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The 10 Must-Have Kitchen Items Essential For Keeping a Healthy Home

Posted by on Oct. 12, 2009 at 1:45 PM
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A healthy, well-stocked kitchen can be a recipe for success if you equip yourself with a master grocery list!  Certain items for the freezer, fridge and pantry are all necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Here is a list of my favorite kitchen staples that no kitchen should be without.

Freezer Ready

Frozen bags of fruits and vegetables are frozen at the peak of freshness to provide the optimal amount of nutrients your body needs.  Make sure you buy the items with no added salt, sugars or sauces.  Buy lean meats and fish in bulk and freeze in healthy portions to minimize cost and time during the week!

  1. Frozen Vegetables

Quick Tip: Buy in bulk at your local whole-sale market to save some money.

  1. Frozen Fruits

Quick Tip: Mix frozen fruits with ice cold non-fat milk for a mid-day treat!

  1. Protein

Healthy Protein Options: Lean chicken breast, lean steak, frozen large bags of shrimp,   salmon or any type of white fish (all to be bought at a wholesale supermarket)

Fridge Ready

Stock your fridge with fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season.  In season fruits and vegetables generally cost less and taste better!  Dairy items are also of utmost importance for your body because they contain Vitamin D and Calcium which help maintain bone health.  Eggs are healthy because they provide your body with protein needed to maintain strong muscles.

  1. Portable fruits

Options: Apples, blueberries, pears, oranges, grapes

  1. Low-fat or non-fat dairy items- yogurt and cheese

Yogurt Options: Look for plain yogurt with no artificial sweeteners or  plain Greek yogurt

Cheese Options: Part-skim mozzarella string cheese sticks or low fat cheese wedges, like             Baby-Bell Swiss Cheese.

  1. Eggs

Simple Ideas: Buy eggs to make omelets or scrambled eggs.  Boil an egg for a simple       snack option.  Scramble an egg with egg whites for extra protein and no            additional fat!

Pantry Ready

Items for your pantry are important because they can stay fresh for a long time.  Usually canned good can be found on sale so do not be afraid to buy many canned items at once!

  1. Beans

Simple Ideas: Beans can be added to soups and stews easily and are a vegetarian protein option.  Just be sure to rinse and drain the beans before adding to a recipe because sometimes there is a lot of added salt packed in the cans that you do not need.

Healthy Tip: pair any bean (cannellini, black, kidney, lentil) with brown rice for a healthy                side dish!

  1. Tuna

Simple Ideas: Buy tuna packed in water and add to pasta dishes or salads.  Remember it is important to eat protein at every main meal and tuna is ready to go at any time, in no time at all!

  1. Whole Wheat Pasta/Bread

Healthy Tip:  Always buy whole wheat pasta and bread for your family because they are excellent sources of fiber; fiber helps keep you full for a long period of time.

  1. Low-Sodium Stocks

Healthy Tip: Stock up on stocks! Just make sure they are low sodium and non-fat.

Simple Idea: Use the stocks to make a quick batch of vegetable or chicken soup!

Smart Supermarket Strategies for a Healthy Family

  • Shop mostly on the perimeter of the store:
    • Steer clear of the middle isles when shopping at the grocery store because the middle aisles contain all the processed foods.  The perimeter of the store contains all the fruits, vegetables, and dairy. 
    • Make a grocery list for the middle isles: stick with canned vegetables, beans, whole wheat pasta/bread and oatmeal.
    • Make a list and only shop for items on the list:
      • You will save money and time by avoiding those unnecessary impulse buys.
      • Shop on a full stomach:
        • If you shop on an empty stomach, you are more likely to grab anything that looks good.  Eat before you go so you are less likely to put unhealthy foods in your shopping cart.
        • Go grocery shopping without the kids:
          • Avoid buying the sugary snacks with the “cool” cartoons on the box; they are expensive and bad for your children’s overall health.
          • Shop in a wholesale supermarket:
            • Items bought in bulk are generally less costly for more food!

Stretch Recipes and your Budget:

Try to cook big batches of soups, stews, and pasta sauces during the weekends and freeze for quick and easy, weeknight meals.  You can also make extra portions of meals during the week and store for later use.  Buy high cost items like meats in a wholesale supermarket and freeze healthy portion sizes for during the week.

The key to a healthy lifestyle is to keep healthy foods in your house; whether it is for a snack or a meal.  Remember to always enjoy a variety of healthy foods in moderation while keeping a few go-to snacks and/or meals handy for those extra busy days!

by on Oct. 12, 2009 at 1:45 PM
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