Here’s a master list to use when you’re stocking up on healthy ingredients and essentials. Filling your kitchen with healthy foods makes cooking delicious dishes a pleasure, not a chore. Although it looks like a long list, it’s worth it to stock up on condiments and frozen goods, since they will last for a long time.
1. Staple Vegetables
For vegetables, stock up on carrots, celery, beets, and bell peppers, because they have a better shelf life than other vegetables. You can use them in stews, for making stock, with dips as a snack, and in a lot of other types of recipes.
2. Staple Fruits
For fruit, stock up on apples, grapes, berries, and pears. These last a long time in your fridge, and are good for snacking or in oatmeal and baked goods.
3. Greens Like Lettuce, Spinach, and Kale
Fresh greens are always good for making a quick salad or for steaming or sautéing. You can also throw them in stews, soups, and healthy scrambles.
4. Fresh Herbs
Fresh herbs add flavor and freshness to almost any recipe you’ll make. My favorites are cilantro, parsley, thyme, sage, dill, and rosemary. If the herbs are damp, then wrap them in a dry paper towel before storing; if dry, wrap them in a damp paper towel before storing.
5. Dates and Dried Fruit
It’s always a good idea to have dates and other dried fruits in your fridge. Keep your favorites on hand, whether they’re raisins, dried figs, dried apricots, currants, or cranberries. You will get a lot of use out of a small amount in place of sweeteners and in baking.
6. Nuts and Seeds
We use them sparingly at Forks Over Knives, but nuts are good to have in case you don’t have nut milk—you can quickly make some nut milk at home. You can also use nuts and seeds to garnish your salads or main dishes.
7. Plant-Based Milks
Stock up on any plant-based milk that you like, whether it’s almond, soy, rice, cashew, hemp, or rice milk. You can always use it in breakfast cereals, for making baked goods, and in any dish that requires a creamy texture. Just like with nuts and seeds, please use sparingly.
Good quality store-bought salsa makes cooking easier, as you can use it in main dishes and as a dip or a dip ingredient.
Always have some mustard you like in the fridge, whether it’s Dijon, yellow, spicy brown, or another variety. You can use it on sandwiches and in dressings and sauces.
Some good hummus is always useful to have in your kitchen, since you can use it as a dip or as a sandwich spread. Try this delicious low-fat hummus recipe.
11. Nutritional Yeast
12. Miso Paste
Miso is a flavoring agent that’s great for cooking, and along with nutritional yeast, adds a good cheesy flavor to dishes.
13. Tahini or Peanut/Nut Butters
Tahini, peanut butter, and other nut butters are good for making sandwiches, dressings, and baked goods.
14. Tamari or Soy Sauce
15. Hot Sauce
I love hot sauce because it adds spice and kick to dishes. When you buy it at the store, try to find an oil-free brand with just a few ingredients.
16. Cacao Powder
Keep some cacao powder in your kitchen to make any dessert that requires chocolate.
For the Freezer…
17. Cooked Beans
Whenever you make a batch of beans, double the recipe so that you have extra to freeze. This cuts down a lot of prep time during the week.
To thaw: remove from the freezer and thaw in the fridge overnight, or run under hot water to use them immediately.
18. Cooked Grains
Just as with beans, grains freeze and reheat beautifully. Store extra cooked rice and quinoa in your fridge and quick meals will be a breeze.
To thaw: remove from the freezer and thaw in the fridge overnight, or steam them to use them immediately. Or place the frozen grains in a bowl, and set into a larger bowl partially filled with very hot water.
19. Frozen Vegetables
Stock up on frozen vegetables like corn, vegetable medleys, edamame, and green peas, and you will always have healthy options when you’re cooking.
20. Frozen Fruit
When your grocery store is having a sale, stock up on frozen bananas, frozen berries, and other frozen fruits. You can use them when baking, snacking, or in smoothies.
21. Garlic and Ginger
Garlic and ginger are excellent to have for flavoring savory dishes, so I store minced garlic and grated ginger in small freezer bags when I have extra. There’s no need to defrost it before using.
22. Corn, Rice, and Wheat Tortillas
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