In our commitment to healthy eating this month, I wanted to share a few items I always have on hand in my pantry for healthy meal making and healthy snacking. This list isn’t exhaustive and can vary a bit week to week, but for the most part, I always have the following on hand:
- Quinoa. I put quinoa in everything – soup, salad, main dishes, etc – so I always try to keep handy. I love the tricolor blend from Trader Joe’s but really, anything will do. I also often cook a batch on Sundays for easy meal construction throughout the week.
- Dried mango. This is usually a treat for me, and I love it. I buy the packaged variety that is just mango, no sulfates and definitely no sugar added (Trader Joe’s has a good version).
- Refried beans. Sometimes I make them from scratch and sometimes I just used the canned variety, but either way, we eat a lot of beans in this family.
- Almond milk. I put unsweetened vanilla almond milk in my smoothies every morning and if I’ve craving a latte, I’ll make one with boiled almond milk and add either chai tea or matcha with a little stevia or honey, and cinnamon.
- Granola. I made another big batch of this when we got home from Cali, but I also love Naked granola (the stuff with chocolate is amazingly decadent) and Nature’s Path pumpkin flax granola. I eat it with almond milk or add it to a little full fat yogurt.
- Larabars. If I’m really in a pinch, my go-to grab and go bar is a Larabar. You have to be a little careful because a lot of them have added sugar, but quite a few are just dates, nuts, coconut, and spices, making it a great whole food snack.
- Trader Joe’s organic tomato basil marinara. I rarely make marinara from scratch (who has the time?), so I stock up on this jarred marinara sauce to have in the pantry. It has no added sugar, which can be hard to find in store bought marinara sauces as well.
- Dried beans. Yes, we eat a lot of beans, so I like to keep dried beans either to make refrieds or to add to soups or other dishes throughout the week. My winter favorites are anasazi beans–they’re so filling and delicious!
- Veggie broth. And since soup is at least a weekly occurrence during the winter, store bought veggie broth is a must. I’ll sometimes make it from scratch if we buy a whole chicken, but mostly, I just dress up the boxed version.
What I never keep in my pantry? Sugary grab and go snack items and processed. I am a huge believer in the Barre3 philosophy of crowding out. It’s hard to choose unhealthy options when you have to go to the store to get them and vice versa, it’s easy to choose healthy options when you have them on hand already. If we want something unhealthy to snack on, it has to be worth the effort to make it or go buy it–which often is too much effort to make it happen.
What’s in your pantry to keep on track?