What you keep in your pantry as staples items can have a significant impact on how successful you are in your plans to nourish your body. Without healthy foods at your fingertips, you will be more tempted to reach for foods that will wreck your plans to eat well. Here are 8 pantry staples to have on hand if your goal is healthy eating.
1. Whole Grains
Whole grains are the building blocks of a variety of healthy meals. You can use grains as the base in a myriad of soups, pastas, casseroles, and more. Good choices to keep on hand at all times include brown rice, whole grain pasta, oats, and quinoa. These grains are high in fiber as well as a host of micronutrients such as B vitamins and magnesium. Grains are also extremely shelf-stable, making them convenient and versatile.
2. Canned or Dried Beans and Lentils
Like whole grains, beans and lentils are great choices because of their long shelf life. You can use beans and lentils in canned or dried form. In addition to their longevity, beans and lentils deliver a variety of nutrients, including fiber and iron. Use them as the base of a vegetarian meal, as a tasty side dish, or to complement dishes such as soups and salads. Be sure to experiment with black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, and more.
3. Healthy Oils to Use in Cooking
In order to prepare healthy and tasty meals, you will need the proper cooking oils. If you are looking to boost the nutrition quotient of your meals, try using oils such as olive or coconut. These oils will hold for over a year at the right temperature, making them a good addition to your pantry. The healthy fats in these oils deliver extra flavor while helping to increase the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals.
4. Healthy Snacks
When hunger strikes in the middle of the afternoon, you want to be able to reach for a healthy snack in your pantry. Keeping a bevy of nutritious options on hand will ensure that you have options to stave off hunger between meals. Some of the best choices include protein bars, turkey jerky, and dried edamame. All of these options are high in nutrients while offering the fiber that you need to stay full and satisfied until your next meal. You can find delicious edamame in this form online, making it easy to keep your pantry stocked.
5. Spices and Herbs
Do not discount how much you can change the flavor profile of your meals through the use of spices and herbs. Not only will the use of these additions boost the flavor of your meals, but they can also offer health benefits in the form of reduced inflammation. Popular choices include turmeric, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, and cumin.
6. Healthy Condiments
Along with spices and herbs, it is a good idea to stock a rainbow of healthy condiments. This will help you to avoid using fat-laden options such as mayonnaise. Good ideas for your pantry include balsamic vinegar, tahini, salsa, flavored mustards, and sriracha. Have fun experimenting with these condiments to find the ones that best suit your tastes.
7. Nuts, Seeds, and Butters
Another great snack item comes in the form of nuts and seeds. Almonds, walnuts, and cashews are all delicious choices that are full of protein, fiber, and minerals. Nuts and seeds are also highly portable, making them a good option if you need a snack on the go. Be sure to also stock a few different types of nut butter. Natural peanut butter, almond butter, or sun butter made with sunflower seeds are part of a targeted diet that is focused on using better alternatives than more conventional nut butters.
8. Canned Fruits and Vegetables
Lastly, do not turn your nose up at canned fruits and vegetables. Canned veggies are ideal additions to soups and casseroles. Used canned fruit as a base for a healthy dessert. Canned tomatoes are full of vitamin A and lycopene and can be used in a number of dishes.
You will be doing your overall health a great favor if you take the time to stock your pantry with all of these healthy essentials.