a more multifaceted, deep, better flavor. Eating well is much less complicated than you might think and you don’t need a degree in Nutrition Sciences to do it. Try to understand what makes you feel good and organize your shopping list around quality ingredients – better a few, but good ones!
The secret of good food certainly passes through a well-organized pantry. Being able to count on fresh and easy to prepare food, versatile, and nutritionally rich in beneficial properties for our body, allows me to prepare recipes that are as good as they are healthy. I like to keep my fridge and pantry always well-stocked – to avoid waste I do the shopping several times a week, so I don’t have to put too much fresh and perishable food in the house.

I buy different things depending on the season, the moment, the mood, but I have a list of my “magnificent 10”: ingredients that are never lacking in my house because having them on hand I am sure I can prepare healthy and nutritious meals, which are good for the whole family. Here they are:

  1. Eggs
  2. Extra virgin olive oil
  3. Avocado
  4. Vegetables and green leafy vegetables
  5. Fresh fruit
  6. Quinoa
  7. Yogurt & co.
  8. Walnuts & seeds
  9. Green tea
  10. Fresh herbs
    EGGS. I’m my favorite “superfood” and I couldn’t live without it. Although eggs have often been attacked by the press in recent years, they represent food that man has always eaten. I like them in many ways, but the poached egg is, of all, my favorite recipe.
    Rich in noble proteins and precious micronutrients (such as B vitamins and vitamin E) they represent a complete, healthy, and very versatile food in the kitchen. The important thing is to choose them well: I prefer to invest in organic eggs, which give you the certainty of breeding on the ground without the use of antibiotics and hormones. They should also be purchased and eaten fresh: at most 7-10 days after the deposition date. On the egg (and on the box by law) there is all the information to buy it: the biological ones are those that have IT 0 (Italy, zero) at the beginning of the code. The expiration date is always preceded by the egg-laying date.

EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL. If I could only use one seasoning, it would be this: olive oil is a precious source of vegetable fats that help our body to feel good. As much as I am a convinced consumer of butter, extra virgin olive oil represents the most used fat in my kitchen, both for seasoning raw and for cooking. I love the smell and taste of oil and I use it for practically everything (even in desserts in some cases, like in this wonderful cocoa donut). Olive oil is a valuable source of antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids that fight free radicals and help us get better. In addition to being the base of the seasoning in Italian cuisine, olive oil lends itself very well to being used in cooking: for sauces, sauces, for skipping vegetables, and cooking meat or fish. Choose a good quality extra virgin olive oil and be wary of the bottles that drop too much in the price: unfortunately, good oil is also a little expensive because its processing is not easy. Keep it away from light and know that, once opened, it loses part of its beneficial properties very quickly, so do not buy too large packs.

AVOCADO. If you’ve never tried it, the time has come. If you tried it and didn’t like it, reconsider. For example, try it in a particular recipe, such as my avocado and lemon pesto for noodles. This buttery, super alkalizing, and decidedly versatile fruit was the revelation in my kitchen about two years ago. Rich in monounsaturated fats that have an anti-inflammatory action for the body, avocado must be eaten raw and ripe at the right point to fully benefit from its virtues. It is full of antioxidants, rich in vitamin E and beta-carotene, a great ally of our skin. It should be tasted buttery, seasoned with lemon juice and salt, perfect even just like that, on a slice of toasted wholemeal bread, in the morning. I always have two at home, for salads, for my snacks, to prepare thick and delicious smoothies, even with cocoa!

GREEN LEAF VEGETABLES AND VEGETABLES. Green vegetables and green leafy vegetables are the most portentous food that can be served if you are looking for something antioxidant, alkaline, rich in anti-inflammatory properties. In my refrigerator there is no shortage of Brussels sprouts, broccoli, real cabbage, green leaf salads, leeks, asparagus, spinach, and cauliflower (according to the seasons). I try to buy possibly organic vegetables, to avoid products grown with hormones or fertilized with chemicals and I eat them as fresh as possible, because the longer the time spent from harvest to the table, the less the amount of precious nutrients that will manage to arrive in our plate. Many studies have now shown that only a diet rich in green leafy vegetables (rich in chlorophyll) can help achieve a greater level of well-being, also controlling diabetes and lowering insulin production.

FRESH FRUIT. I couldn’t live without the sweetness of fruit, which I love to eat at different times of the day: for breakfast, for a snack, after dinner, and when I want to have a healthy and quick snack. Ripe fruit contains all the healthy sugars that my body needs, it is rich in vitamins and powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals. It should be chosen organic, if possible, so that its nutritional density is higher and of different colors, throughout the year, according to the season. I like to use it often also for my desserts, or mix it with salty, as in my recipe of scampi sauteed with figs and chèvre.

QUINOA. I started eating quinoa to check the level of gluten in my diet and I have never stopped because I find it delicious, versatile, nutritious, and satiating. This plant grown in the Andes is often assimilated to cereal, but in reality it is not, which is why it is naturally gluten-free. These small grains rich in vegetable protein, fiber, and mineral salts are suitable for both gluten-free and alkaline diets. Quinoa exists white, red, and black; it is easily prepared (just rinse and boil it) and has a deliciously versatile flavor that can be accompanied by vegetables, meat, or fish. For me it has become a fundamental ingredient, I often use it for lunch, to prepare quick single dishes together with sautéed vegetables, eggs, or cheese. One of my favorite dishes is quinoa with chickpeas and lemon – easy, healthy, and good!

YOGURT & Co. Fermented foods (from kefir to miso paste) are a mine of precious substances for our body: probiotics and bacteria that can help our intestines to function well and our body to feel better. I love white, thick, and creamy yogurt. If you buy it ready, make sure that it has only 2 ingredients inside: whole milk that comes from cows bred, possibly organic, and live lactic ferments. That’s all it takes for yogurt to be healthy (very few brands do that !!). No thickeners, sugar, or worse, fake fruit.

NUTS & SEEDS. They make the difference in my kitchen, from the point of view of taste and health. I always have at least a jar of pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts (classic, Brazilian, and macadamia) on hand, hazelnuts, almonds. And then hemp, flax, sesame, chia, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds. Rich in minerals, fats and vegetable proteins and fibers, seeds and nuts are my favorite snack when I need some energy and don’t want to eat sugar. I use them in salads, in bread, on baked vegetables, but also as a simple addition to yogurt and fresh fruit, or in smoothies. They do well, and they are good. Need more?

GREEN MATCHA THÉ. I was a pioneer in the use of matcha green tea in the kitchen (at least on TV!) And I continued to use this jade-colored powder to give my preparations a special touch: from omelets to dumplings, through ice cream, this savory powder turns many simple dishes into extraordinary recipes. The dried and chopped tea leaves are rich in antioxidants, have strong anti-inflammatory and alkalizing power for the body, and contribute to keeping the immune system healthy. Among the properties of this almost magical powder there is also that of fighting anxiety and stress. I always keep a jar on hand in my pantry.

FRESH HERBS. They are very useful in the kitchen to give flavor without adding too much salt. They are rich in chlorophyll and precious micronutrients that help our body fight against free radicals, responsible for the aging of the body. Basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, sage, chives, thyme, and mint can easily be grown both on the terrace and at home, so as to always be ready for use, but above all really fresh: their lifeblood begins to lose its beneficial properties immediately after harvest.

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