Have you ever come home from work with the intention and motivation to cook, only to find an empty cupboard and nothing to work with? Cooking at home is doable, but making that extra trip to the supermarket may be taking it a step too far.  Ensuring that you have these cupboard staples can be that make-or-break factor between cooking a fabulous healthy homemade dish, or calling uber eats ??.
Below is a list of foods that are great in any dish. They are basic, versatile ingredients that can be used frequently, are usually fairly inexpensive, and have a long shelf life.


Tinned Tomatoes

Tinned tomatoes are a very versatile ingredient that is low in calories and packed with vitamin C (a powerful antioxidant), potassium (key for blood pressure control), folate (for healthy tissue growth), vitamin K (for the blood), and fibre (for digestion)(1).

Tinned Tuna

Tuna can often be used as a filling, a topping, or for more substantial meals such as a tuna bake. It is a very useful ingredient as it is a good source of lean protein, and is very beneficial for boosting the immune system, increasing energy, preventing skin damage, and reducing inflammation (2).

Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices are inexpensive foods that add delicious flavour to food. The compounds from these provide a wealth of benefits, including; lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels, improving brain function and helping fighting infections.

Unsaturated Oils

Monounsaturated fatty acids such as olive, avocado, & sunflower oil are healthy fats and help with weight loss and heart health. Studies have also found that a diet with moderate-to-high amounts of monounsaturated fats can also help with weight loss, as long as you aren’t eating more calories than you’re burning (3). Furthermore, a couple of studies have shown that when calorie intake remained the same, diets high in monounsaturated fats led to weight loss similar to that of low-fat diets (4) (5),

Monounsaturated fats can also reduce chronic inflammation (often caused by stress or a weakened immune system) that contributes to chronic diseases like obesity and heart disease (6).

Wholewheat/grain foods

Wholegrain foods such as pasta, rice, and oats are higher in fibre, vitamins, are more filling, and are a good source of carbs so can be used as a starchy component for a meal. There have been several studies that have examined the relationship between the consumption of wholegrain foods, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease and have found at least a 20% to 40% reduction in risk for those who eat wholegrain food habitually (7). Other key benefits include reducing the risk of stroke, obesity and supporting healthy digestion, as well as having strong antioxidant benefits.

Onions & Garlic

Onions and garlic are nutritional powerhouses as they are loaded with antioxidants and antibacterial properties. They are a rich source of several important phytonutrients essential for health. Moreover, they are also used in the treatment and prevention of a number of diseases, including obesity, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and gastrointestinal disorders (e.g. indigestion) (8)


Pulses including;

These pulses are a significant source of protein, fibre, and minerals such as magnesium, iron, zinc, & folate and count towards your 5 a day of fruit and vegetables. In addition, the phytochemicals, saponins, and tannins found in pulses possess antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic effects. Pulses are also high in fibre and have a low glycemic index, making them particularly beneficial in maintaining healthy blood glucose and insulin levels (9).

Tips for safer shopping

Of course, during the current pandemic, it is important to be safe. Now more than ever online shopping has been the more efficient and safest way to shop for essential items. I personally use Amazon Fresh, as I can get the same items that I would usually get off the high street chains, They deliver the same day, and they are cheaper! So if you are running out of essentials and need to stock up, Amazon Fresh is a quick and easy shopping alternative.