Our mission every day is to fuel our bodies properly in order to help us conquer the battles that life assigns us each day. I believe we should focus on nutrition as our foundation. Without the right nutrients there is nothing there to protect us from illness. Whether it’s a last-minute meal or on-the-go snack, keeping your pantry and fridge stocked with these 14 kitchen essentials makes it easy to get in healthy food and keep yourself nourished.

1. Fresh fruit:
Always have a fruit on hand whenever you feel like eating something sweet or need a snack. My favourite go-tos are apples with some almond butter!

2. Nuts and seeds:
Opt for raw and unsalted. Rich in fibre and protein, a small handful a day is enough to provide nutritional benefits and give you a boost of energy.

3. Lean proteins:
Eggs, fish, and chicken are great sources of protein. Tempeh, which is a fermented soy bean patty, makes a great meat alternative.

4. Dried beans:
High in fibre, protein, and complex carbs, beans make an excellent base or accent to any meal or side dish.

5. Whole grains:
These are unrefined grains that haven’t had their bran and germ removed by milling. Quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, teff, gluten free oats and millet are perfect gluten-free options. Serve as a warm side dish or add them for breakfast, like this Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats

6. Superfood toppings:
I love adding a tablespoon a day of hemp seeds, cacao nibs, or chia seeds onto anything! They are jammed packed with nutrients such as antioxidants and healthy fats, adding super-power your smoothies or baked goods.

7. Bagged/boxed salad:
This is the quickest way to eat your greens because they require no chopping up! Just grab a handful to put into smoothies, serve as part of your meal, or simply use them for a salad.

8. Lemons:
A great source of vitamin C to help build up your immune system. I always have them on hand to squeeze into my water first thing in the morning to kick start the day by awakening the body and flushing out toxins.

9. Avocados:
Help to promote heart health and regulate blood sugar due to their high fibre and healthy fat content.. You can use them to thicken smoothies, or use as a fat replacement in baking.

10. Frozen produce:
Throw frozen veggies like edamame, peas, or carrots into soups and stews. Frozen fruits are perfect for smoothies, or whiz them in a high speed blender for a natural sorbet.

11. Herbs and spices:
Cinnamon, oregano, mint, turmeric, and ginger (to name a few) are great to include in your dishes to provide an array of health benefits and of course up the flavour factor!

12. Condiments and oils:
Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, tahini, almond butter, miso paste, and olive oil are basic ingredients for making your own salad dressings or to flavour any meat or veggie dish. Only use coconut oil or ghee when cooking since they are heat-stable.

13. Natural sweeteners:
Use maple syrup for baking or for use in sauces, raw honey to add into salad dressings, and liquid stevia to lightly sweeten tea.

14. Sea salt:
Unlike table salt which is processed, refined, and bleached, sea salt contains trace minerals and you don’t require much of it to bring flavour out in your dishes.

Incorporating a mix of these essential foods in every meal will nourish your body, have you feeling happy and healthy. Don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen, try a variety of foods from each category, over time you will find which food work best for you. You will be amazed how much your body speaks to you once you start listening.  If you’re looking for more tools and resources, check out my 30 Day Spring Kickstart Challenge starting this Monday! It includes weekly recipes, a spring cleansing protocol and supplements to help you detox your liver and improve fat loss! Get more info about it here and sign up!

This article previously appeared on www.fitfactoryfitness.com.