We’ve halfway through January already. If you made a New Year’s Resolution, it’s time to focus. If you are like me and have made eating healthy one of your 2014 goals, congratulations! It is totally possible with planning. Eek! Planning? Yes, planning. My goal this year to is plan better so that I am not calling my husband on the way home to pick up some take out. I would like to share some of my favorite essential pantry items for prepping your pantry and I encourage you to try them out.
The first part of the plan is to create weekly menus on the weekend and then do my grocery shopping. That is always my problem. I rush to the grocery store without a list and without a weekly menu. With a list I will have everything I need to make a HEALTHY dinner every night for my family.
Check out my current pantry–it needs work on so many levels.
I do my best to keep chips, cookies, soda and candy out of my pantry to decrease temptation. If they are in my pantry, they call my name!
Instead, try these options…
- Frozen Vegetables: These are a nutritious, economical alternative to fresh vegetables. Add vegetables to sauces and soups to increase the health value and decrease the calories/serving. Some have interesting sauces that can add flavor but remember, sauces usually mean extra calories and sodium.
- Canned Tomatoes: Whole, diced, pureed, sauce, and paste all contain lycopene, a potent antioxidant. Add these to soups, stews and sauces to increase nutrient value. Make sure to purchase canned tomatoes with no added salt.
- Canned Beans: A quick way to add protein and fiber to any meal. Purchase the no-salt added beans, and drain and rinse them before using.
- Low sodium canned chicken, tuna, and salmon: Full of protein and can be a quick healthy sandwich or put over some greens. Delicious!
- Whole Wheat Pasta: Pair with vegetables, canned beans (like garbanzo beans), a touch of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and you have a healthy meal ready in no time.
- Oatmeal: Try steel cut or old fashioned rolled oats. Oatmeal is a whole grain and its soluble fiber content is beneficial for lowering cholesterol levels. You can make it with low fat or fat free milk instead of water to boost your calcium intake and it only takes a few minutes in the microwave for a quick healthy breakfast or snack. Toss in some fresh fruit and a few nuts for a more complete meal.
- Nuts, Seeds and Dried Fruits: They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but they are also loaded with calories so watch your portions. Add these to your oatmeal or yogurt to make a more substantial snack.
- Frozen Fish: It can be a convenient, healthy meal. Frozen fish will thaw quickly in cold water. Make sure to buy plain frozen fish, not breaded or seasoned. Add a serving of brown rice and frozen vegetables for a colorful, quick, and healthy meal.
OK! The moral of the story is plans your meals as much as possible and stuff your pantry with healthy goodies. So here is your challenge. Submit a picture of your pantry during the next two weeks by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The best before and after picture will win a Whole U T-shirt!
Do you have any tips for pantry prep? Please leave them in the comments!