Everyone has the pantry staples that they can always rely on to grab and use anytime. For my fifteen-year-old brother, that’s macaroni and cheese, zebra cakes, and gigantic chocolate chip chocolate muffins. For me, that is not the case anymore (thanks metabolism). I make sure to have healthy options that I can rely on. Below are my top 10 healthy pantry must-haves and their benefits.
10 Pantry Must-Haves
KIND granola bars
If you don’t know me you may be surprised that I have chocolate first, let alone on the list at all. If you do know me, you’re not surprised. I love being healthy and choosing healthier options but I have the BIGGEST sweet tooth and refuse to live this life without chocolate! I love to have a small taste of chocolate after lunch or dinner. I don’t feel guilty enjoying my chocolate because I eat 85% dark chocolate. I also have discovered chocolate covered chickpeas which are delicious! I never used to like dark chocolate but in college my nutrition professor was teaching us about how we can train our brains to like (and dislike) anything we want to. Since then, I trained myself to enjoy dark chocolate and now I enjoy it more than milk chocolate.
When dark chocolate is consumed in a healthy proportion it can have many benefits with the antioxidants it contains. Dark chocolate may increase HDLs (good cholesterol), lower inflammation, and improve brain function.
I’m pretty sure like everyone else, I always have peanut butter in my pantry. The main reason is that it’s delicious. The second reason is for all of the recipes peanut butter can be used in such as toast, protein shakes, or when you need a spoonful!
The second I discovered chickpea pasta it became a staple. Why feel guilty about eating pasta when you can get a crap ton of protein and other nutrients from it? Since making the switch, I never feel guilty about eating pasta. I’d like to clarify you should never feel guilty about enjoying food. If you want that Barilla pasta then go ahead and eat it! Own it and add vegetables to it. Or don’t but you should always enjoy what you eat. Balance people.
I’ve talked about adding chickpeas to my salad instead of croutons in a previous post. Chickpeas can be added to a protein power bowl, eaten plain as a snack, or covered in chocolate! With all of the opportunities that can be done with chickpeas, they are a staple for me.
Quinoa has been a staple in my pantry for years because it is the perfect side dish to just about anything. I put it in stuffed peppers and soups. Amazing. The benefits of quinoa are so endless that it baffles me that a lot of people don’t eat it or are “afraid” to try it… it tastes like rice. Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods that can be eaten, it’s naturally gluten-free, contains all nine essential amino acids, and contains twice as much fiber as other grain.
I talked about olive oil in my previous cooking video and post where my sister and I make zucchini spaghetti. Click HERE to read.
Protein powder is an easy way to get enough protein in your diet when you have been slacking. I make a protein shake after I workout but I will still make a shake on my rest days. Click HERE for my protein shake recipe, a discount code for 30% off any Orgain products, and the importance of protein in your diet.
I love caesar salads because they’re simple. The dressing is not one that should be consumed as frequently as I eat the salad so I went on a mission to find a dressing that was healthier but still tasted good. I found one! My favorite dressing brand is Primal Kitchen Dairy-Free Caesar Dressing with Avocado Oil. This dressing is made with avocado oil, it is Whole30 and Paleo Approved (and keto but I don’t advocate for the Keto diet), it doesn’t contain soy, gluten, grains, dairy, refined added sugars, canola oil, sunflower oil or safflower oils. And yet, it’s tasty!
Sometimes when I’m hungry in the afternoon, but don’t feel like making anything, I grab a KIND granola bar and am good to go until dinner. The ingredients and protein are much better than all of the other generic granola brands. A lot of granola bars have unhealthy ingredients and you are simply consuming sugar and getting hungry 10 minutes later.
My last staple in my pantry is oatmeal because it’s nutritious and I have an amazing breakfast recipe containing oatmeal HERE.
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