Brain-Healthy Pantry Staples
Frozen or Tinned Fish
A great way to continue to incorporate fatty fish into your diet is by buying frozen or canned wild-caught salmon and other tinned fish like tuna, herring, anchovies, sardines and mackerel. If buying canned, add tuna or salmon to a salad, use anchovies to flavor Italian dishes (they’re often used and no one will be the wiser!) and eat sardines or mackerel on crackers with a spread, herbs or another condiment. Have fun experimenting to find a combination that works for you!
Fruits & Veggies
When buying fresh, look for anti-inflammatory fruits and veggies with a long shelf-life. Fruits such as citrus can be kept on the counter for a while or in the fridge for even longer. Squash, cabbage and hardy root vegetables like sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, beets, garlic and turnips are all vegetables that last a long time when stored properly. If freezer space isn’t an issue, look for frozen spinach and other greens, as well as mixed berries. Canned fruits and vegetables are also a great option for even longer-term storage.
Dried lentils and beans are an extremely cost-effective way to keep your health in check. There are dozens of varieties used in different cuisines from around the world, and they have a super long shelf-life. Aim for canned beans if you’re looking for convenience, or pressure cook your dried beans if you want to be rewarded for spending a little extra time (we promise it’s worth it!).
Anti-inflammatory whole grains are often bought dry, but can also be found in the convenience of the frozen section – look there for ready-made frozen quinoa. Create variation in meals by preparing grains like quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth and millet for prolonged energy. Be wary of grains if you have sustained any form of brain injury, such as a concussion.
Fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut can last for months in the depths of your fridge – use them to easily dress up a dish.
Goat and Plant-Based Milks
Most people believe dairy products have a short shelf-life, and some do once opened and kept in the fridge, but you can easily extend the shelf-life of anti-inflammatory dairy like goat’s milk, goat’s milk yogurt, goat cheese and kefir by freezing until needed. Some plant-based milks, such as almond milk or coconut milk, have a long shelf-life and do not require refrigeration until after opening, allowing you to keep a carton on-hand for tea, tasty chia seed pudding, or a delicious smoothie.
Though many of these foods are both delicious and nutritious when prepared simply, don’t forget to stock up on condiments, dried herbs, spices, and other flavorful components to zhoosh up these brain-healthy pantry staples!