I suppose we should start saying Plan to Eat a Healthy Diet. See, it really isn’t that hard to eat healthy! We have to make it a priority, a habit.
Okay, since it all should start with planning here’s an example of what I try to always have stocked in my pantry. I may not be the most organized cook but I do have a rhyme to my reason in the ingredients listed below.
Produce- carrots, spinach (and/or other greens such as kale), lettuce, broccoli, onions, garlic, potatoes (Yukon gold and sweet), lettuce, apples, grapes, bananas, oranges and seasonal fruits (berries, peaches, melons and others)
I will also have many frozen veggie and fruit items too. The sky is the limit!
Dairy- skim milk, non-fat plain yogurt, reduced sour cream, unsalted butter (YES the real kind!), hard cheeses and soft cheeses, cheese sticks (great for snacks and lunches) I also keep plain and vanilla soy milk on hand for cooking and drinking.
Pantry staples- canned black, pinto, kidney, garbanzo and great northern beans. Brown rice, a few pre-packaged rice pilafs, pasta (multiple types), couscous, bulgur wheat, barley, quinoa, stone-ground cornmeal, whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour and unbleached all purpose flour. I also always have a few containers of veggie stock and chicken stock along with cans of tomato paste and sauce. Light-coconut milk is good to have too for any curry dishes.
Of course I will sometimes have more than this or less than this on hand. It all depends on the season, our taste buds or schedule. And I didn’t mention any of my other protein sources such as boneless skinless chicken breast, canned salmon, fresh fish, ground turkey, or even tofu. These are also “staples” in my freezer and pantry. Nor did I mention the condiments or oils I keep on hand. If interested, I can do this on a later post.
Once I have my list of ingredients I start to think about the menu. I have been known to ask my husband- “what’s something you haven’t had in a long time?”- I might stand waiting on pens and needles afraid he’s going to say meatloaf (you need to know- I hate handling and don’t really care for eating ground meat) but this gives me a starter and if my family gets to have input then they are more likely to eat the meal. If I’m stuck I sometimes will go to the internet for help. There are SO many food blogs and recipe sites that you can access. Here is a new site I found and hopefully I’ll be able to add my site soon.
Make it easy for yourself. If cooking is not something you love then stick to easy healthy recipes. You can find these too- just look! Bottom line is to try to make a plan. See if this can be a goal for the fall. See if it makes a difference in you and your family’s health. You can do it…I promise!
Here is a dish we recently had that had me digging in my pantry on a busy night.
I served this great rice dish with a baked breaded seasoned cod on top. I need some more veggies so I added the salad and lightly sautéed zucchini at the end.
Spicy Spanish rice
1tbsp olive oil
1-1/2 cup short grain brown rice
½ onion diced
1 clove garlic minced
2 cups of veggie broth (or chicken)
2 tomatoes diced
1 ½ tsp cumin
1tsp chili powder
Sprinkle enough hot sauce to taste
½ can of diced green chilies or fresh Pablono pepper (I used the fresh)
½ cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Heat oil in skillet- add onion and let cook till tender. Then add the rice. Let the rice cook for about 1 minute and add the garlic and broth. Bring to boil for 5-10 minutes. Once the rice has boiled turn down the heat to medium and add other ingredients minus the cheese. Let this cook for another 10-15 minutes or until rice is tender. Before serving stir the cheese in and let melt.