In My Pantry: My Kitchen Staples
I just want to start off by saying that I like to keep things simple, very simple. When I cook, I usually look for recipes that require very little effort and fluff. I like to keep things in my fridge and pantry that I know are easy to throw a meal together with but also provide me with good nutritional value.
I have put together a list of foods that I ALWAYS try and keep on hand to throw a meal together with or to have as a snack (in hopes of preventing that hangry state). These are foods that I try and make sure to get at the grocery store that don’t include the recipes I have decided to cook for the week.
Breads, Pastas, Crackers, Snack Bars
Nature’s Own Wheat Bread- I sometimes prefer the honey wheat even though the whole wheat would be a little better for you nutritionally. I know there are plenty of other brands that may be “healthier” but I choose this because of the price and taste preference.
Barilla Whole Grain Rotini Pasta-This is definitely a perfect staple to keep in the pantry for quick dinner sides.
Pretzels- These are always a good low calorie snack when eaten in the right portion size. They are higher in sodium so keeping them in moderation is definitely key. I also wouldn’t recommend eating these before working out...talk about a thirsty workout!!
Kind Bars and Granola- These are such a perfect little snack and contain heart-healthy ingredients that are naturally sweetened by dried fruit and honey.
Oatmeal- It is a good source of fiber and helps to keep you fuller longer. This staple is more for my husband than for me because he loves his oatmeal EVERY morning! I love oatmeal but I tend to get sick of it easily!
Quinoa- This is my all time favorite staple...and that is a fact! There is soooo much you can do with quinoa and because of its nutritional properties it is not only a carbohydrate but a WHOLE protein. You can use it in the morning with breakfast, sprinkled on a salad for lunch, or made as a side dish for dinner. I just love it!
Boneless, skinless chicken- This is pretty much the only meat I make sure to have in my freezer at all times because there is so much you can do with chicken. You can grill it, bake it, stuff it, or do whatever your little heart desires! I know there are other meats that I will get at the grocery store but this is one staple I make sure to always have in the freezer.
Nuts & Seeds
Chia Seeds- These are a heart-healthy source of omega-3 fatty acids that help to increase energy and keep you feeling fuller longer. I like to add these to my smoothies in the morning or sprinkle them in my yogurt.
Unsalted Almonds-These are also a great heart-healthy snack that you should always keep on hand, but also keep in moderation!
Ground Flaxseed-This is my newest favorite addition. They are an awesome source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein. I like to add these to my smoothies, oatmeal, or yogurt.
Peanut Butter-It may be high in fat but it is a good source of protein and a great addition to a snack! I try and get the kind that just has peanuts and salt listed as the ingredients t limit all the extra ingredients but I also am a fan of the Jif Omega-3 Creamy Peanut Butter.
Silk almond milk, Unsweetened Vanilla Flavor-If you haven’t tried this yet, you are missing out! I try to get the low calorie unsweetened milk so that I am not loading up on too much sugar. I drink this milk by the glass, use it in my smoothies, or add it to recipes!
Low Fat, Mozzarella String Cheese- This is one of my favorite snacks to keep on hand. They are low in fat and a good source in protein to prevent you from being hangry!
Feta Cheese- I use this on salads during the week and it can also go with so many different recipes!
Greek Yogurt- I am not one of those yogurt snobs and I pretty much like all brands of yogurt. I usually go for the Chobani brand (because they usually have good deals) and get the original without any fruit and add my own fruit and sweetener to try and lower my sugar content.
Fruits & Vegetables
Bananas- Always good for a snack especially with an addition of peanut butter.
Apples- Another fruit that you can grab on the go and is also good with a slab of peanut butter.
Frozen mixed fruit- I like to have this on hand for smoothies in the morning. I usually get the Dole brand and use about a cup with each smoothie.
Kale- I always, always have kale. This is a great source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, as well as being low calorie. This is my second favorite staple, second to the quinoa. There are sooo many things you can do with kale. You can eat it raw in a salad, sauté it, make kale chips with it, you decide because there are plenty of options to choose from!
Frozen broccoli- I always try and have at least frozen broccoli in the freezer so that if I am out of all my fresh vegetables I know I can at least add a green to my meal with the broccoli. Frozen veggies don’t go bad if I don’t use them fast enough, and are also inexpensive.
Sauces, Vinegar, & Spices
Tomato Sauce- I have used a homemade recipe that I love from Skinny Taste that you can find here. I also will try and find the low sodium sauces when buying in the grocery store.
Red Wine Vinegar- I use this on my salads instead of using high calorie dressings. Don’t get me wrong, I love ranch dressing but I usually put the red wine vinegar on and dip my salad into my ranch so that I am not over consuming my calories with my dressing.
Balsamic Vinegar- This is similar to the red wine vinegar. I use it in salads or to mix with other ingredients for a marinade.
Mustard- I like to mix the balsamic vinegar with the mustard along with some other ingredients to make a nice marinade for my chicken that I put on the grill or bake in the oven.
Salt & Pepper- This should always be on hand to flavor any foods! I try and stick more to the pepper instead of the salt for my flavoring to avoid too much sodium intake.
Garlic- I love to add garlic to most meals, I think it gives it good flavor (even though it may give you bad breath).
Spice Rack- this is a necessity that we got as a gift from our wedding registry and I am obsessed with it! It has all the basic spices I could need to flavor a meal. It has parsley, rosemary, italian seasoning, cinnamon, basil, sage, paprika, oregano, and some others that I don’t use as often.
These staples may not be for you and you might just hate everything I have on this list. That is perfectly fine! We are all different and all have different preferences but hopefully I have given some of you some helpful tips and ideas for your pantry staples!
***pantry image by www.shelterness.com