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  • Beans


    Photo Credit: Deborah Davis

    If I were deserted on a desert island and had to pick from only a handful of foods, beans would be on my list. They are a great source of protein, fiber, and numerous vitamins including iron, magnesium, thiamine, and folic acid. Plus, they are budget-friendly. Beans can be used in a multitude of dishes such as enchiladas, curry, tacos, burritos, chili, soups, and more.

  • Oats


    Photo Credit: Deborah Davis

    Oats are another budget-friendly staple for the kitchen pantry. They are a good source of soluble fiber, which has been shown to help lower "bad" LDL cholesterol. The high fiber content is also satiating, so a bowl of oatmeal will keep you feeling full longer than a sugary cold cereal. Oats can easily be added to a variety of baked goods.

  • Canned Tomatoes

    Canned Tomatoes

    Photo Credit: Deborah Davis

    Tomatoes are a good source of potassium and vitamins A and C. Keep a jar of canned tomatoes in your pantry to add to soups or chili. You can also puree them to make the base for a tasty pasta or pizza sauce.

  • Nut Butter

    Nut Butter

    Photo Credit: Deborah Davis

    Nuts are a great source of protein and heart healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Keep a jar of nut butter in your pantry to spread on fruit or whole grain toast for a quick, healthy snack. Nut butters can also be added to smoothies or baked goods for added protein.

  • Broth


    Photo Credit: Deborah Davis

    Keep a carton of vegetable, chicken, or beef broth in your kitchen. Use broth to cook grains like rice or quinoa to add extra flavor. With broth on hand, you can always whip up a simple soup for lunch or dinner.

  • Oil


    Photo Credit: Deborah Davis

    Oil is essential for doing any cooking at home on a regular basis as most every recipe starts by adding oil to a pan and then sauteing your ingredients. Oils are also essential for making homemade salad dressings. Healthier cooking oil options include olive oil and canola oil.

  • Vinegar


    Photo Credit: Deborah Davis

    Keeping a variety of vinegar on hand in your kitchen makes it easy to whip up delicious marinades for meats or simple salad dressings. Some of my favorites include balsamic, apple cider, red wine, and rice vinegar.

  • Garlic


    Photo Credit: Deborah Davis

    Garlic is one of the most versatile and commonly used seasonings. Add fresh garlic to pasta sauce, stir fry, marinades, salad dressings, and more.

  • Quinoa


    Photo Credit: Deborah Davis

    Quinoa is a small seed that cooks quickly and is a great source of protein and fiber. Just make sure to rinse it well before cooking to prevent bitterness. Use quinoa in place of rice, add it to salads, or serve with fruit as an alternative to oatmeal for breakfast.

  • Whole Grain Pasta

    Whole Grain Pasta

    Photo Credit: Deborah Davis

    Keeping a box of whole grain pasta in the pantry means that you can likely whip up a simple dinner in about 30 minutes. Choose a pasta that has at least 3-4 grams of fiber per serving. Toss cooked pasta with steamed vegetables and pesto or tomato sauce for a simple, healthy meal.

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