Smart, Easy Ways to Stock Your Kitchen for Year-Round Healthy Eating

Making the choice to eat healthy is a great beginning to a new lifestyle. It’s not always easy though, especially when you’re just starting out. Here are some ideas about how to stock your healthy pantry and fridge, with foods that last a long time.

1. Grains

Grains are a big part of a healthy diet. While fresh fruits and vegetables are essential to good health, grains are eaten at almost every meal and provide many of the calories in a healthy diet. Stock your pantry with whole grains that can be used as the basis of a healthy meals such as brown or red rice, quinoa and bulgur wheat. Any of these can be made into a one-dish meal or an easy side. They’ll also last for a year or more since they’re dry so you can buy in bulk and save some money.

2. Legumes

You can buy legumes either dried or canned. Dried legumes need to be soaked for a half a day or so before they are cooked but they are more flavorful and less expensive than their canned counterparts. Keeping beans, garbanzo beans and lentils in your pantry will make it easy to add a source of low calorie, healthy protein to your diet.

3. Winter Vegetables

Eating fresh vegetables is much better for you than eating canned or frozen (though either of these are better than no vegetables at all). The trouble is that fresh veggies don’t last very long. Winter veggies, however, such as potatoes, onions, winter squash and sweet potatoes will last a long time in the pantry and even longer in the fridge. Keep some winter veggies on hand all year-round so you can add fresh vegetables to your diet without having to add an extra trip to the grocery store.

4. Canned/Foil-Packaged Fish

Fish is a good source of lean protein. Canned tuna or salmon will last a long time in the pantry and can be a great and healthy addition to a quick meal. Make sure you use fish before the expiration date printed on the can.

5. Pasta

Pasta makes a quick, easy meal and lasts a long time in the pantry. There are many types of pasta available, so make sure you stock up on a variety. Rice pasta, whole wheat pasta and buckwheat pasta make great healthy additions to your pantry and add a variety of flavors to your cooking.

6. The Essentials

If you’re planning on cooking for yourself, you’ll want to make sure you have some of the essentials. These ingredients will last a long time and can be used in a variety of different recipes to make all kinds of different dishes.

Spices: salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic salt, seasoned salt, oregano, cinnamon, curry powder.

Seasonings: soy sauce, hot sauce, garlic sauce, tomato sauce, hoisin sauce.

Canned goods: crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, beans, veggies, soups, coconut milk.

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