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Vegan Pantry Staples: Food Items to Stock in Your Kitchen

Shopping for vegan grocery food items is pretty easy once you know the basics to look for. A lot of beginners often feel intimidated by this, but disregarding the elaborate and lengthy product labels and all that, a simple guide can pave a long way for you to master the art of shopping vegan food items.

Note that having a well-stocked pantry at home is a trump card of every efficient kitchen. Following a vegan diet doesn’t have to be all greens and salads, instead, you can always experiment with cooking different meals whenever you feel like it!

Nuts
Nuts are great to snack on as it is. In some dishes, nuts are also considered the perfect additional ingredient to help step up the flavor. They are notably good for the heart and they help you live a healthier, longer life. Nuts come in a wide array of kinds thus making them a must-have in every vegan kitchen. For some meal ideas, you can combine walnuts into your salads, blend cashews into cheese, or turn pine nuts into pesto.

Vegan milk
Vegan milk options range from almond, soy, rice, cashew, and coconut milk – which all packs the essential nutrients you need minus the staggering amount of calories in your normal milk. Coconut milk, for one, has high fiber and B vitamin content. Meanwhile, soy milk contains generous amount of protein and almond milk has zero cholesterol (which can clog your arteries) and no saturated fat as well.

Beans
Beans are packed with antioxidants, protein and fiber which are all beneficial to the body. Regardless of whether they come in cans or in dried variety, beans are easy to store in your pantry. They add depth in almost every dish, and sometimes you can even add them in some desserts! You can never go wrong with having a regular stock of cannellini beans, chickpeas, and black peas.

Herbs and spices

• Cumin – It adds a smoky flavor to your meals. The taste of cumin commonly stands out in a lot of spicy and Mexican dishes.
• Cinnamon – This is generally used for sweet treats, but cinnamon also adds a rich flavor in making savory meals.

• Cayenne – The perfect spice for chili lovers! If you’re a fan of the spicy heat, have cayenne in your kitchen.
• Oregano – Often branded as the flavor of Italy, Oregano undoubtedly boosts the flavor of your meals. Plus it comes in a greenish color, making it a perfect garnish for your dishes.
• Turmeric – Turmeric adds a bright yellow color to your dishes, such as that in curry. Aside from color, it also adds an earthy flavor to your recipes and contains anti-inflammatory properties.

6 Tips to Eat Healthy Even on a Budget

There’s no known magic formula when it comes to eating healthy on a tight budget. Just like in anything else, all it takes to make it possible is creativity, a little planning and good old-fashioned work. Plus, with these cost-cutting tips, you’ll see that it’s not that difficult to opt for healthier foods even with a tight budget.

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  1. Shop Local. Buying straight from the organic farmer in your neighbourhood is a good way to cut some cost. The same thing goes if you buy directly from wholesalers. If you’re quite unsure about the location of the local farmers in your area, just visit Localharvest.org to track them down.
  1. Buy in Season. Purchasing fruits and vegetables that are out of season will always cost you more, as these selections carry the added cost of energy and transportation. So next time you go shopping for fruits and vegetables, make sure that you buy them in-season. If you’re used to adding blueberries in your morning oats, buy them in bulk during their peak season and freeze them.
  1. Consume More Plant-Based Foods. Wild-caught fish and grass-fed beef may be delicious, but they don’t come cheap. So stretch your food dollar by loading more on filling and cruciferous greens, as well as good fats like avocado and high-fibre carbs like legumes and quinoa.

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  1. Opt for Frozen Goods. Although eating fresh fruits and vegetables is preferred by most of us, going with frozen produce is not half bad. They’re actually a good deal and are as healthy as the fresh stuff. In fact, these goods are frozen at the peak of their ripeness, providing you with all the nutrients on just a fraction of the cost.
  1. Go Big on the Flavour. Want to make a delicious dinner without adding calories and cost? Then incorporate seasonings, spices and seasoned vinegars in your cooking repertoire. With these ingredients, cooking flavourful meals without costing too much will already be possible for you.
  1. Buy in Bulks During Sale Time. If you have enough storage space in your place, then it would be a great idea to stock up on healthy produce during sale time. Nuts, for instance, are put on sale as the holiday season approaches so consider stocking up this excellent source of protein, fibre and omega-3 fatty acid. Stocking up on perishable items are also good as they can still be frozen for later.

Eating healthy on a tight budget may take some effort, but when you consider the rewards of getting better health and saving money, you’ll find that it’s really worth your time and effort. Just be smart with your food choices and cost-cutting tricks.

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Preparing Homemade Pizza

What do you do when your kids are around? You think of ways to entertain them so they will not get bored and go outside. You have to take that opportunity to spend more time with them. There are a lot of things that you can do with your kids but if they love pizza, what is the best thing to do? You have to prepare homemade pizza with their help.

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Making pizza is a good bonding experience plus you are teaching your kids the value of hard work. Pizza is famous here in Singapore. You can just easily order and have it delivered but where is the fun in it? Grab your recipe book and engage the family. If you do not have a recipe, you can just refer here. Before anything else, you have to know that the preparation time is about two hours.

So, here’s how to make homemade pizza:

  • Secure the ingredients: The ingredients for the dough include 1 ½ cups of warm water, 1 pack of dry yeast, 3 ½ cups of bread flour, 2 tbsp of olive oil, 2 tsp of salt and 2 tsp of sugar. This is enough for two 12 inch pizzas. As for the toppings, you need tomato sauce, grated mozzarella and parmesan cheese, crumbled feta cheese, thinly sliced mushrooms, bell peppers, sausage, basil, pepperoni, onions and ham. For the equipment, you need a pizza peel (flat baking sheet), mixer and oven.
  • Making the dough: The first thing that you should do is place the warm water in a large bowl of the mixer. Then sprinkle the yeast. After 5 minutes, add salt, sugar and olive oil. Use paddle first but after a minute, replace it with the hook attachment. Knead the dough for 10 minutes. Let it sit for 1 to 1 ½ hours.

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  • Prepare oven: Preheat your oven for 30 minutes (or more). The temperature should be at 450°F. After leaving the dough, it is time to divide it in half. Make sure to punch it so it deflates.
  • Prepare toppings: The toppings will depend on what your kids like. Let them decide what they want to do with their pizzas. Just remind your kids not to overdo the toppings because it will affect the crust of the pizza.
  • Bake it: Using the pizza peel, flatten the dough with your hands. Start at the centre and work outwards. You should use your fingertips when pressing the dough; it should be at least ½ inch thick. Stretch it until you reach the desired diameter. Put the desired topping and bake it for about 10 to 15 minutes.

The pizza is now ready to be served. Singaporeans love pizza which makes this an excellent choice. If you invited friends over, you can serve pizza. They will surely love it. Pizza is best with a soda or a juice drink. If your child prefers water, leave it be.

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Controlling Calories during the Festive Season

Everyone is looking forward to the festive seasons because of food, presents and good company. Indeed this is the season to be jolly and full. But for people who are conscious of their body and calorie intake, the festive season remains to be a challenge. It is not easy to control your eating but do not let it spoil your spirit. You should still enjoy the festive season no matter what.

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From Christmas to New Year, food is everywhere. It is hard to say no. The key is to practice and observe self control and self discipline. The good news is that you can still enjoy the food without thinking about your calorie or doubling your workout after the New Year. Here are some tips:

Moderation

Everything should be take in moderation. You have to think that over-indulgence can make you lethargic. As a result, you will get lazy and ditch your exercise. Whenever you think about adding an extra drink or dessert, you have to think that you’ve worked hard to attain your ideal body. That thought will keep your feet on the ground. This is the ultimate test for your self control or self discipline.

Balanced eating

By balanced eating, it means proportioning your eating. For example, when you go out to eat, you can divide your meal. You can eat half of the meal there and bring the other half to your house. If there are plenty of foods, you should eat small portions at a time. No one is rushing you so eat it slowly and avoid piling food on your plate. Balanced eating is different from starving yourself or skipping a meal. Remember that.

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Do not drink excessively

Apart from the foods, booze is present during the festive season. You do not want to be dubbed “kill joy”, right? You can drink but take it in moderation. For example, you can alternate alcoholic beverages with soft drinks. Keep in mind that drinking can put in a lot of calories. If you are thinking about your calorie intake, make sure that you consider low calorie drinks such as wine and champagne. Lastly, do not forget to eat before your drinking session.

For a change, you can have a healthy Christmas. The extra weight you gained over the festive season can affect your health especially if you have chronic conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Hopefully the things mentioned above can help people cope with their calorie issues. Happy holidays!

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Food Advisory: The Health Benefits of Sweet Potato

Singaporeans are becoming conscious of their body. Most of the people suddenly want to live a healthy life. The good thing here in Singapore is that the government continually supports the initiative of its people. That is a good sign.

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In this case, have you considered the health benefits of sweet potato? Here are some benefits that you want to know about sweet potato:

High in Vitamin B6

Sweet potatoes are notable for its high content of Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps in reducing the Homocysteine. Homocystein causes degenerative diseases.

High in Vitamin C

Sweet potatoes are good sources of Vitamin C. Vitamin C are very important because it strengthens the immune system. You will be protected from cold or flu viruses. It also helps brighten the skin.

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High in Vitamin D

Sweet potatoes contain high levels of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is important because it makes sure that our bones, skin, heart, teeth, nerves and other parts of the body are healthy.

High in Iron

Sweet potatoes are important because they contain high levels of Iron. You should know that Iron is crucial in the blood cell production. It also helps you resist stress and it promotes proper functioning of the immune system.

High in Magnesium

Sweet potatoes also contain high levels of Magnesium. Magnesium is also known as the “anti-stress mineral”.

Sweet potatoes may look simple and crude but it can do so much. You need to take it so you will be healthy and happy. More importantly, you have to entice your kids to eat sweet potatoes so they can benefit from it too.

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