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    It’s good to cook! And we’ve never had such a range of amazing ingredients and such a variety of food available to us as we do right now.

    From cooking oils, herbs and spices to meat alternatives and everything in between, there’s so much available to ensure that we can prepare some truly tasty offerings.

    These cooking ingredients include everything you need to make some delicious healthy lunches and dinners. Here’s to cooking up a storm!

    Which cooking oils are the healthiest?

    Coconut oil is a great healthy alternative to other cooking oils such as sunflower, vegetable and olive oil and has been used in south Asian cookery as a staple ingredient for centuries.

    It is only in the past few years that it has become popular for cooking in the UK, thanks to its great suitability for high temperature cooking and the extra flavour it adds to any dish.

    Coconut oil is therefore perfect for use in stir fries, curries and fried rice.

    Why should you use herbs and spices in your cooking?

    Herbs and spices have been used in food preparation since medieval times and are just as important in cooking today.

    Herbs and spices add flavour and seasoning to food as well as adding colour and variety.

    They make our meals interesting and tasty so that food becomes more than just a fuel, but something to be enjoyed as well. Your food would be pretty bland without these little wonders!

    Adding spices and herbs to dishes helps enhance their flavour without adding calories, fat, sugar and salt.

    Some of the most popular spices include ground cumin which gives savoury dishes a sweet, aromatic flavour; ground cinnamon which is often used in baking as well as curries, and turmeric powder which is again popular in curries as well as a flavouring for milk lattes.

    Turmeric is a powerful spice, whose active ingredient, curcumin, has been known to have many health benefits. It has traditionally been used in India for many centuries.

    Alternatives to meat and fish to try

    Perhaps you are following a vegetarian or vegan diet, or maybe you are just trying to cut down on the amount of meat you eat for sustainability or health reasons.

    No matter your reasons for going meat free, there are lots of great alternatives to try which are just as tasty as their meat counterparts and which have lots of nutritional benefits too.

    Here are some of our favourites:

    Soya protein mince: One worry when choosing a meat alternative is that you won’t get the same benefits that you do from meat. This soya mince is packed full of protein, has a mince-like texture, and is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.

    Granovita Mock Duck: This meat-free duck alternative for vegans and vegetarians is made from the wheat gluten seitan and can be added to lots of savoury recipes including casseroles, curries, pies and stir fries. Why not try mock duck pancakes?

    Loma Linda Tuna Mayo: This plant based seafood alternative is high in protein, low in calories and completely fish free, helping to contribute to the safety and sustainability of our oceans. It’s perfect as a sandwich filling, salad topping or as an ingredient for a pasta bake.

    Pimpmysalad Coconut Bacon: This substitute for bacon is not only vegan-friendly but it’s also healthy as it’s high in fibre. Add to Caesar salads, soups and jacket potatoes for extra crunch and flavour.

    What other cooking ingredients are great for natural health?

    Something that has become very popular in health foods over the last few years is apple cider vinegar, although it has been used in cooking for centuries.

    Apple cider vinegar contains ‘the mother’ which can support your gut microbiome.  

    It’s easy to add apple cider vinegar into your diet as it’s incredibly versatile.

    Simply drizzle it over your salad, add it as an ingredient to muffins, or just add a couple of teaspoons to water and lemon juice in the morning to get you ready for the day ahead.

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