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8 Healthy Store Cupboard Essentials To Seek Out For January

Lots of trendy healthy recipes that you see on Instagram or Pinterest often seem to have ridiculous ingredients that you just don’t normally have, but there are several that crop up over and over again, and are easily available – if not in your weekly shop, then from lots of great suppliers here in the UK.

Get these eight superfood ingredients into your kitchen now, and you can smugly whip up some beetroot energy bites with ashwagandha and maca with the best of them.

Raw Cacao Powder & Nibs

Apart from the fact that they taste glorious, raw cacao powder and raw cacao nibs give great flavour and make a fab crunchy addition to energy balls. As you might have noticed from looking at the ingredients of energy balls that you have spotted online or in the supermarket, many of them have several common ingredients, particularly dates and almonds (or some nut) and the main taste comes from the addition of one of a number of “minority” ingredients – raw cacao powder and raw cacao nibs are utterly delicious in energy balls, and the powder also make a nicer hot chocolate.

Naturya Raw Cacao Nibs and Lucy Bee Raw Cacao Powder

Beetroot Powder

Same as above – lob a couple of tablespoons into the blender when you’re making your energy balls, and watch everything go pink.

As well as being a powerful antioxidant and rich in folate and manganese, beetroot is also high in nitrates which aid muscle oxygenation. It can also help lower your blood pressure.

Order from Nutriseed

Coconut Oil

Okay, also great for energy balls (core recipe coming in a moment), but you can keep a jar of this in the bathroom too for a super-cheap and fantastic makeup remover that leaves your skin silky soft. Rub a little into your cuticles too if your nails get dry in the cold weather.

We love Lucy Bee‘s products.

Maca Powder

With a huge range of benefits, Maca is well known for its ability to boost your energy (great before or after that January workout routine you’re promising yourself, right?), but it can also reduce the symptoms of menopause and even boost your libido. Pop a couple of teaspoons into your morning smoothie or snack.

Order it here.

Almonds

Plain, ordinary almonds! Whether for snacking on during the day or whizzing up in the blender into energy balls, almonds are completely fantastic. If you’re trying to break bad mid-morning snack habits (a croissant? a cinnamon roll?) having some almonds on hand is a painless way to kill off the hunger pangs, and if you are craving sugar too, a couple of squares of dark chocolate will round them out nicely.

Almonds are also positively bristling with nutrition and are rich in fibre, protein, vitamin E, manganese and magnesium as well as antioxidants – especially in the skin, so you want plain, raw, unblanched almonds.

They’re not cheap though – the best value we have found are East End from Ocado.

Almond Butter

A smoother-tasting alternative to peanut butter, delicious on toast (with a smear of blueberry jam) or as another healthy ingredient when making your own energy snacks, almond butter is versatile, with a delicate flavour.

Try Meridien, or the delicious Jungle Butter varieties.

Ashwagandha

Yes, it’s a real word. It’s also a herb renowned for its wide range of benefits in Ayurvedic and herbal medicine, as it is a powerful adaptogen, which means that it can both boost your energy and help you destress and sleep better. It also boosts thyroid and brain function as well as your immunity, and is used to support athletic performance and recovery.

Whizz one teaspoon into your morning smoothie or shake, or add to your raw snacks.

Order from Nutriseed here.

Fresh Turmeric Root

Firstly, a warning: handle with care or you will have bright yellow nails. You can order fresh turmeric root easily enough with your online shopping, and then grate the vivid orange root (it looks like skinny ginger root) to add to your cooking, or to your turmeric latte – a delicious caffeine-free drink that you can make with almond milk, a couple of teaspoons of grated turmeric, grated ginger, a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of coconut oil and sugar to taste.

Turmeric is best known for its powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects.

Order here from Ocado

Energy Bites Core Recipe

400g dates

200g almonds

2 tbsp almond butter

1 tbsp coconut oil

 

You can play around with the proportions a bit until you get the texture you like.

Whizz it up in a blender (you need a fairly tough one for those almonds), then form it into little balls. Store in the fridge.

While you’re whizzing, you can add any other ingredients you want to make this recipe your own – some beetroot powder, raw cacao powder and nibs, coconut, any herbal ingredients you fancy, or a couple of teaspoons of Helen’s Kitchen Breakfast Seed Toppings for a handy combo of linseed with goji berries or chia seed.