Yesterday was dreary and rainy so I was inspired to clean and organize the pantry. My pantry used to be organized but of course every day life takes over and things just get shoved away, then over time the pantry is a mess again. I was able to toss a ton of expired items and then organize what was left.
I can now see all my food items and all my containers are in order until Abby decides she wants to play with them. When everything is organized it makes grocery shopping and cooking so much easier, I’m not rummaging through items looking for what I want or overbuying items because I can’t find what I want.
My Pantry Staples for Healthy Eating
Whole Wheat Pasta: I always have whole wheat pasta on hand because I can through together a quick and healthy meal using it. I like to make broccoli with garlic and pasta quite often, sometimes I add sun dried tomatoes or sub in spinach for the broccoli but it is always quick, easy and healthy.
Brown Rice: I love brown rice because you can use it to make a meal or a side dish. You can add beans, tomatoes, onions, garlic and spices for a great Spanish rice and bean meal or you can just cook it up in the rice cooker, add some veggies and use it as a side to any meal. When I cook brown rice I always make extra and store it in the fridge to use during the whole week, it makes it easier to grab it when you need it if it is precooked.
Whole Wheat Couscous: This staple is only takes about 15 minutes to make so it is great to have on hand for a quick side or meal. I usually make a tabouleh salad with chick peas, easy and delicious.
Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a must to have on hand to make healthy breakfasts and to add to baked goods. You can cook it up for a sweet or savory breakfast or you can just add it raw to yogurt, whatever your preference it is a great source of fiber and will help keep you feeling full longer.
Canned Beans: I always keep an assortment of canned beans on hand. Garbanzo beans, black beans, pinto beans, lentils, kidney beans, cannellini beans and any other kind I can find in the store. These are great for healthy meals, I try to buy the unsalted variety but that is not always possible so I always rinse and drain well to get rid of some of the added sodium. I make all sorts of healthy meals with the beans like black bean soup, rice and beans, chili, burritos, lentil salads and much, much more. They are easy to use, contain fiber, protein, a ton of nutrients and they keep you feeling satisfied. (you can also use dried beans but they take a lot more prep work to be ready to cook)
Canned Tomatoes: I use tons of canned tomatoes for all sorts of dishes so these are a must for me to have in the house. Although after reading a blog post on a better bag of groceries yesterday about the score lowdown of canned tomatoes I will definitely be checking the NuVal™ scores when I stock up on my tomatoes at King Kullen. I was especially shocked to find out that Tuttorosso crushed tomatoes, my staple for sauce, only scored an 18. I will definitely be trading up to higher scoring crushed tomatoes.
Whole Wheat Flour, Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, White Flour: I mostly use the whole wheat flour for my baking needs whenever possible, but I just learned that whole wheat pastry flour is usually a better option because it makes the baked goods light and fluffy rather than dense and heavy. Whole wheat pastry flour tends to be difficult to find so I also keep white flour on hand to mix with the whole wheat flour which also helps to make the baked goods less dense.
- Popcorn Kernels: I actually have an old fashioned popcorn maker that makes the best popcorn, so I always have kernels on hand. I also have a microwave popcorn maker where you add the kernels with or without oil and pop, much healthier than pre-bagged popcorn which had a ton of additives. You can air pop popcorn then spray with olive oil and add spices or parmesan cheese for a healthy, fiber filled snack. You can also place kernels in a brown bag, add a little oil and pop like you would the pre-bagged variety.
- Canned Tuna: I love canned tuna for making tuna salad, fish cakes or to just eat plain right out of the can. Tuna is high protein, low fat and delicious. The biggest downside to tuna is the mercury levels so I usually only make it once or twice a week, but I always have it on hand.
These are my staples for healthy eating, I can always whip up a healthy meal or snack utilizing these items. I also have on hand canned soup, canned veggies, sauces, nuts, nut butter, coffee, tea and an assortment of snacks.
What are your staple pantry items?
Last week I went to Target and purchased a bunch of containers and jars to store any opened flour, rice, pasta and oatmeal. This not only keeps them fresh but it also keeps them well organized.
Breakfast today was inspired by an item I found in the back of the pantry:
I decided to make waffles with a maple syrup and strawberry topping.
I used my George Forman G5 which has different removable plates including two that make it a waffle iron.
I put the batter into a measuring cup to make it easier to pour into the waffle maker. This batter was so thick I basically just had to pour 2 big globs of batter onto the waffle maker, then press and pray.
When I opened up the waffle maker the first batch was stuck to the top but it easily came off thanks to the cooking spray I coated the waffle maker with.
For the topping I sliced up 5 strawberries, added a tsp. of real maple syrup, then microwaved for 45 seconds. This creates an awesome and delicious strawberry syrup.
A great non-egg breakfast, although there were eggs in the batter. These waffles were light but tasted very whole grain, I liked them but Chris was not a big fan. Next time I would add some plain Greek yogurt to the topping, then I think they would be perfect!
Today I am going to do my Yogalosophy DVD, I need to stretch and mentally prep for my 13 mile run tomorrow. I am also going to organize the spice cabinet and the linen closet…fun, fun, fun!!!! Spring cleaning at it’s best!!
Does Spring make you want to organize and clean?