Top 10 Must-have Healthy Food Items

Having certain healthy Indian ingredients in your kitchen can indeed play a crucial role in promoting good health, strengthening immunity, and aiding the body in fighting off infections, especially during the seasons prone to cough and cold. Indian cuisine is rich in medicinal herbs, spices, and ingredients that offer numerous health benefits. Staples like ginger, turmeric, black pepper, garlic are a must-have in every kitchen. 

By incorporating these ingredients into your diet, you can support your overall well-being and strengthen your body's natural defence mechanisms against infections. These healthy items can also help you cook healthy meals. So, let’s know some more healthy food items that should be stocked in every kitchen.

 

Staple Food Items to Make the Best Healthy Snacks

  • Millet

Millet is a must-have ingredient that deserves a place in every kitchen. Millet is a nutritious, gluten-free grain that has been cultivated for thousands of years and is widely consumed in many parts of the world, including India. It offers a range of health benefits and is an excellent addition to make healthy foods to eat

Millet is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various dishes. It can be cooked as a pilaf, used as a substitute for rice, added to soups, stews, salads, or grounded into flour for making bread, pancakes, and other baked goods.

Health benefits of millet:

  1. Rich in dietary fibre
  2. Low glycemic index
  3. Supports digestive health
  4. Regulates blood sugar levels

 

 

  • Fox Nuts

Fox nuts are also known as phool makhanas. They are derived from the seeds of the lotus plant and have been consumed in India for centuries. 

Fox nuts are often used as a healthy snack, and as an ingredient in various sweet and savoury dishes. They can be roasted to create a crispy and satisfying snack. They can be seasoned with various spices and flavours, such as salt, pepper, chaat masala, or even coated in chocolate for a sweet treat. Makhana is also used in kheer. 

Health benefits of fox nuts:

  1. Low in calories and fat
  2. Rich in fibre
  3. Good source of plant-based protein
  4. Packed with essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium
  5. Contains antioxidants
  • Badi/ Vadi

Originating from either Punjabi or Rajasthani cuisine, badis/ vadis are underrated Indian kitchen staples. They are made by combining dehydrated lentils and spices. These versatile morsels can also serve as a vegetable replacement in gravies, adding depth and texture. 

To prepare them, simply poach the badis in hot gravy until they soften and absorb the flavours of the dish. 

Health benefits of badi/ vadi:

  1. Rich source of protein and dietary fibre
  2. Has iron, magnesium, potassium, and folate
  3. Low in fat
  4. Can be used as a plant-based alternative to meat

Also Read: Healthy Indian Dishes That Treat Your Taste Buds

  • Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek seeds, also known as methi seeds, are used extensively in Indian cuisine to prepare healthy meals and traditional medicine. In the kitchen, fenugreek seeds are used to add a distinct, slightly bitter flavour and aroma to many Indian dishes, particularly curries, dals (lentil dishes), and vegetable preparations. They can be dry-roasted and grounded into a powder or soaked and used whole, depending on the recipe.

Health benefits of fenugreek seeds:

  1. Supports digestion
  2. Manages blood sugar levels
  3. Helps improve insulin sensitivity
  4. Promotes healthy gut health
  • Cardamom

Cardamom, often referred to as the ‘Queen of spices,’ is a highly valued spice in Indian cuisine and has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine for its various health benefits.

One of the key qualities of cardamom is its unique and fragrant flavour profile. It has a warm, slightly sweet, and aromatic taste that can enhance both savoury and sweet dishes. Cardamom is often used in rice dishes, desserts, beverages like tea, and is used extensively to make simple healthy meals

Health benefits of cardamom:

  1. Combats body inflammation
  2. Aids digestion
  3. Freshens breath
  4. Helps fight oral infections
  5. Alleviates gastrointestinal issues
  • Jaggery

Jaggery, also known as ‘gur’ in Hindi, is a traditional unrefined sweetener widely used in Indian cuisine. One of the key advantages of jaggery is its natural form, as it is made by boiling and evaporating sugarcane juice or date palm sap, without any chemical processing. Unlike refined sugar, jaggery retains more of the natural nutrients present in the raw materials.

To make healthy foods to eat, use jaggery to sweeten a wide range of dishes, including desserts, beverages, chutneys, and savoury dishes like certain curries and lentil preparations.

Health benefits of jaggery:

  1. Aids digestion
  2. Improves respiratory health
  3. Rich source of iron and magnesium
  4. Lower glycemic index
  • Coconut

Coconut is known for its distinct tropical flavour and creamy texture, which can enhance both sweet and savoury dishes. Coconut is widely used in curries, chutneys, desserts, and various rice preparations. From its flesh to its milk and oil, the coconut offers a versatile range of culinary possibilities.

Health benefits of coconut:

  1. Improves inflammation of the body
  2. Contains antioxidants
  3. Packed with vitamins C, E, and B
  4. Coconut oil in moderation improves heart health
  5. Coconut water is best for rehydration
  • Ghee

Ghee, also known as clarified butter, has been used in Indian cooking for centuries and is revered for its rich flavour, versatility, and potential health benefits. In Ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine, ghee is highly regarded for its therapeutic properties. It is believed to promote longevity, enhance brain function, support healthy joints, and nourish the body.

When consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet, ghee can be a valuable addition to your kitchen to create healthy meals

Health benefits of ghee:

  1. Contains essential fatty acids
  2. Has anti-inflammatory properties
  3. Can be used as a substitute for butter
  4. Best alternative for lactose-intolerant individuals

Also Read: Healthy Travel Snacks that You Must Carry on a Road Trip

  • Sabudana

Tapioca pearls, or sabudana make for a speedy breakfast or snack when combined with root veggies, lemon, and peanuts—a must-have in your kitchen like your grandma and mother.

They can be used in both sweet and savoury recipes, including puddings, desserts, boba tea, and as a thickening agent for soups and stews.

Health benefits of sabudana:

  1. Good for bowel regularity
  2. Has essential minerals like calcium and iron
  3. Sabudana is gluten-free
  4. Rich source of carbohydrates
  • Tulsi

Tulsi is widely revered for its religious, spiritual, and healing properties. Tulsi is a sacred herb in Hinduism and is often grown in households for its auspicious significance. It is also highly valued for its medicinal qualities in Ayurveda. 

The leaves of tulsi can be used fresh or dried to make herbal teas, infusions, or as an ingredient in traditional remedies. Tulsi tea is a popular beverage known for its calming and soothing effects.

Health benefits of tulsi:

  1. Has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties
  2. Relieves stress
  3. Improves digestion
  4. Boosts immunity
  5. Helps in respiratory illnesses

In conclusion, maintaining a well-stocked and healthy kitchen is essential for supporting a nutritious and balanced lifestyle. By incorporating a variety of wholesome food items into your pantry, such as fox nuts, coconut, jaggery, badi, and more, you can create delicious and nourishing meals.

  • Food

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