Monday, August 8, 2011

What to Keep On-Hand: Your Kitchen Staples

Planning meals during the week, especially during the summer, can be challenging. Going away for the weekend leads to poor grocery shopping and frantic weeknight meals. The best way to prevent this is to be prepared...Here is a Your Secret Ingredient Kitchen Staples guide to keep a healthy, well-stocked home.

Why Have You Done A Good Thing?

Eating more foods from home leads to well-balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. The more fresh foods you have at home, the better! Keep these items on hand for convenient snacking and cooking.

Pantry Staples

1. Grains

· 1 loaf of whole wheat bread

· 2 grains and 1 box of pasta (½ your stocked grains should be whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, farro, wheat berries, whole wheat cous-cous, millet, barley)

· Oatmeal; choose rolled or steel cut oats or unsweetened instant oatmeal

· 2 boxes of cereal

2. Snacks

· 1 jar of all natural nut butter

· At least 3 snack choices for the family (refer to Your Secret Ingredient Snack List for ideas)

3. Cooking Supplies:

· Dried Herbs/Spices: (salt, black pepper, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, paprika, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, cumin, chili powder, oregano, herb de provence, dried bay leaves)

· 1 bottle of olive oil, 1 bottle of canola oil (optional: 1 bottle of specialty oil, such as avocado oil, for salads)

· 1 quart of low-sodium chicken broth

· 1 jar of approved tomato sauce; 1 quart of pureed/crushed tomatoes

· 2-3 cans of low-sodium beans; 1 package of lentils

· 1 container of trans-fat free whole wheat bread crumbs

· 2-3 cans of low-sodium soup

4. Optional Baking supplies (all kept in air-tight containers)

· Baking soda (a separate box from your fridge and freezer supply; change every month)

· Baking powder (change every month)

· All purpose flour and whole wheat flour

· Rolled oats

· Sugar; white and brown

· Honey/Molasses

· Vanilla

· Dried fruits

· Canned fruit purees – 1 can of applesauce, pumpkin or sweet potato puree

· Variety of nuts

· 1-2 16 oz bags of dark chocolate chips

Freezer Staples

1. Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

· 1 package of de-shelled edamame

· 2-3 packages of frozen non-starchy vegetables (of different varieties)

· 1 package of frozen fruit

2. Dinner Choices

· 1 dinner’s worth of left-overs (such as frozen soup, casserole, meatballs, chili)

· Homemade sauces such as tomato or pesto. Keep small portions of sauce in ice cube trays for individualized cooking

· Frozen protein: keep 1 package of chicken breasts, frozen fish filets from Trader Joes, and/or frozen shrimp

· Homemade or Packaged Veggie Burgers/Homemade Turkey or Chicken Burgers

3. Breakfast Options

· 1 box of approved frozen waffles or muffins (1 breakfast item) or homemade whole wheat/fruit muffins

· 1 loaf of whole-wheat bread and/or breakfast bread such as Thomas’s Whole Wheat Bagel Thins

4. Miscellaneous

· 1 container of freezer packaged baking soda

· 1 Your Secret Ingredient frozen dessert option

· 1 package of unsalted stick butter (for baking)

Refrigerator Staples

1. Dairy

· Eggs (hardboiled if your family likes them and raw)

· 1 container of low-fat milk

· A few containers of low-fat yogurt

· Whipped unsalted butter or trans-fat free margarine such as Smart Balance light

· Pre-portioned cheese such as low-fat string cheeses

· 1 container of low-fat cottage cheese

· Dip, such as hummus

2. Meals and Proteins

· 1 open jar of all natural nut butter

· Pre-portioned nuts

· 1 package of in-house made cold cuts such as from Whole Foods

· 1 store-bought or homemade rotisserie Chicken

· 1 night’s worth of dinner (cooked ahead of time for the week)

3. Produce

· 3 varieties of fruits, 4 varieties of vegetables (including easily snackable veggies like baby carrots)

· 2-3 fresh herbs, onion, garlic, and lemons for cooking

4. “After School Corner”

· 2 types of washed/cut up fruit

· 2 types of washed-cut up vegetables (baby carrots, snap peas, raw broccoli, pepper strips, green beans, baby cucumbers, roasted vegetables)

· Dips (bean, veggie)

· String cheese or other pre-portioned cheeses

· Yogurt

· Nuts (depending on age of children in the house)

5. Beverages

· 1 pitcher of homemade flavored water (mint and cucumber, basil and strawberry, berries, watermelon or other melons, pineapple or citrus, etc)

· Homemade unsweetened iced tea (with or without caffeine; caffeine free for children under the age of 15)

· Cold water or seltzer

6. Miscellaneous

· 1 container of fridge baking soda

· 1-3 jars of approved condiments

For a printable version of this list, click here...

--Amy and Sam, MS RD CDN

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