Organic Semi-Skimmed Milk – I don’t drink much milk but I am not the only person in my home, so I get a couple of pints of organic cow’s and goat’s milk each week for my family and visitors. I tend to opt for an organic, unsweetened oat or almond milk if I need an alternative.
Yeo Valley Organic Kefir – Kefir is a great source of wholefood probiotics. It has more strains of ‘good’ bacteria than standard yoghurt, and variety is king when it comes to gut health. I pour it over fruit, swirl it into soups or whizz into smoothies. It tastes just like pouring yoghurt.
Nush Cashew Yoghurt – This is a really versatile and creamy dairy alternative, and it makes a nice change from coconut yoghurt.
Smoked Mackerel – This is a really useful staple to have when you need a meal in minutes. I make a simple pâté or flake it over salad. It’s a source of essential omega-3 fatty acids and lasts in the fridge for a good while.
Feta Cheese – A simple and easy way to add some protein and taste to any meal. I add it to frittatas and salads, sprinkle it over roasted vegetables and blend it into sauces.
FRUIT & VEGETABLES
I’m very lucky to have a kitchen garden, so I don’t need to buy a lot of extra fruit or vegetables over the warmer months. I generally buy things that don’t grow so well in the UK…
Bananas – A favourite fruit of my two-year-old daughter Willow, and a natural sweetener for baking.
Avocados – My go-to ingredient to add some healthy fats to a meal. Beyond the standard avo on toast, I quite often make a simple guacamole, or slice them onto little gem lettuce cups with some smoked salmon and chopped tomatoes for a simple, quick lunch.
Organic Broccoli – Something I buy every single week as I have failed to grow it so far. As a dark green, cruciferous vegetable, it has numerous nutritional benefits, but it’s also one of the quickest vegetables to prepare. Steam for a couple of minutes, then drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Handily, my daughter really likes it.
Unwaxed Lemons – I think there are very few meals that can’t be improved with a squeeze of lemon or a grate of zest. I get through a lot. I add lemon as a simple dressing to almost every steamed vegetable I cook – always with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of sea salt – as well as zesting abundantly onto grain salads, quartering them to roast alongside a chicken, or squeezing over fish for a citrusy lift.
Merchant Gourmet Ready-To-Eat Lentil & Quinoa Pouches – I always have a few of these in the cupboard. They are more expensive than cooking from scratch, but they are a real timesaver and can bulk out a simple salad in no time at all.
Red Lentil Pasta – I like to eat a variety of pastas and tend to prefer them naturally gluten-free, like brown rice or the legume-based ones. Legume pastas are higher in protein than grain-based alternatives, which can make a simple bowl of pasta with pesto (throw in a big handful of baby leaf spinach and some chopped cherry tomatoes) a more balanced meal.
Brindisa Jarred Pulses – I am quite obsessed with these and currently loving the butter beans, sautéed in garlic with lots of lemon juice and juicy tomatoes. All of the pulses are great to add to soups or salads, mash up to make a fritter or to blend into dips and sauces.
Nairn’s Organic Porridge Oats – Oats are one of the quickest and simplest ways to add wholegrains into our diets. I use them for overnight oats or porridge, crumble toppings or to thicken smoothies.
Marmite – We are all lovers in my family. Also, it’s a good source of B vitamins. I enjoy it on toast, but it’s also great stirred into stocks and stews to add a delicious depth of umami flavour.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – To drizzle on almost everything. I get through a vast amount.
Tahini – An essential ingredient for houmous, but I also make a lot of tahini dressings and dips to pep up simple vegetable, chicken or fish dishes. This roasted cauliflower with tahini miso dipping sauce is a real favourite.
FOR THE SNACK CUPBOARD
I rarely snack and prefer to eat three proper meals, but there are, of course, exceptions. For those moments, it’s really useful to have a few options to hand, especially for Willow…
Meridian Almond Butter – Great to dip apple slices into.
Nairn’s Oatcakes – For a grab-and-go source of carbohydrates, top with some avocado or houmous to make it a little more balanced – or just occasionally with a square of dark chocolate.
Mini Organic Babybels – Willow loves them.
Organic Nuts & Seeds – I’ll vary the nuts and seeds I buy, as they all have different nutritional profiles. For example, Brazil nuts are an important source of selenium, whereas almonds contain magnesium, so variety is key. We get through lots every week.
Dark Chocolate – I look for a bar with over 85% cocoa to boost the beneficial cocoa polyphenol content (a useful dietary antioxidant). Plus, it’s difficult to overeat very dark chocolate – it’s too rich.
Strathmore Still & Sparkling Water – In glass bottles because I try to avoid plastics where possible.
Nyetimber – I’m obsessed with this English sparkling wine. It’s the best aperitif. Dry, crisp and definitely marks the occasion.
Clipper Organic Everyday Tea – The only tea I like. I am lucky to have a cup bought to me in bed every morning. I have it black but not too strong.
Cru Kafe Coffee – I love one cup of strong black coffee a day and this is my favourite. I usually have one mid-morning.
Frozen Peas, Broad Beans & Edamame Beans – For effortless extra vegetables, and a source of plant-based protein if I’m making a vegetarian or vegan dish.
Organic Frozen Spinach – Another easy way to add extra greens. I’ll put a block or two in most things I can get away with.
Frozen Berries – When the UK berry season is over, I’ll buy frozen berries to save on air miles and field-to-fork time, which can reduce their nutritional value. I throw them into wholefood smoothies, gently stew them into a compote or make a quick chia ‘jam’.
Wholemeal Pitta Bread – They toast brilliantly straight from the freezer and I often use them as a ‘pizza’ base for a quick supper for Willow. She loves them topped with tomatoes, pesto, chopped wilted spinach and a cracked egg.
Simply Good For You, a collection of 100 fast, easy, delicious, healthy recipes straight from Amelia’s family kitchen, will be published in December. To pre-order, click here.
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