Food cupboard

You can make a wide range of meals from quite a small number of ingredients.

If you have room to store items, a basic list for your food cupboard could include:

  • Breakfast cereals
  • Bread
  • Packets of dried pasta, rice and noodles
  • Pulses - such as lentils or kidney beans
  • Frozen and tinned vegetables
  • Pre-made sauces or pastes
  • Low fat coconut milk
  • Tomato puree
  • Cooking oil - such as vegetable oil
  • Dried herbs
  • Spices
  • Salt and pepper
  • Stock cubes – low salt stock cubes are available
Wholegrain varieties of cereals, pasta, rice and bread are a healthier choice. Checking the food labels of packaged foods can help you choose those lower in fat, salt and sugar

Herbs and spices allows you to cut down on salt, as you won’t need so much (or any) for flavour.

Using some herbs and spices will allow you to flavour vegetables, sauces and meats in lots of different ways.

  • If you are new to using herbs and spices, pick one or two to begin with
  • Jars of herbs and spices can last a long time, so you don’t need to buy them often
  • They will have “best before” dates, but this is about quality and they can still be used safely after this date
  • Spice mixes, such as those in meal kits are more expensive than using jars of herbs and spices and often contain a lot of salt

Supermarket own brand ground herbs and spices are often as good as branded, and cost less.

The following spices and herbs can be used to flavour loads of different meals:

  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Chilli
  • Mixed spice
  • Ginger
  • Chinese 5 spice
  • Oregano
  • Garam Masala
  • Ground coriander
  • Nutmeg
Don’t worry about going out and buying these right away
  • It’s easier and cheaper to buy one or two items a week - soon enough you will have built up a well-stocked food cupboard
  • Most of these ingredients have a long shelf life and can be used to prepare a large number of meals
  • Some items, like tomato puree, need to be stored in the fridge once opened and eaten within a set time
  • Write the date on the tube or packet when you open them, so you know when they should be thrown out

Add an item to your shopping list when you notice you are running low.

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Making a change

How to make small, manageable changes to what you eat and drink.

Make a change