Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Building a Healthier Pantry


I'm only a week into my goal of eating more fruits and veggies and I'm already noticing a few differences in myself and in my kitchen:

  • My cravings for processed food have decreased.  Ever since we moved to Colorado, I've fallen into a trap of eating potato chips, crackers, cheese, candy.  It's been a week since I've craved a sweet treat after dinner, which used to be a DAILY event.
  • The number of TV dinners in my freezer have fallen to an all-time low.  I've found it's just as easy to cut up some tomatoes & cucumbers and throw together a filling salad.  If I'm craving a little more, I'll add some feta cheese and/or some protein, but I am continuing to focus on letting veggies and fruit take up the lion's share on my plate.
  • The produce goes quickly.  I just buy what I need for 1-2 days so I can have a little bit of everything.  I also have my produce out on my kitchen counter so that my eye goes straight to the produce for cooking inspiration.

I've been restocking my pantry regularly, with a focus on the produce, so I thought I'd share what I currently have in my kitchen.  I used to be a "cook strictly by recipe" person and I've found that I'm getting better at just throwing things together, based on flavor profiles, or classic pairings (tomatoes/basil, tomato/cucumber, bananas/strawberries, onion/cilantro/jalapeno, etc.)

Veggies
Asparagus
Avocado
Bell Peppers
Cucumbers
Jalapenos
Onions (red, yellow, Vidalia)
Tomatoes
Watercress

Herbs
Chives
Cilantro
Parsley

Protein
Eggs
Rotisserie chicken
Salmon

Fruits
Apples
Bananas
Cherries (frozen)
Mango
Raspberries
Strawberries

Nothing earth-shattering, I know.  But I'm still proud of the fact that I have so much produce in my kitchen and even more important, I'm actively cooking with all of it...

I have other things in my pantry (quinoa, couscous, pasta, rice, flour, various oils and vinegars, etc.) but I'm not going to list those because the BIG change I've been focusing on with my pantry is making sure I've got lots of fresh flavors.  I think I'm starting to wander into the world of whole foods with an unplanned (but delightful) outcome of less cooking.  I like cooking elaborate meals now and again, but I'd really like to spend less time over a hot stove and more time doing other wonderful things like reading, scrapbooking, and exercising.

What about your pantry?  Do you cook often?  If so, what do you like to keep stocked in your kitchen so that you can throw something healthy together?

2 comments:

  1. Either my husband or I cook dinner every night as we find we eat so much healthier eating at home rather than going to a restaurant or getting take-out.

    In the summer, we eat salads with a protein most nights as they are quick and easy and require very little time over a hot stove. I always have bags of pre-washed spinach on hand, making it easy to throw it in a bowl with other veggies and fruit (lately I've loved throwing berries into our salads!) and then I'll cook a few steaks or chicken breasts to slice up and add to the top. And then we always have leftover meat for lunches for the next day!

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    Replies
    1. I like the idea of simple salads with greens and some proteins. My husband and I used to eat that way and somehow, we've fallen out of that practice. I think I'll have the hubby grill up some protein this Sunday so that we can have it in the fridge ready to add to our sides of veggies and fruits!

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