(BlackDoctor.org) — We’re sure that everyone has a personal list of must-have things that their home simply wouldn’t be the same without.
This includes what foods you’ll find in the fridge or in the cabinets.
Here’s our list of some tasty things that every healthy kitchen needs to have:
Nutrients and antioxidants and fiber — oh my! A healthy kitchen wouldn’t be healthy without it. Even canned fruit (which can be just as nutritious as fresh or frozen) makes a delicious snack or dessert — either all by itself or over yogurt or ice cream. Dried fruit adds some pop to salads, and goes well with nuts for the perfect healthy snack.
Grownup and children agree – peanut butter is great! It’s an excellent source of filling protein and healthy fats. Spread it on apples, bananas, celery — even waffles! You can add it to Asian sauces and smoothies, or use it in dips. Mix it with hot water and a splash of soy sauce for a flavorful pasta sauce or salad dressing.
Olive and Canola Oils
Drizzle olive oil on pasta dishes, salads, crusty bread and diced tomatoes. Canola oil performs best in frying pans and woks. Both of these heart-healthy oils lower certain disease risks and are preferable to solid fats, like butter. Use either oil to sauté vegetables and meat.
Every kitchen should have a variety of beans. Whether dried or canned, beans are an inexpensive alternative to animal protein. They’re also an excellent source of fiber. Serve them as a side dish or add them to soups, omelets, tacos, casseroles, or salads. Thoroughly rinsing canned beans can cut sodium content by 40%.
Just about every family has a pasta night! Pasta goes with virtually all meats and vegetables. It comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors to help make meals more interesting. Get more fiber by choosing whole-grain or whole-grain blend pasta. Add dried pasta to soups and casseroles. Clean out the vegetable bin and make a nutritious pasta primavera or stir-fry. Or top pasta with meat sauce or plain olive oil.
Pasta sauce isn’t just for pasta! Vegetables and chicken breasts are transformed when topped with a healthy sauce and a little sprinkle of cheese. Be sure to read the nutrition labels to find out the amount of calories, fat, and sodium in your sauce. For some extra flavor, try tossing in some additional herbs and/or vegetables.
Truly a pantry must. Low in calories, high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, all colors of potatoes can offer some healthy and delicious meal options: bake up some sweet potatoes and add cinnamon. Baking up some homemade fries saves calories and fat without sacrificing flavor. Top a baked potato with healthy options such as vegetables, reduced-fat cheese, beans, salsa, or, of course, low-fat sour cream.
A kitchen without tuna? Never! No pantry is complete without a few cans or pouches of water-packed tuna. Tuna can help add healthy omega-3 fats and protein to a variety of dishes, including omelets, enchiladas, or vegetable dips. Eat no more than 12 ounces of lower mercury seafood a week. Because white (albacore) tuna is higher in mercury, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not eat more than 6 ounces a week.
If you don’t have enough time, buy low-sodium or unsalted chicken, beef, or vegetable stock to add depth of flavor to your dishes. Use it as the base for a quick soup or sauce. Rice and whole grains may taste richer when cooked in stock instead of water.
Brown rice is a healthy, high-fiber whole grain. Couscous, bulgur, and farro are available in whole-grain versions, too. These versatile grains complement any meat, fish, poultry, or vegetable as a centerpiece or side dish. Couscous, bulgur, and the seeds of the grain-like plant quinoa can be cooked quickly. For richer flavor, cook grains in stock. Combine them with colorful vegetables, nuts, and seeds.