Stock Your Kitchen For Healthy Habits

One of the first thoughts that crossed my mind when I went chose an all-natural diet around 10 months ago was “How am I going to not want to slip up?” It was easy then to see myself reaching for a diet soda from the corner whenever I started wanting one. But slowly and surely the fake stuff started leaving the pantry and not being replaced. My environment was actually helping by making the fake food out of sight and out of mind. And eating healthy is a lot like that, too.

1. Put in your peripheral what you want to eat

I recognize this is a lot harder for people living with others and full families; but if you keep around you only the good, healthy foods, there’s little option to eat otherwise. At the very least what you can do is keep fresh fruit and veggies always at arms reach and desserts, snacks, and ice cream out of sight(, out of mind) and out of reach. And if you’re living in a house with mixed eaters, here’s a tip: Give each person their own personal shelf in the pantry with foods only they can eat.

2. Don’t buy food; buy ingredients

Source

Say what? Here me out because this one I think makes the most sense. Rather than buy a prepackaged, pre-flavored container of Mexican rice, buy regular rice and keep spices on hand. Don’t grab a tuna salad from the Deli; just always keep a can of tuna in your pantry. By buying ingredients and making food for yourself, you control a lot including portions and calories. It’s even better that you can adjust it just to your tastes! It may take a little extra time, but if you can’t find 5 minutes to get serious about your own health, there are bigger problems.

3. Invest in staples and paper clips

When you go to the store, do you have a routine list of foods(or rather, ingredients) that you always get? Why not? The healthy foods we eat and want to eat we should always keep around. The “pantry staples” can be lifesavers in those grab-and-go moments. Here are some of mine:

365 Beans And Fish

365 Beans And Fish

Pantry:

Refrigerator/Freezer:

  • Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Fruits & Veggies
  • Quality Cheese
  • Healthy Sauces & Condiments
  • Earth Balance
  • Grass-Fed Butter
  • Naturally-Raised, Hormone-Free Meats
  • Fudge

4. Make your dessert and eat it, too

Vegan Chocolate Fudge

Vegan Chocolate Fudge

No kitchen is complete without things like sugar, flour, and cocoa; and no house is a home without dessert and that fresh apple pie cooling on the windowsill. So have your dessert, but make it be one you’ve made. This has two advantages: First, you can always make the substitutions to make it fit your diet. Both my banana goodness bread and moist moist pumpkin bread have very little to no added fat to them. If you’re not making the healthy substitutions, like with my microwave vegan fudge, at least you have a better awareness of just what’s in it rather than if you bought it at the store. And this awareness will lead to a healthier appreciation of however much you do eat.

What are you kitchen staples? Let’s get a list going and I’ll make a big one on my next post!

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No Responses to “Stock Your Kitchen For Healthy Habits”

  1. Madeline - Greens and Jeans 05. May, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    The fudge inclusion definitely made me smile! My staples list looks a lot like yours- plus almond milk and pita bread

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  2. Daniel 05. May, 2010 at 10:19 am #

    I make sure to have plenty of grains on hand, mostly oats for oatmeal and granola, and a plethora of dried beans. I’ll make up a cup or two on weekends, and freeze / eat them whenever I need them!

    I wish I could buy more canned fish but the cans are usually pretty big with 2-4 servings in a can and I don’t eat fish that often… can you freeze it / preserve what you don’t use for longer than a week? :o So normally I stick to some packs of sardines in water.

    I also always make sure I have hummus ingredients laying around: dried (or canned if I’m in a bind) chick peas, tahini, dried or fresh basil / parsley, lemons for juicing (freeze the juice in cubes!), a bit of tamari or miso for the saltiness, and a tiny bit of olive oil.

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  3. Lauren @ Health on the Run 05. May, 2010 at 11:00 am #

    That fudge looks amazing!! These are great tips, and honestly, making things from scratch doesn’t take all that much longer — it just takes more PLANNING. I feel like I always buy the same foods week after week (besides maybe an impulse buy or two). That way, I always have staples on hand to make meals throughout the week. My list is actually pretty similar to yours (sans the meat)…I’d just add pasta, coffee, tempeh, and almond milk

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  4. Emily H 05. May, 2010 at 11:05 am #

    “buy ingredients, not food”

    that’s one of the best tips i’ve heard in a while. i was just like, “oh yeahhh”. I do tend to follow this rule, but it just struck me as to what i am actually doing. so, thanks!

    i like when i have little sayings like that in my head when i go grocery shopping, or eating in general. michael pollan is another great contributer to those sayings :)

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  5. runnerforever 05. May, 2010 at 11:48 am #

    Great post. I would add to the list trail mix/nuts, whole wheat bread, and healthy cereal.

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  6. Jenny 05. May, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

    Agreed! If you’re going to have dessert, make it yourself:) I’m loving your fudge lately!

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  7. Matt 05. May, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

    Great list. Remember to add cereal to the list ;)

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  8. Jessica 05. May, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

    That list is great! My staples are greek yogurt and fruit. Usually some sort of cereal, too!

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  9. rebekah (clarity in creation.) 05. May, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    this is a really great post! you are wise beyond your years, hun :)
    -r

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  10. Kelly 05. May, 2010 at 4:41 pm #

    Don’t buy food, buy ingredients….AMEN! Love it!

    Pantry staples for us: bananas, apples, pears, Greek yogurt, Steel cut oats, almond milk, almonds, raisins, almond butter, peanut butter, kombucha, and the list could go on and on and on…haha!

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  11. Sana 05. May, 2010 at 4:59 pm #

    I never thought abt that! I always buy FOOD but I should be buying ingredients. Because if I want to eat it I have to make it!

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  12. BroccoliHut 05. May, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    I must always have canned beans, whole wheat couscous, nut butters, dried fruit, and wheat germ.

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  13. Jenna 05. May, 2010 at 5:58 pm #

    The first one is SO true! I purposefully put things that I love to snack on up really high so I can’t reach them!!

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  14. Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter 05. May, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

    When I go back to my parent’s house for the summer I’m definitely keeping my food in it’s own place. My weekly buys always includes apples, bananas, oranges, salad, tomato, red bell pepper, and an avocado. I’m not too big in the pantry food anymore.

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  15. Ian 05. May, 2010 at 6:32 pm #

    I always have beans, wheat berries, spelt, brown rice, and bulgur on hand as well as the spice staples of the Mediterranean, India, and Mexico. Almond milk is a staple as are nut butters in the pantry, dried fruits, and not-dried fruits! Nuts are generally available in the pantry, and I like to keep a constant supply of carrots.

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