Want a primer on how to stock your fridge and pantry with all the foods you need to make healthy and tasty meals? Here are the top 11 VeggieLush fridge and pantry staples to have in your house:
- Seasonal Veggies – Perhaps the most important food to have in your home is the unassuming veggie. Find some veggies that work for you and pack ’em in! Whether you roast them, stir fry them, steam them or throw them in soup or salad, these little guys are at the center of any healthy diet.
- Fruit – Fruit satisfies your sweet tooth; provides important phytonutrients; it makes a great snack; and it helps you celebrate the bounty of any season. Be sure you have some seasonal fruit ready to put on your oatmeal, grab as a snack or dip in nut butter.
- Beans! See my last post- a mixture of dry and canned beans for convenience is great to have on hand. When you have more time, soak them and make them into tacos, stews, chili, salads and more! Pressed for time? The canned varieties are great in a pinch – I like to rinse them before cooking to get off any can flavor or excess salt. Then, have at it!
- Whole Grains – I like to have both quick and long cooking grains on hand. For an easy weeknight meal, quinoa is always great, because it’s high in protein, and it cooks quickly. Need it even faster? Find whole grain couscous, which takes just a couple minutes. When you have a little more time on your hands, heartier whole grains like barley, farro and brown rice make a toothsome accompaniment. I also recommend whole grain pasta, whole grain noodles and a loaf of whole grain bread.
- Lean Proteins – This is one big category that includes tofu, tempeh, seitan, low-fat dairy, fish and lean meats (if you eat them), veggie meats (like gardein or tofurkey, but skip the stuff with a ton of additives), eggs and other sources of protein that aren’t beans. Aim for about a quarter of your plate filled with these power house foods.
- Healthy Fats – Some time in the 80’s people decided fat was unhealthy, but guess what? Fat is back and it’s helping people stay healthy and fit! Including these foods in your diet can keep you full longer, help with overall health, lower inflammation, and did I mention it’s delicious? Try canola oil, sunflower oil sesame oil, avocado oil or olive oil. There are a variety of others that you can use both hot and cold, and it’s nice to have a few choices on hand. Plus, consider having some butter, coconut oil or Earth Balance on hand for richer foods. Lastly, make sure you’re getting some Omega 3’s in your diet, either through fish and supplements or through plant-based sources such as algae, flax, chia seeds and nuts.
- Condiments – A good condiment can liven up any meal. Try Dijon mustard, sherry vinegar, rice wine vinegar, citrus (for salad dressings and sauces), Just Mayo or other mayo, a good salsa, maple syrup, some good hot sauce (one asian and one Latinx), tahini (sauces and hummus), low-sodium tamari and nut butter.
- Spices – A good spice rack is important for making flavorful food! It’s nice to have a variety of ethnic flavors such as Indian (curry, turmeric, garam masala, coriander), Mexican (chili powder, cumin), American/European (paprika, smoked paprika, garlic powder, sage, rosemary, thyme), Asian (Chinese 5 spice, ginger), Italian (oregano, basil, chili flakes), Middle Eastern (cardamom, ras al hanout, allspice) and any others you enjoy. Aromatics such as shallots, onions, garlic, ginger and jalapenos can also be placed in this category, as they’re the flavor-starters in most meals.
- Healthy Snacks – Hummus or other bean dips, roasted nuts, whole grain crackers, cut up veggies, olives and pickles make nice, low-cal snacks.
- Carefully chosen frozen foods – Keep a few frozen veggies around for quick meals when there isn’t enough fresh stuff around. Some convenience foods frozen veggie burgers, frozen burritos, frozen enchiladas or tamales or raviolis can be nice for those nights when you don’t feel like cooking.
- Need a sweet fix? Unsweetened cocoa powder, dark chocolate, medjool dates and bananas can all be used for healthy deserts. Find something you love that you can reward yourself with and keep a stash for nights when you need a little boost.
Want a more personalized pantry plan? Book an appointment for a full pantry assessment and revamp. It can all be done online!