The 7 most underrated foods in your kitchen

Forget food fads. Some of the best, most nutritious ingredients are probably already in your pantry – and for good reason.

It’s easy so distracted by the latest superfoods that we forget about the tried and tested, good ol’ fashioned staples that have been around forever.

“No one single food will make us super healthy; we need a variety of nutritious foods for overall good health,” says dietitian and nutritionist Rebecca Gawthorne.

And the best bit about going old school?

“These classic healthy foods are often very affordable as they don’t have the expensive marketing behind them,” she says.

So before you shell out for a fancy new “it” food, reach deep into your pantry for these old favourites that are jam-packed with nutrients.


You might want to consider having a warming porridge more regularly, because oats are a nutritional powerhouse.

“They’re an excellent source of low GI energy, fibre and beta glucan,” Rebecca says.

“They’re also beneficial for controlling blood sugars, cholesterol levels, satiety and digestion.”


The next time you’re whipping up a stir fry or pasta, consider adding a generous portion of immune-boosting garlic.

Along with being a flavour bomb, Rebecca says they contain antibacterial and antiviral properties like allicin.


Most of us are likely to have onions in our kitchen most of the time, and it seems shedding a few tears to incorporate them into our cooking is worth it.

“They have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties with heart health and immunity benefits,” Rebecca says.


They’re a regular feature in most fruit bowls and an easy snack, but don’t forget the humble banana contains healthy carbs, vitamins, minerals and fibre.

“These are beneficial for managing high blood pressure, gut health and boosting your mood,” Rebecca says.


Not only are they inexpensive and a great addition to dishes such as salads and casseroles but legumes such as beans and lentils are a great source of fibre, plant protein, vitamins and minerals.

“They’re beneficial for reducing cholesterol and blood sugar levels, along with being good for heart health, satiety and gut health,” Rebecca says.

Olive oil

Most cooking these days would be lost without a little olive oil.

And that’s great, Rebecca says, because olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, which are beneficial for heart health and reducing inflammation in the body.


Spuds are a common kitchen staple but we often forget how good they are for our health. Rebecca says the classic potato is a “good source of fibre, carbohydrates and minerals”.

“And cooked potatoes contain resistant starch, which is beneficial for gut health,” she says.

Written by Tania Gomez.