One of my readers emailed me and said she struggles with having foods on hand that she can use for different meals. She tends to plan out that night’s dinner during the day, goes to the grocery store after work to get the ingredients, ends up eating dinner around 9:30pm, and then repeats this the next day. Sound familiar?
The key is to have a stocked natural foods kitchen, so you can come home and have everything on hand for a variety of healthy, delicious meals. This way you don’t need to go to the grocery store so often, and you can still enjoy creative dishes. By the way, when I say “natural foods,” I mean I buy unprocessed, whole foods without added chemicals or weird ingredients whenever possible.
Here’s a list of things I usually have on hand in my kitchen to create meals from. To create a meal on the fly, scan what you have on hand, then pick a grain, a protein, veggies and whatever spices/condiments you’re in the mood for. Use this list as a guide on your next shopping trip so you can have multiple healthy meals ready to go!
By the way, this is just a list of some of the basics I usually create meals with – ingredients/produce in my kitchen varies with season (& when I learn about new foods), and I probably forgot some things here, so make sure to find things you love and make them staples in your own kitchen. I left out animal proteins purposefully because everyone is different with their choices, so use whatever protein feels good to you! If you choose meat & eggs, organic, free-range is best!
- Short grain brown rice
- Soba noodles
- Steel-cut oats
Vegetables & Fruit
- Kale (or other leafy greens)
- Fresh or frozen spinach
- Other vegetables – whatever I’m feeling at the moment (broccoli, carrots, brussels sprouts, etc)
- Apples, bananas, or other in-season fruit of choice
- Bag of organic frozen fruit for smoothies
- Black beans
- Adzuki beans
- Red/yellow lentils
- Split peas
- Pinto beans
Oils/Condiments (this is where the magic happens)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Unrefined extra-virgin coconut oil
- Sea salt (I love Celtic gray sea salt)
- Black pepper
- Sesame seeds
- Red pepper flakes
- Curry powder
- Maple syrup
- Brown rice syrup
- Almond butter
- Dijon mustard
- Umeboshi vinegar
- Apple cider vinegar
- White miso
- Nuts/seeds (almonds, sunflower seeds, etc)
- Unsweetened coconut milk (So Delicious brand)
- Unsweetened organic almond milk
- Guayaki yerba mate
- Various herbal teas – mint, chamomile, etc
- Black/green tea or coffee if desired
- Coconut water
- Ezekiel bread, Ezekiel tortillas
- Coconut Bliss ice cream
- Raw chocolate
- Kale chips
- Organic whole grain tortilla chips
- Salsa, hummus
- Chia seeds, flax oil, cacao powder, maca (for smoothies)
So that’s a start! Remember to always buy organic when possible!
If you find yourself stumped and want to find TONS of recipes by ingredient, I recommend checking out 101 Cookbooks Recipes by Ingredient page. I use it frequently!
Please add to my list! What are some staples in YOUR kitchen?