Things are about to get REAL!
So real that I barely even cleaned out my cabinets and fridge before snapping these pics!
Life gets busy. And busy people don’t always make the best food choices. One of the best ways that I know to make healthy eating easy is to be prepared!
Because preparation prevents poor performance!
One of the most frequent questions I receive when people find out I study nutrition is “What do you eat?” Well, before I can eat, I must properly stock my fridge and pantry so I always have healthy options available. Because as soon as I head to Seamless I may not be making the best choice. And even if I do, research shows that the same meal from a restaurant can contain 200+ more calories than if I were to make it at home. Plus, more sodium, fat, and sugar. Oyy.
So what’s in my pantry, fridge and freezer at all times for a quick meal at the drop of a hat?
This is not a comprehensive list, but let’s take a look at my favorite kitchen staples…
- Seasonal produce: Something green, something red/orange, and something blue/purple…always…typically whatever’s on sale!
- Fresh herbs…except for basil because it doesn’t like the cold!
- Sharp cheese…because a little goes a loooong way! I LOVE parmesan and feta!
- Sunflower seed butter (I like it cold!).
- Home brewed coffee…to put over ice.
- Soy milk…for my AM smoothies.
- Ground flaxseeds and whole wheat flour (did you know they stay fresher in the fridge?!)
- Some prepared grain…for grab and go salads mid-week.
- …and more
- Frozen veggies…a must for healthy dinner in a pinch! My favorites are edamame, spinach, and a pepper/onion blend (hellooo fajitas!). I also usually keep a bag of TJ’s fire roasted corn around so I can whip up my black bean burgers in less than 20 mins!
- Frozen fruit…warm berries atop protein pancakes anyone?!
- Veggie burgers (Dr. Praeger’s or my own homemade)
- Frozen bananas for my smoothies
- Leftover smoothie cubes (leftover smoothie >> ice cube tray >> yum!)
- Extra marinara sauce…because I often won’t use the whole jar quick enough to keep it in the fridge (simply measure 1/2 cup portions in ziploc baggies or reusable containers and place flat in the freezer!).
- Leftovers! Because who doesn’t like just having to re-heat hearty chili or warming soup?!
(because I sure don’t have a “pantry” here in NYC!)
- Beans of all kinds…especially black beans and white cannelloni beans
- Grains, grains, grains! I typically always have quinoa, popcorn kernels, black rice, and farro. I typically have some whole grain pasta in the back of my cabinets as well, but I’m not a hugggee pasta person.
- Seeds of all kinds (sunflower seeds, pepitas, chia seeds, hemp hearts)
- Dried lentils (green french lentils are my favorite!)
- Rolled oats and quick oats
- Jarred (in water) roasted bell peppers and sometimes artichoke hearts
- Happy Herbert’s oat bran pretzels…because I’m totally addicted!
- Some kind of dried fruit (UNSWEETENED, of course!)…dates, apricots, prunes, cherries…
- Fire roasted tomatoes or whole Italian tomatoes (canned)…to quickly add to soups or ratatouille!
- Canned (in water) tuna or salmon
- Basic baking essentials >>> Unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and chocolate chips
- Vinegars...balsamic, red wine & apple cider vinegar are all musts in my book!
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut oil
- [Rao’s] marinara sauce (or another no added sugar tomato sauce)
- Spices from around the world!
- Produce that’s not supposed to go in the fridge…Onions, avocados, bananas, basil, tomatoes, etc.
So what EASY meals can I make from these staples (let’s say I didn’t get to my weekly fresh produce run)?!? Here are some quick ideas…
What favorite kitchen staples are always stocked in your kitchen??