Any professional rower will tell you how important it is to eat throughout the day. The average calorie intake of an elite rower is around 5000 calories a day. This is to offset the sheer amount of exercise that is done daily.
Today, I’ll be going over some pantry essentials that you should have around at home all the time for quick and easy meals or snacks.
Some of these will be easier than others to get hold of but all are relatively inexpensive and require little to no effort to consume.
Soreen malt loaf
Soreen is a fantastic snack to have in your pantry if you like it! It’s made with malt which is a fantastic source of natural energy and also has plenty of fibre in it to promote a healthy diet. You’ll find it’s relatively low in sugar and saturated fats and has fewer calories than your average snack. It’s lovely toasted with some butter too!
There’s not too much to say about this one. You can get packets of ready mix porridge at any major supermarket. Most of the time all you need to do is add water or milk to it, chuck it in the microwave and you’ve got yourself a bowl of porridge ready to eat. It’s a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals including zinc, magnesium, and iron. It’s also been shown to lower your cholesterol which is fantastic. It’s a perfect addition to your pantry.
Everyone has pasta! The one pantry essential above all others should be pasta! It’s made from grains which is one of the basic food groups. It’s a fantastic source of energy and can provide you with a healthy amount of fibre too. There are so many dishes that you can make that use pasta as one of the main ingredients and the best thing about it is that it’s super easy and quick to make most pasta-based dishes.
Another absolute pantry essential to have to go with your pasta is pasta sauce. These can be anything ranging from a wide range of different flavours. You can get a tomato-based sauce to mix with mince and vegetables. Consider maybe a carbonara sauce to mix with mushrooms and grilled chicken. The possibilities are endless and the quick dinners become even quicker if you prepare some of the ingredients ahead of time in bulk like grilled chicken for example.
For me, I find that having a few cans of chopped tomatoes in the pantry at all times is such a handy way to bulk out a meal to make it stretch into multiple portions. It takes all of the effort out of blanching and chopping tomatoes, and it’s a fantastic way of making a sauce for whatever dish you’re making. Even having a few tins of whole tinned tomatoes can be handy to have as you can put them in a dish and crush them when they’ve heated up.
There’s nothing like a bit of natural sweetness to add to your meals. Whether you’re using honey in porridge to sweeten it up a bit, adding it to overnight oats to give it that nice overall taste, or mixing it with soy sauce and mustard to make a nice coating for your grilled chicken. It’s such a versatile ingredient that can be used in so many dishes, and you can buy it almost anywhere. Honey is really good for you too (In moderation). Studies have shown that consuming only 2 tablespoons of honey a day can contribute to faster wound healing, provide you with many antioxidants, and even has some anti-inflammatory properties.
Need a quick energy boost mid-session? Reach into your pantry for a pack of electrolyte gel and pretty soon you’ll find yourself with that extra boost of energy that you so desperately needed. Electrolyte gels come in many different forms but most of the time they’ll be made from a blend of different sugars. Some even contain caffeine which can be great if you’re feeling a little sluggish before a session. They are packed full of carbs but contain very little to no fat, protein, or fibre which means that your body can digest them quite quickly.
Sometimes you just can’t be bothered to make breakfast in the morning. Enter cereal bars! These super-convenient little bars are a fantastic way of sneaking a quick snack in on your way to training. Filled with natural grains and healthy additives they serve to be a great food to keep in your pantry. Whether it’s a breakfast substitute or a mid-day snack they are perfectly pre-portioned to aid with weight control and to provide you with a set amount of nutrients to get you through the day. They’re a great on-the-go snack!
Why drink plain old water when you could add a splash of flavour to your water? Cordials are made with either natural or added sugar which means that they are also high in energy. Some cordials even come in handy little bottles that are super concentrated to add flavour to your water which can be handy to keep in your kit bag. If you go for a natural fruit cordial you will also find that you gain the health benefits of the fruit and in the right volume, can contribute to your 5 fruits and vegetables a day. They’re perfect for on the go energy and give you something to look forward to at the end of a session. They are one of the handiest pantry essentials I have at the moment.
While you may find that oats aren’t always as quick and easy as a lot of the other items on this list, there is an argument to be had for overnight oats. This is a fantastic way of preparing breakfast the night before and the mixtures are endless! Oats are packed full of energy and nutrients. Much like the ready mix porridge, oats are fantastic for slow and steady energy release. For overnight oats, you will need some additional ingredients like yoghurt and fruit, but luckily one of the ingredients you also need is one of the pantry essentials! Honey! Simply mix together the oats, yoghurt, frozen fruit (for convenience), and honey the night before you want it and you’ve got yourself a lovely simple breakfast!
There we have it! Our picks for 10 pantry essentials every rower should have at all times. Please note that these are only suggestions for essentials, and depending on your diet, lifestyle or allergies they may very well change.
Take a look at our articles for quick and easy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners with recipes using some of these pantry essentials.