Are you ready for the new year? Maybe your unhealthy problem is the food that is in your pantry. Having the healthy essentials are necessary for healthy meals. Take the month of December to prepare for a healthy 2016.
Top 15 pantry basics:
Brown rice: Full of fiber and flavor. Cook your brown rice with chicken or vegetable broth for more flavor. I love baking rice.
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice
- 2 1/3 cup water or broth
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. salt
Bring water, salt and olive oil to a boil. Add brown rice to a baking dish. Add boiling water to rice and cover with foil. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Enjoy.
Whole wheat pasta or quinoa pasta: Pasta is a great source of carbohydrate. Most people are scared of pasta because it is full of carbohydrate. The secret is choosing healthy sauces and portion control. Limit portion to 1 cup servings. Add lean protein to pasta and add lots of vegetables.
Whole oats (not instant): Oats contain soluble fiber, this fiber may help reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Oats are a great breakfast addition or a great binder in your lean turkey meatballs.
Chicken or vegetable broth: Always have broth on hand. Very useful to make healthy homemade soups or cook beans. Great way to add moisture and flavor.
Chia seeds/hemp seeds: Great to add to oatmeal, smoothies, cereal, yogurt or muffins and pancakes. These cute little seeds pack a punch of protein and fiber.
Whole wheat pancake mix/buckwheat pancake mix: healthy pancakes are great for breakfast or use as a snack. I love adding applesauce or smashed bananas to my whole wheat pancake mix. I also add protein powder, cinnamon and vanilla and eggs. Add water or milk until a pancake consistency and make into pancakes. These are great to pop in the toaster on a rushed morning. Top with natural nut butter instead of sugar filled syrup.
No salt added canned beans: any variety. Great way to add protein and fiber to your meals.
Nuts: almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, pecans. Nuts are full of healthy fats, protein and fiber. Just watch your serving size. Nuts tend to be packed with nutrition but also full of calories and fat.
Organic popcorn: Great as a snack. Popcorn can be easily popped in a paper bag without butter or oil. Popcorn is a great carbohydrate rich food that has healthy fiber. Plus, it is filling and low in calories. It is a great crunchy snack.
Canned diced tomatoes: These are great for a quick spaghetti sauce or chili. It is always great to have canned tomatoes on hand. Choose the variety without salt added. Canned tomatoes have lycopene that fresh tomatoes do not offer. Lycopene can protect the heart from disease and may prevent several types of cancer.
Canned tuna: Choose packed in water variety. Tuna is a great way to add protein to your meals. Limit tuna to 6oz per week to limit mercury.
Quinoa: A complete protein, source of carbohydrate full of fiber. Quinoa is actually a seed even though nutritionally it is similar to a grain. Prepare just like you would a rice. Eat instead of a rice. Perfect for vegetarian meals or use as a side dish.
Flavored vinegars: Red wine, white wine, rice wine, apple cider and balsamic vinegars are a few to keep on hand. These vinegars can be made into flavorful salad dressings.
Dry Herbs: bay leaves, dill, dried sage, dried thyme leaves, oregano, tarragon, and Italian seasoning blend. Dry herbs add flavor without salt to your meals.
Natural nut butters: Peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, sunflower seed butter. Just make sure they are natural. The only ingredients should be nuts and salt. There will be oil at the top when you purchase these. Just stir the oil into the paste and store in the fridge. Nut butters are high in protein and healthy fats. Limit nut butter to a few tablespoons per day if you are watching your weight.
Top 10 vegetables for your fridge:
Broccoli slaw: great easy and simply way to get your vegetables. Add to salads or use for a stir fry.
Edamame: Great as a snack, or use on a salad. Full of protein and fiber. Edamame are soy beans and enjoyed by many.
Carrots: Baby carrots are great, but the large carrots tend to have more flavor and crunch.
Spinach: Spinach is great to add to soups, salads, eggs, casserole dishes and several recipes. Spinach is high in fiber and vitamin K. Spinach is also high in iron. Use spinach instead of lettuce on your sandwiches.
Zucchini: This vegetables is mild and a great addition to any dish. Use zucchini in stir fry’s or in your favorite pasta dish. Zucchini is great roasted and used as a side dish.
Onions: Brown onions, white onions, yellow onions and red onions. Onions add a ton of flavor and contain very little sodium. Onions are high in antioxidants and help boost the immune system. Onions can be used in a variety of dishes.
Radishes/diakon radishes: Crunchy and full of flavor. Radishes are great to keep on hand. Eat raw or pickle radishes and add to your favorite sandwich or salad.
Sweet potatoes/yams: These potatoes are starchy, meaning they contain carbohydrate. They are a great source of fiber and healthy energy. Use in place of rice or pasta. Bake sweet potatoes and yams, and freeze in freezer bags.
Green beans: Versatile with a mild flavor. Roast, BBQ, steam or enjoy raw. Green beans are great as a side dish, added to soup or chopped and added to a casserole.
Kale: It is a super food. Add to soups or salads. Full of fiber, antioxidants, vitamin A and iron. Kale is a great food to keep on hand.
Local free range eggs: Eggs offer high quality protein. Free range mean that the chickens spend most time outdoors for at least part of the day. Instead of being cooped up. It is easy to make eggs into a healthy dish when you are in a rush and need a quick meal.
Frozen berries: Great to keep on hand to add to yogurt, muffin recipes, pancakes and smoothies. Berries contain antioxidants that can help protect against several types of cancer and diseases.
Greek yogurt: High in protein and calcium. Yogurt also contains active bacteria that will boost your immune system. Yogurt can be eaten by itself or you can use plain yogurt as a great replacement for sour cream.
Low fat dairy milk or almond milk: Fortified with calcium, great beverage to add calcium into your diet.
Lean protein: Lean ground turkey (7-10% lean)
Boneless skinless chicken breast
Tofu (firm or extra firm) or baked tofu
* It is best to use animal protein as a condiment. Animal protein has been linked to inflammation. Choose lean protein wisely.