These are my favourite pantry, fridge and freezer basics. Healthy, versatile and affordable, these kitchen all-stars are the base of many a Healthy Girl Cooking recipe. Tweak this list to develop your own set of go-to items to curb excess spending at the grocery store and keep things simple in the kitchen!
Whole Wheat Pasta
Your favourite soup
100% whole grain cereal with at least 9 grams of fiber, and no more than 8 grams of sugar
100% whole grain bread, pita or tortillas
Walnuts or almonds
Dried, unsweetened fruit like apricots or prunes
Hot sauce or crushed red pepper
Extra virgin olive oil for cooking and canola oil for baking (just say no to vegetable and corn oils!)
Your favourite portable snack. I love Lara bars!
Green tea (regular or decaf) and your favourite caffeine-free tea. Try ginger to aid digestion, peppermint to soothe tummy and spirits or chamomile for bedtime.
A quick, natural meal option like Annie’s whole wheat macaroni and cheese (add some fresh or frozen veggies to make it a complete meal!)
Berries and/or grapes
A cruciferous vegetable like broccoli or cauliflower
At least two or three versatile veggies for scrambles, stir fries, salads and pasta dishes (my faves are baby bella mushrooms, squash, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and eggplant. Bonus points for color versatility, which ensures you’re getting all your vitamins!)
Mixed greens or baby spinach
Your favourite vinaigrette
Unsweetened soy, almond or rice milk, or hormone-free cow’s milk
Fat-free greek yogurt
Natural, unsweetened peanut or almond butter
Tofu, tempeh or boneless, skinless chicken breasts*
Your favourite frozen fruit for smoothies
A couple of versatile frozen veggies to add to soups, stir fries and omelets (I’m always well-stocked with spinach, corn and peas)
Peeled and cooked shrimp or hormone-free chicken strips to add protein to any dish
A couple of healthy, natural meal options when you’re too tired to cook. Amy’s makes fantastic burritos and frozen dinners.
Apples, oranges, pears or bananas
Plenty of garlic to add flavour to anything without extra fat!
*We all hear about how important it is to buy cage-free poultry and hormone-free animal products, but what do those labels really mean? Usually not what we think they do, unfortunately. The most responsible way to eat animal products is to support local family farms, which are far more likely to practice humane treatment and sustainable agricultural techniques than factory farms. In fact, small family farms often produce organic products that can’t legally be labeled as such because the technicalities involved in receiving certification–like providing USDA inspectors with their own bathroom when they visit to conduct their reviews–are very expensive, benefitting huge corporations and leaving small farms in the dust. So please, visit farmers markets whenever possible, and give the good guys your business–doing so is socially and environmentally responsible, and better for your health too!