While there has been much media coverage lately about preparing your pantry for an emergency, very little thought is given to stocking up a healthy food pantry. Sometimes food that is bought for the sole purpose of storing in a pantry for future use is not always the healthiest choice we can make.
However, there are several foods that are wonderful choices for both healthy and “in case of a pinch” pantry situations. Stocking your pantry with these items will make healthy cooking easy.
Possibly the number one food that should be in anyone’s pantry is the bean. Kidney beans, cannellini beans, lentils, and navy beans are only a few among the vast variety of beans. Beans contain large quantities of protein while offering just as much variety to any meal. Beans can be used as main ingredients in dishes such as casseroles or as a topping to a salad. Used in Mexican dishes such as a Tex-Mex bean dip or as part of a fajita, beans add flavor, variety, and protein. Beans can certainly take the place of fatty red meats in some recipes while never losing an ounce of flavor.
Whole Wheat Pasta or in my case Brown Rice Pasta
We all know the benefits of adding whole grain into our diet. Yet another added benefit of whole wheat pasta is that it is so versatile and can help us put together a quick meal in a pinch. Whole wheat pasta offers bran, fiber, antioxidants, and all-important B vitamins.
When your pantry is stocked with whole wheat pasta, the possibilities are endless. You could toss some broccoli and shrimp together with whole grain spaghetti, add a salad, and have a delectable meal in minutes. Perhaps some sun dried tomatoes and chicken tossed with some whole wheat pasta is just the thing for your family.
Quinoa is high in fiber and low in sugar is the best staple any pantry could boast. It is a complete protein, which means that you could live forever on nothing but quinoa. It’s fiber keeps your stomach full, it’s very low in calories so you can eat way more of it than any other food and it can jump-start your day getting you healthfully on your way. The best part about quinoa is that it can be used anywhere that rice is used.
Olive oil has been used for centuries to provide high quality, excellent taste, and health benefits. With olive oil as a staple in your pantry, you will find its uses endless. Olive oil is useful for frying skinless, boneless chicken, for tossing on salad and even as a concoction for dipping your whole grain bread. The health benefits that olive oil provides far outweigh its cost.
Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
Organic Virgin Coconut Oil is a very versatile oil. You can use it for cooking, as a moisturizer, and as a mouthwash. It has many therapeutic benefits such as the lauric acid found in coconut oil killing bacteria and viruses, helping to prevent infections, and even working as an anti-fungal.
Canned goods are an immediate staple of any pantry. However, be careful of what is in those canned goods. Look for low-salt canned goods such as diced tomatoes. Canned salmon is an excellent source of protein and provides necessary Omega 3s, while broths that come in the low sodium variety are easily added to any recipe. Just be sure that the canned broth you choose is gluten-free if you are sensitive to gluten. Some of them have wheat flour in them.
These are just a few of the staples that I have in my pantry and that can get every pantry up and running to a healthy start.