Healthy eating often comes down to having healthy habits. When the healthy choice is the easiest choice you can make, you’ll keep making it until it becomes automatic. That’s how healthy habits are made.
My friend Dave and I were talking on our most recent podcast about things that make healthy eating easier. One trick that helps me consistently eat healthy is keeping my pantry and freezer stocked. This makes it easy for me to throw a few things together, mix-and-match style, and eat well in every sense of the term.
What’s in a healthy pantry?
This varies for everyone, of course. Mine looks like this:
- Lots of canned goods: various beans, diced tomatoes, coconut milk, artichoke hearts, and fruit
- Natural peanut butter (tastes so much better that the super processed stuff), tahini, honey
- Rice (various types), pasta, rice noodles, and wraps
- Tuna – plain and flavored
- Spices, which is where you can really make meals shine. RecipeTin Eats has a great post on spice essentials, and if you aren’t up for mixing your own, spice mixes are also great.
- Soy sauce and other asian condiments, various vinegars, and good Dijon mustard (technically this lives in the fridge but same category)
- Olives and roasted red peppers
- Onions and garlic
- Salsa and Thai curry pastes
In my freezer, I usually have:
- Chicken, steak, and fish
- Frozen veggies
- Frozen fruit
- Extra meals from earlier meal preps
- Partially prepped ingredients like chopped onions, already portioned out
- Cooked and portioned rice
In the fridge:
- Eggs and tofu
- Veggies (seasonal/on special)
- Fresh ginger and turmeric
The base of most good meals is having a balance of food types on your plate. I feel good when I eat a lot of protein and fibre, some amount of fat, and a little bit of carbs. Knowing this helps me prioritize what I put on my plate. Some of my favorite mix-and-match meals, straight from the pantry:
- Black beans, diced tomatoes, Mexican spice mix (packet or DIY), and whatever fresh veggies I have on hand, for a quick and easy chili
- Chicken cooked with Thai curry paste, frozen veggies
- Diced tomatoes, diced onions and garlic, Italian seasoning, olives, roasted red peppers, fresh veggies on hand for an antipasto salad
- Rice, stir fry frozen veggie mix, frozen fish steamed with ginger, spring onion, and chili
- Black beans, scrambled eggs, spring onions if on hand, cheese, and salsa for a breakfast-for-dinner breakfast burrito
- Rice noodles, stir fry frozen veggie mix, chicken, soy sauce and sesame oil
How to stock your healthy pantry
What do you like to eat? It’s not worth stocking your pantry with healthy food if it’s healthy food you hate. Think about the flavor combos that you like, or meals that you would choose if you’re eating out. What do you need to replicate those at home? Find the at-home ingredients for these, and you’ll be all set