Are you ready to Get It Prepped?
Today we're talking about staples you can keep in your pantry to make meal prep easier. After all, having the right ingredients on hand can make all the difference when it comes to making good on your cooking goals.
Whole grain foods are some of our favorite pantry staples. These can often help form the base of healthful meals or bulk up a salad to give it more staying power. Canned beans and legumes are also vital to a well-stocked pantry and play a similar role to whole grains in a range of menu plans. Unsweetened dried fruit is helpful for snacks and desserts and even the occasional salad. And where would we be without sauces? Sometimes a simmer sauce is the glue we need to hold a meal together. Or tomato sauce on a homemade pizza or in chili. Oh and let's not forget about canned broths or stocks. These are definitely staples that can be used in a wide range of recipes. Plus, foods like potatoes, onions, and garlic add so much to meals and often need to be stored in the pantry. Finally, last but not least, canned fish is an inexpensive source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients that are important for good health. Thanks to the mercury content, however, canned fish like tuna should only be consumed in moderation.
Now that we've looked at the big picture, let's zoom in a little. Here is a list of 15 great pantry staples that you can use to Get It Prepped. Later this week we'll feature a few meals that rely on these same staples.
- Whole grain spaghetti
- Brown rice
- Dried lentils
- Canned chickpeas
- Canned black beans
- Tomato sauce
- Low-sodium vegetable broth
- Canned salmon without bones
- Simmer sauces
- Russet potatoes
- Sweet potatoes
- Yellow onions
Remember, this is just a teeny-tiny snapshot of one possible set of pantry options. The possibilities are endless! In general, look for foods that are low in sodium and added sugars. It's also great to seek out options that are rich in fiber and other nutrients.
Fridge and Freezer Digression: Yes, this post is all about pantry staples, but it can be handy to have some staples in your fridges and freezers too. For the freezer, frozen fruit with no added sugars and vegetables prepared with as little sodium as possible can be handy to throw into meals and snacks. You can also look for low-sodium frozen meals that are low in saturated fat. Keep a few healthful options on hand for when you just don't feel like cooking. And presliced/pre-chopped fruits and vegetables are great for the fridge, as are things like coleslaw mix and pasteurized smoothies (check added sugar content, of course).
Stephanie Ronco has been editing in a professional capacity for the past 10 years. In addition to her work as an editor, Ronco has also served as a ghostwriter and writing tutor. A voracious reader, Ronco loves watching language evolve and change. When she’s not delving into her latest project, Ronco can be found teaching acting classes, performing in community theater, or sailing with her husband.