"I think there is beauty in everything. What 'normal' people perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it."—Alexander McQueen

"I think there is beauty in everything. What 'normal' people perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it."—Alexander McQueen

preparing a healthy meal

Healthy Eaters: Essential Food Items to Stock in Your Pantry

Out of all the areas in your home, the kitchen is the only place that can help you control the amount and type of food you eat. If you’re starting a healthy lifestyle, it just makes sense to have a well-stocked and organized pantry and fridge of nourishing food items. Make it convenient for you to prepare and cook healthy meals every day, instead of relying on those easy to prepare processed munchies.

It’s true, most of us are typically caught up with hectic work schedules and time-consuming house chores that sometimes we can’t make a healthy plan. Don’t let those beautiful cooktop and granite countertops go to waste and use the area to prepare healthy, satisfying meals. So for your next trip to the supermarket, here are some healthy essentials that you can include in your grocery shopping list.

Dried vegetables and fruits

vegetables

As much as we prefer fresh veggies and fruits, they are not ideal for long pantry storage. Dried ones, on the other hand, have a longer shelf life and can be stored up to a year at room temperature. Also, if stored and used properly, dried veggies and fruits can still be a great addition to healthy meals, or enjoyed as an individual snack.

Some great choices include dried apples, berries, and tomatoes. In case you want to create your own dried veggies or fruits, just use an oven or dehydrator and vacuum-sealed packaging to avoid spoilage.

Grains

When it comes to creating quick, last-minute meals, grains are probably among your best options. On top of your favorite salads or soups, you can readily prepare a pot of quinoa or brown rice on the first day of the week. For a healthier option, you can eat it with fruits in case you’re opting for a protein-rich meal.

Aside from quinoa and brown rice, it’s best to buy some other grains such as oats, bulgur, and amaranth, which you can stock for several months at a good temperature. Grain-based dishes are not just convenient to prepare but also perfect sources of micronutrients and fiber. Such choices are said to help protect the body from conditions such as certain cancers and coronary illnesses. Looking for food items ideal for long-term storage and versatile meal preparations? Grains are an excellent choice.

Natural nuts and seed butter

Of course, let’s not forget healthy snacks to stock in your pantry or kitchen cabinets. Don’t go for store-bought goods, but instead opt for nuts and seeds. For instance, almonds are an excellent source of magnesium, copper, and vitamin E. This type of seed-filled with fiber and protein helps reduce the risks of heart disease and cancer. Another perfect example is walnuts, which are packed with antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.

Healthy choices such as these natural nuts and seed butter can also be used in various dishes — from your salads, yogurt, or oatmeal. Love making smoothies? You can put nut and seed butter on them as well! Depending on the type of nuts and seeds, they can be stored for one up to four months at room temperature.

Beans and lentils

Other healthy options to store on your kitchen shelves are canned and dried beans and lentils. They are perfect for long-term storage since they can last for several years. Dried beans can last up to 10 years due to their lack of moisture, while canned ones can be kept for up to five years.

These foods are packed with generous supplements such as iron, B nutrients, fiber and magnesium, zinc, and tons more. And the best part? They make such healthy additions to most dishes, and even soups and salads. Some options you can purchase are chickpeas, kidney beans, and dark beans.

High-quality spices

Healthy meals don’t have to be dull if you got some fresh, quality herbs and spices on your kitchen rack. These ingredients are perfect for transforming flavors of your bland meals. The combinations you can make with such seasonings and your veggies and healthy meats are endless.

There are the Italian spices like rosemary, oregano, and basil, Mexican seasonings such as cumin and child powder, Greek choices like thyme and lemon pepper, and French species such as marjoram and sage. And if you’re up for some strong flavors, you can also get some Indian spices like turmeric and curry powder. While most of these can be a bit pricey, it can certainly make your day-to-day meals much more exciting and satisfying to eat.

Make it easy for you to prepare and cook nutritious meals and snacks by filling your pantry cupboards with these healthy staples. These are just some healthy options for you and there are surely tons more out there so be sure to explore. Make that grocery list healthier!

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