Eating healthy is a lot easier if I have healthy food on hand. If I keep processed, sugar-loaded food on hand, that’s what I’ll eat when I get hungry. If I have healthy food within reach, that’s what I’ll grab.
If I listed all my kitchen staples, we’d be here all day. So to keep things simple here are my top 10, healthy kitchen staples.
- Lean Meats – I always keep chicken breasts, chicken thighs, turkey bacon, and lean ground beef in my freezer. I wait until it goes on sale and stock up, or buy a large supple at a warehouse store like Sam’s Club or Costco.
A thorough spice collection – I have more spices than I do pairs of shoes, but my favorites are cumin, cinnamon, paprika, mustard, curry powder, lemon pepper, turmeric, oregano, rosemary and thyme. Spices are a great way to add flavor to dishes without added unnecessary sugar and bad fats. I keep my spice rack on the counter for easy access and to add color to my kitchen.
- Vinegar – Vinegar is a great way to give food an extra tang or sweetness. My favorites are apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, but especially balsamic vinegar.
Coconut Oil – This is one of my most versatile ingredients. I use it in baked goods, to cook chicken in a pan, or to roast cubed sweet potatoes. Coconut oil is full of healthy fats and doesn’t burn easily. If you’re not a fan of coconut oil, consider avocado oil. This replaces olive oil completely for me when it comes to cooking in oil (I still use olive oil for vinaigrettes). I use it to saute onions on the stove, roast vegetables in the oven, or cook eggs sunny-side up.
- An assortment of flours – I don’t like to have just one kind of flour around. In fact, the flour I use the least in my house is basic, all-purpose flour. It makes an entrance a few times a year for birthday cakes and Christmas cookies. Rather, I make bread using whole wheat flour (I store wheat and grind it into flour), and baked goods using almond flour and coconut flour. Almond and coconut flours have great fats, and are higher in protein than regular flour.
- Nut Butters – We keep a variety of nut butters around to keep things interesting. We love all-natural peanut butter for sandwiches and celery, almond butter for apples, macadamia nut or cashew butter for baking and sunflower butter (a great alternative for those with nut allergies) for sandwiches and dip for crackers.
- Plain Greek Yogurt – This goes in smoothies, salad dressings, fruit dip and mixed with nuts and berries for a great snack. Chobani is my favorite brand. I’ve read A LOT of Greek yogurt labels. Chobani has the lowest sugar content by far.
- Healthy grains – We always stock up on rice, oats and quinoa for a great carb to go with dinner or to make oatmeal in the morning. These little quinoa packs are my favorite recent discovery. My friend told me about them and I owe her big time. They are pre-cooked but aren’t full of junk. I love them topped with chicken and lemon pepper, or roasted veggies and a scrambled egg.
- Produce staples – We always have onions, garlic, celery, carrots and potatoes in our house. These work as a great base for dinner and keep for quite a while.
Think outside the milk jug – Yes we keep regular cows milk on hand, but we use other milks as well. Pure, canned coconut milk is a great replacement for milk or cream in almost any circumstances. Almond and cashew milk also act as great replacement and are also delicious to drink. I use cashew milk on granola and almond milk in smoothies. After reading the nutrition labels and doing several taste tests (I love my job), this is my favorite almond milk and cashew milk. Make sure you buy the unsweetened kind. This is another way to sneak in bad sugars if you aren’t careful.