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Having a well stocked freezer and pantry is the MOST important aspect of healthy eating. Wait, what?! It’s not knowing how to cook like a chef, having access to fresh veggies and fruits, or following a “diet” and strict meal plan?! Nope, it’s not!
Just keeping healthy staples on hand can make a huge difference when it comes to eating well. Preparation is key. Read on for my favorite foods to keep in stock, and give your pantry and freezer a “dietitian approved” makeover!
With nutritious foods on deck, you won’t need to reach for that take-out menu the next time you come home from work starving (with nothing in the house). Instead, you can quickly whip up a “freezer” or “pantry” meal. The best part? You’ll save some money, too!
Stock your pantry like a dietitian…
Grains and Legumes
*pro tip: look for “quick” grains and canned beans whenever possible
- Brown rice
- Wild rice
- Oats (old-fashioned and quick cook steel cut)
- Black beans
- White cannellini beans
- Brown rice cakes
Nuts/Seeds and Proteins
- Almond butter
- Peanut butter
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Canned tuna
- Canned salmon
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
- Sesame oil
- Chicken stock or broth
- Vegetable stock or broth
- Maple syrup
- Red wine vinegar
- Balsamic vinegar
- Rice vinegar
- Reduced sodium soy sauce
- Dijon mustard
- Diced tomatoes
Herbs, Spices, Seasonings
- Sea salt
- Ground black pepper
- Garlic powder
- Chili powder
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- “Everything but the bagel” seasoning (my favorite!)
Now that you’ve got the pantry figured out, let’s talk about the freezer, a.k.a. your best friend when it comes to meal prep. That little ice box is magic, my friends!
Stock your freezer like a dietitian…
Frozen Veggies and Fruits
- Green beans
- Cauliflower rice (Trader Joe’s has this- awesome!)
- Onions (dice ’em yourself and throw them in a freezer bag)
- Bananas (great way to preserve bananas that are about to go bad)
- Chicken breasts
- Ground meats
* you can find frozen, single servings of grains (so great!!)
- Frozen quinoa
- Frozen brown rice
Frozen Herbs and Garlic
- Look for squeeze tubes or frozen cubes of your favorite seasonings. If you live alone or have a small household, you will love these! No more buying fresh herbs and watching them go to waste.
And last but not least, here are a few of my favorite freezer and pantry meals! They’re quick, they’re easy, and they taste delicious.
- Burrito bowls: brown rice, black beans, frozen corn and peppers, salsa; add avocado and shredded cheese if you have it!
- Asian salmon: frozen salmon (defrosted), sesame oil, olive oil, soy sauce, dried ginger, frozen garlic; bake at 400 for ~20 minutes; add a whole grain and frozen broccoli for a complete meal
- Shrimp and cauliflower rice bowls: frozen cooked shrimp (defrosted), frozen cauliflower rice, frozen peas, broccoli and onions; cook in vegetable broth for added flavor
- Oats with frozen berries and nut butter: add the berries to warm oats (they will defrost that way); a quick and easy breakfast!
- Salads with beans, nuts, and quick dressing: grab a bag of fresh greens and use your pantry staples to whip up a complete meal in no time, top with 1 tbsp EVOO whisked with 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar for a quick and delicious dressing!
I’d love to hear about your go-to freezer and pantry staples, and meals! Let me know in the comments below.