Stock the Kitchen Series: Pantry

Keeping your kitchen well stocked with smart choices helps make meal time easier and less stressful. Last week I shared with you how to stock a clean eats fridge and this week is the pantry. Well not exactly the entire pantry, because at our house it’s a deep drawer. But in this one drawer I have managed to load up on grains and snacks to keep us covered from breakfast to snack time to dinner accompaniments.

Disclaimer: this is by no means perfect, it’s just a snapshot at another Mom’s attempt at healthy eating.  And please note you do not have to shop at a specialty foods store.  They are great but I’m more of a one-stop shopper so pretty much everything you see here comes from Costco.

Starting from the top right hand corner:

Whole grain oats
My breakfast of choice, 1/2 cup cooked with water and topped with 1/2 packet Stevia and cinnamon. Also great for making oat muffins and cookies the kids love. If you need a recipe, please ask me, I would love to share!

Whole Almonds
High in monounsaturated fats, almonds can help lower LDL cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease. Great for a snack by themselves or paired with some fruit, also great to chop up as a crunchy topping on yogurt or fish.

This nutrient dense bag of vegan chocolate powder is AMAZING. Combine with water and a spoonful of peanut butter and you get this rich Reese’s peanut butter cup tasting smoothie that I enjoy either first thing in the morning or at night when my sweet tooth kicks in wanting ice cream or cookies. Shakeology helps fight cravings and packs a serious nutritious punch. I’m not kidding. Most of you all know I am a chocoholic and I can’t go a day without chocolate. Shakeology has helped satisfy my chocolate craving while filling my body with powerful protein and amino acids, antioxidants, phytonutrients, prebiotics, and digestive enzymes. I love it and I’d love for you to try it too. Please let me know if you would like more info.

Mixed nuts
Smart to have on hand for snacks and also for an easy appetizer when guests stop by.

Whole grain kamut cereal
If you’ve paid attention to any health directives lately, it’s all about whole grains, fill your body with whole grains not the processed stuff. This relates to bread, cereals, crackers, etc. But if you read the nutrition labels on most cereals, it’s pretty difficult to find one that has whole grains. So if you’re not a fan of oatmeal, this is a great alternative.  This is a whole grain puffed cereal, add some milk and bananas and you get the crunchy cereal that kids love.  Plus you can also use these as a crunchy filler to homemade granola bars and yogurt parfait.

My son loves pistachios! He likes trying to open them. Full of healthy protein, fat, and minerals and an excellent source of Vitamin E. Also great chopped up and added as a topping on fish/chicken/or sweet potatoes.

Back to the left hand side and middle of the picture

Cliff Bars
Let’s be real – I love making my own granola bars but it doesn’t always happen and when I do, they are gone FAST. So I keep on hand some variety of granola/protein bar.  My variety of choice lately is Cliff. I like that there is a good amount of protein and fiber. They have a lot of sugar but it’s comes from brown rice syrup.

Quinoa Cookies
I’m kind of addicted to these “GoGo” Quinoa chocolate chip cookies.  They are gluten free, and come individually wrapped so you actually think about how many you are eating vs. eating a whole sleeve of Oreos (but I would never do that! ;))

Dried Apricots
Full of fiber, potassium, and antioxidant carotenoids, these are a great snack and my kids think they are like candy.

Whole Grain Pasta
The “GoGo” Quinoa variety of whole grain pasta is very good. I’m not going to say it tastes like “normal” pasta but when cooked and topped with tomato sauce, it’s delicious and packs a much better amount of fiber.

Good to have on hand for soups and stews, lentils are full of protein and contain dietary fiber, foolate, and vitamin B.

Brown Rice
Brown rice is better for you than white rice. Brown rice is the “unrefined” version of white rice. Before white rice went through the refining process, it at one time looked exactly like brown rice. Brown rice, unlike white rice, still has the side hull and bran. The side hulls and brans provide “natural wholeness” to the grain and are rich in proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium.

Couscous really is the easiest grain to cook. You just add boiling water and wait 5 minutes! Then you can add in any flavorful additions from sautéed veggies to chopped nuts and dried fruits.

Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are among the healthiest foods on the planet. They are loaded with nutrients that can have important benefits for your body and brain. Easy to incorporate into your daily nutrition, they can be eaten raw, soaked in juice, added to puddings, or added to baked goods. You can also sprinkle them on top of cereal, yogurt, vegetables or rice dishes.

Flax seeds and ground flax
Flax Seeds are rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are a key force against inflammation in our bodies. I use ground flax in oat/banana/chocolate chip muffins. And I use the flax seeds in my home-made granola bars, and flax crackers.

Sugar & Flour
YES you’ll still find white sugar and white flour in my pantry.  I try to follow the 80/20 rule when it comes to nutrition. So there is still room for baking in our house. Lolli is coming soon, she’s got to have supplies to make apple pie!

So that sums up my “pantry” drawer. If you need help knowing how to incorporate some of these healthier alternatives into your kitchen, please message or call me.

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