Building Your Pantry

Hey Guys, Welcome to my first blog!! I hope you are all eating well on your journey to achieving your goals. My next blog i will take you on your trip to the grocery store, NOW I’m going to show you what you need to have in your pantry. WHY?

Here’s why… It all comes down to TIME. I base a lot of my cooking on time. I don’t like to slave over the stove unless I’m cooking a dinner party for friends. But when it comes to cooking for myself, I’m all about healthy in a hurry. How can I get good, healthy, nutritious food in my body, FAST. It all starts with building a functional pantry. I want you to have the basics readily available to you when it comes to cooking your meal.

Condiments

Extra virgin olive oil is necessary in your pantry. It’s great when cooking food that requires high heat and great for drizzling over your salads. Mix it up by trying some flavored oils such a nuts oils and chili oils. Plenty of stores now carry these varieties. OK, I’m going to say the big “B” word: BUTTER. Sometimes recipes call for it, but please use it sparingly and only when it is absolutely needed. Alternatively “I cant believe its not butter” has come out with a butter spray that I can quite honestly say is really good and good for cooking also. Go for low fat mayo, reduced sodium soy sauce. Grab a variety of vinegars such as balsamic, red and white vinegars. Grab some curry paste and a variety of low calorie sauces such as ketchup, chipotle and BBQ.

Herbs, Spices and Sweeteners

I swear by these when it comes to cooking. My mother didn’t until I showed her that when cooking with herbs and spices she could get wonderful flavor from her food. I had to teach this to my mother because she went on an exercise plan and was doing the right physical part. But when it came to cooking, she would cook with too much oils and butter and therefore never keeping the weight off. When you head to the grocery store, take a walk down the aisle with all the herbs and spices and pick up a few each time you go such as chili powder, paprika, cumin, curry powder, and turmeric. Also a variety of dried herbs like bay leaves, thyme, oregano, tarragon and Italian seasoning.

Choose a low calorie sweetener such as Sweet n Low, Splenda, equal or Stevia. I tend to go for Splenda as it tastes the best and has the best taste. Keep a handful of lemons and limes at all times. These are great to squeeze over salads and fish and you can also use it as a natural body cleanse in a glass of water.

Get the Grain

Stick to whole-wheat products when shopping on this aisle. Nowadays more and more food companies are adding whole-wheat foods to their product lines. However, read the labels carefully. Avoid  breads that contain high fructose corn syrup. Do stock the following: Brown rice (regular or instant is fine), Cous cous ( great as a side with your protein and vegetables), steel cut oatmeal (great way to reduce cholesterol), and whole grain tortillas (perfect for a breakfast omelet or lower carb option for traditional toast).

Everyone is a bit of a fruit and nut

Keep a variety of nuts in your pantry at all times such as walnuts, pecans, almonds, dry roasted unsalted peanuts (keep that sodium low). Pine nuts are great for sprinkling on your salads. Tip: lightly toast them to release more flavor. Grab natural peanut butter for a quick energy boost before you hit the gym.

Keep an assortment of dried fruits; these are also great to sprinkle on your salads or for a snack during the day. Please “MEASURE” before you dive in, as dried fruit is more sugar concentrated that regular fruit. Examples to look for are cherries, cranberries, apricots and banana chips.

Take a chill

When it comes to the fridge and freezer, keep it stocked with non fat milk, a good parmesan cheese, some sharp cheddar and of course eggs. A bottle of dry white wine such as chardonnay (alcoholic or non-alcoholic is fine) is great when cooking a white fish or chicken, gives dishes a more intense flavor. In the freezer, I keep it simple by stocking up with fruit for those morning smoothies; berries are particularly good as they have great freezing properties and dont lose their nutritional value. When it comes to keeping meat in there, I keep turkey sausage, chicken apple sausage and Chicken breasts.

So there you have it. Having your pantry stocked will make cooking seem like a breeze!


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