We all know that feeling. You open the fridge or pantry to see absolutely nothing to eat besides some chips or crackers, maybe a box pasta and frozen meals. Nothing about that sounds appetizing or nutritious. Nevertheless, we always seem to resort to eating a potluck of garbage from the pantry or worse, ordering Chinese takeout or pizza delivery. It’s time to say no to takeout and munchies for dinner, and say yes to homemade dinners!
Life gets busy. Between work, extra curricular activities, chores, bills (the list goes on and on,) when is there time to grocery shop and prepare healthy meals that keep you moving as fast as your life is. The key is stocking your kitchen with these seven versatile foods that can be transformed into a flavorful and nutritious meal your family will love. These seven ingredients are easy to cook with and jam-packed with protein, vitamins, and low in carbs. Here are my recommended kitchen staples and 12 meal ideas you can make with them:
EGGS: Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods you can purchase at the grocery store, containing nearly every vitamin and nutrient our body needs. This high protein ingredient can be enjoyed at every meal and makes a great snack when hard boiled.
CHICKEN: Unless you’re a vegetarian, everyone loves chicken. And it’s good for you too! Chicken breasts are low in fat yet high in protein, and helps regulate cholesterol, blood pressure and weight loss. Chicken can be cooked multiple ways including baked, boiled, pan-seared and grilled to name a few.
SPINACH: This nutrient rich vegetable is not only a great base for salads. Raw and cooked spinach is a great enhancement to every meal, supplying our body with tons of vitamins, nutrients and fiber. Spinach also contains high amounts of antioxidants which may aid in cancer prevention.
OATS: Oats are a great whole grain to keep stocked in the pantry because they are gluten free! Oats can improve blood sugar and lower LDL (the bad!) cholesterol. Oats are very filling, making it a great breakfast or meal for those looking to lose weight.
SWEET POTATOES: Of all the starches in the world, I would choose sweet potatoes day after day. This colorful root vegetable is a great source of Vitamin A and C, and have anti inflammatory properties. I love roasting them with a little salt and pepper!
TOMATOES: Tomatoes are actually one food I don’t like. But Nick loves them so I buy them and I integrate them into our weekly meals. Tomatoes are a great source of Vitamin C and promote strong bones, healthy skin and improve vision!
BLACK BEANS: These legumes are known for their high fiber and high protein content. Because of the high amounts of fiber, these small but mighty beans can lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood, protecting our hearts. I add black beans to salads, eggs, and tacos for an extra boost of fiber!
Option 1: Hard boiled eggs
Option 2: Chicken, spinach, tomato and black bean omelette
Option 3: Eggs over sweet potato hash
Option 4: Sweet potato pie overnight oats
Option 1: Basic spinach and tomato salad with hard boiled eggs and grilled chicken
Option 2: Oven baked chicken with sweet potato fries
Option 3: Easy Black Bean Soup
Option 4: Fresh Bruschetta Chicken Stuffed Tomatoes
Option 1: Oat crusted chicken breasts with mashed sweet potatoes
Option 2: Chicken stuffed with spinach and tomatoes
Option 3: Chicken bruschetta with sweet potato fries
Option 4: Stuffed Mexican sweet potatoes with tomatoes, spinach and black beans
Please note that there are a wide-array of staple items you can stock your cabinets and fridge with. These are the select few that I continually buy week after week and use in our “last minute meals.” Other staples you could have in your home that are easy, in-expensive and easily transformable are rice and pasta. But before you go heavy on the carbs and gluten, try these low-carb and healthier options instead!
What are your kitchen staples? Share with me in the comments!