Getting started on a new healthy path can be a confusing and daunting process. It’s going to be even more difficult for you if you don’t have the right foods around. And honestly, if I’m hungry and haven’t set myself up for success – I end up eating whatever junk I have around. (Or I’ll order in junk which is a double fail because it’s crap and it’s expensive!)
I’m going to show you my list of the staples that I like to have around the house. If I’m ever in a jam, I always have healthy options. I’m not going to be listing any perishables because those obviously won’t keep for weeks at a time. You can use this list as a jumping off point for your own pantry but because your tastes are going to differ from mine, feel free to add whatever you like. You’ll eventually develop a pattern and know what you need to have around to create awesome dishes of your own!
Stacey’s Pantry Staples:
- Stock – can be chicken, beef or vegetable. I buy the organic/low-sodium variety but if you have extra time why not whip up some of your own and freeze small batches? I use stock allll the time in soups, stews, when making rice or quinoa…it is super versatile and is a great way to add flavour to your dishes.
- Beans – my favourites are black beans, kidney beans and chick peas (garbanzo beans) I put them in salads all the time, add them to rice dishes, put them in chili. They are a great way to add protein to your diet and up your fibre intake.
- Lentils – much like beans they are an easy addition to any meal. Like beans they come dried or canned, I buy canned because they last longer and I don’t have to soak them prior to eating.
- Quinoa – super fast, super easy, super nutritious. You can easily whip up a batch as a side dish or a main course and fill it with whatever you like.
- Brown rice – Like quinoa this is a great side dish or main course to build on. There is no prep time and once its on the stove you can walk away until its done.
- Frozen veggies – these are a great alternative to their fresh counter parts. And because they are flash frozen, their nutrients are still intact! I like to have peas, corn and broccoli around but you can choose whatever you like! Or you can freeze your own veggies from the garden so you know exactly where they came from!
- Onions – I add onions to my dishes all the time. They bring so much flavour to your creations and take two seconds to chop up! If you can get past the tears then you’re laughing!
- Spices – these are essential to creating delicious dishes. They are extremely versatile and last for quite a while. Generally the shelf life of ground spices is about 2-3 years. Crazy, right!? You can keep your personal favourites around but mine are oregano, curry, garlic power, dill and basil. I also really enjoy using Braggs liquid aminos. It’s a great alternative to soy sauce and is not fermented or heated and is gluten-free. You can find it in the health food aisle of most grocery stores.
I’m going to stop there because I don’t want it to be overwhelming for you! There are lots of other great choices and as you get good at making your own meals you’ll start to recognize what you need each time you go shopping.
Tip of the Blog!!
I like to have a few freezer staples on hand for those night that I just cannot bring myself to cook. I always make extra of certain meals so that I can freeze single portions for later. Chili and lasagna work great in this respect, as do soups and stews!
Happy shopping everyone!