Do you ever say something like, “I have nothing to eat for dinner tonight” or get frustrated by not having options to snack on between meals? In this post I’ll cover ideas to address these issues and overall tips to help you make healthy eating decisions by setting your kitchen up for success.
There are several factors you need to consider when shopping and stocking your kitchen. I was having a discussion Saturday night with a friend about this topic. I can always talk food… They find it beneficial to keep their kitchen pretty bare and shop often so their food is fresh. They also found by shopping more frequent they wasted less food compared to when they shopped in bulk about every 10 days. This approach can certainly work, especially if you are close to a market where you get most of what you need quickly. On the flip side this can be challenging when you are home and not sure what you want to eat, thus requiring you to go out to the market when you maybe don’t feel like it or are pressed for time. Could this result in simply going out to dinner?
I have also found myself wasting food I have purchased when I had no prescribed plan to use it. I probably made these decisions in the market when I was hungry and thought I better get it, “just in case.” I’ve been better in all purchasing choices when if the answer to the question, “what am I buying it for?” is “just in case” I should probably not buy it. Now I only buy short shelf life foods if I have a plan to use it.
When planning what you should have in your kitchen, I love the guideline Rip Esselstyn, author of The Engine 2 Diet, provides when he states the average U.S.family eats the same 6-7 meals throughout a month. Of course you may vary from this number but I bet it’s close to that number. Think of that when you are stocking your kitchen for the 6-7 meals you would cook over the month and what healthy snacks you should consider to bridge you from meal to meal. I will share what I keep in my kitchen to set me up for success on a regular basis.
Let’s start with what’s in the refrigerator. I keep the following items in my refrigerator almost all the time:
- Kombucha – probiotic; keep that gut scrubbed; one per day
- Strawberries and blueberries – high in antioxidants; use often in cereals, acai bowls, smoothies
- Dates – FIBER, sweetener; use often in smoothies
- Grapes – snack to curb my sweet tooth
- Carrots and celery – use with hummus and juice blends
- Spinach – 2 cups a day minimum to aid in sports recovery; great source of iron and calcium; use in salad and smoothies
- Mushrooms – I LOVE mushrooms and add to many dishes; great fiber, protein and other nutrients
- Oranges – vitamin C; there is something about a chilled orange that is unreal; great in between meal snack; whatever they do in California…I love a California orange!
- Ezekiel 4 9 Flax Sprouted Whole Grain Bread – great bread source vs. nutrient deficient processed flour breads; use often for avocado toast and peanut butter
- Almond milk – use as milk substitute – without the saturated fat and cancer producing qualities of cow milk
- Vegetable broth – great substitute for olive oil; olive oil generally has 120 calories per tablespoon…ouch!
- Salsa – as I avoid oils almost completely, I have found salsa a great salad dressing option
Here are some of the highlights from my pantries:
- Smoothie supplies – Vega Protein and Greens and Vega Sport Protein mix; good meal replacement and post workout drink; I add in maca, spirulina, wheat grass and other ingredients depending on what I have a taste for
- Engine 2 and Ezekiel cereals – these are really clean cereals in the sense of not having a lot of added processed ingredients including sugar; 4 grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon…check those cereal labels!
- Pasta supplies – I love brown rice and chickpea pastas; avoid the nutrient deficient processed white pastas
- Quinoa, brown rice, beans and jack fruit – I have a mix of can beans and jack fruit along with bags of uncooked quinoa, brown rice and black beans for larger cooking efforts
- Seeds – Flax, hemp, and chia seeds for heart health and other great benefits; use often in smoothies and bowls
- Nuts – Cashews for cheese blends (WOW!!!), a small handful of raw almonds daily (Great source of protein!), walnuts (great in salads and heart healthy!!!)
- Oats and granola – use in smoothies, bowls, cereal and baking
- Cinnamon – fantastic antioxidant and flavor to many things – smoothies, bowls, cereal
- Maple syrup and honey – use as a sweetener vs. processed sugar
My counter tops will always have:
- Bananas – I get made fun of with how many bananas I buy and consume. I eat probably 5-6 a day either solo as a snack, in a bowl or cereal and frozen used in smoothies and acai bowls
- Apples – fiber, vitamins; great snack between meals and I use in juices
- Avocados – fiber, heart healthy fats and so much more; love avocado toast with lime juice!
- Potatoes – loaded with phytonutrients and antioxidants; oh in an air fryer soooooo healthy!
- TV – I love watching video cooking demonstrations while I cook. The Happy Pear YouTube channel is often going with their quick meal demos
Not pictured but what I keep in my freezer includes:
- Acai fruit and frozen fruit – use in acai bowls and smoothies; great antioxidants!
- Frozen vegetables – I change up based on what I’m in mood for but usually I have a bag of mixed veggies I will steam and throw on a bed of rice or quinoa
- Ice packs – use often to aid in recovery of stress on the legs and hip flexors
I have posted on different occasions how I travel with a bag of food and a cooler most of the time. I take the following from my kitchen and throw in a bag and cooler almost every time I go out:
- raw almonds
- amino drink mix
I will add in other items depending on what I’m in the mood for but if you stop me out somewhere I guarantee I have these items on me unless the bag of almonds is empty from already eating them. This has helped me so many times in not making an unhealthy decision.
I hope this helps you think of how to stock your kitchen.
– Add Health to Your Life
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