A Well-Stocked Kitchen: Pantry Must-Haves
by Amber Ketchum, RD, Shane Diet, Weight-Loss & Fitness Resorts
Having a well-stocked pantry makes healthy weeknight meals come together in a snap. It’s also helpful to have some staple ingredients on hand to try new recipes without needing to go to the store to purchase several ingredients for one dish. Categorizing this list by food group can make it easier to ensure a healthy variety of balanced foods are in your kitchen. Here are some simple foods that will make meal planning a breeze:
Grains – Check food labels to make sure you have whole grain options on-hand. The first ingredient on whole grain products should always be “whole wheat flour” or “whole grain flour.”
- Whole grain pasta, bread, crackers, quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat, or corn tortillas
Fruits and Veggies – Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and packed with nutrition. They are great sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Eat a variety of colors everyday to keep your body healthy and feeling great!
- Fresh, frozen, or canned are all great options. If using canned fruit, choose those that are packed in juice or water. Choose canned vegetables that say “no salt added” or “low sodium.”
Protein – Choose lean protein sources as much as possible and include non-animal protein sources on a regular basis as well. Remember to watch your portion sizes! One serving of protein is 3 ounces, which is about the size of a deck of cards.
- Fresh, lean meat such as lean beef, pork, chicken breast, salmon, or tuna.
- Non-animal protein sources include beans, nuts, seeds, and eggs.
Dairy – Dairy foods are high in protein and are great sources of calcium, which helps keep bones healthy and helps prevent osteoporosis. Choose low fat options, such 1% or fat free (skim) milk.
- 1% or fat free (skim milk), reduced fat cottage cheese, reduced fat cheeses (often labeled “made with 2% milk), low fat or fat free yogurt, reduced fat ice cream or frozen yogurt.
If you’re skipping the dairy, make sure to include other healthy sources of calcium in the diet, such as:
- Almond or rice milk, dark green veggies, and raw almonds
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