Food Staples

Staples a.k.a. What I Keep in my Pantry
*This serves me well when I get to the end of the month and realize I'm out of grocery money! I can make a bunch of meals just by having some of these basics on hand. This is not an exhaustive list, just the things that I tend to keep on hand.

If you don't want to go the whole menu planning route for all of your meals, you can just stock up on staples (gradually!  Don't try to do it all at once!:) and plan two to four meals (outside of staple foods) for the week, using your staples to create plenty of healthy dishes. Just keep in mind that your Vegetables need to take up the majority of your plate and you're good to go!

Whole Wheat Pasta (variety of shapes that your family enjoys)
100% Whole Wheat White Flour
100% Whole Wheat Flour
100% Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
Vital Wheat Gluten (helps your heavier breads rise)
Popcorn (we use an air popper, coconut oil & sea salt)
Steel Cut Groats/Oats
Quinoa (a great source of protein that blends well with your oats!)
Whole Grain Rice (Brown, Basmati, etc)
*If you're going to be baking, make sure to get baking powder and baking soda to help your breads/muffins, etc rise!

Dried Beans *If you're new to dried beans, start off with pinto beans if you like refried beans, kidney or red beans if you like chili. Dried beans took a little while for my family to warm up to. I started with Pinto beans and mixed them half and half with canned refried beans for a bit. Now the kids can't stand canned beans because the texture is so pasty!
  • Navy beans
  • Chickepeas
  • Pinto Beans
  • black beans
  • Red Beans
  • Kidney Beans

Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, peanuts) *If your family isn't used to nuts in things, start out by grinding them in a mini food processor or blender and gradually chop them less until they start to enjoy the extra crunchiness.

Seeds *If your family is new to using seeds, I would start with flaxseed and grind it. Buy whole flaxseed and keep it in the freezer, grinding it in your mini blender/food processor a little every few days. Mis it in recipes and in with oatmeal, etc.
  • Flaxseed *Great for stabilizing moods. I make sure my kids have a little every day in one way or another. We put it on salads, in baked goods, in porridge, cookies, replace oil in recipes, breads, etc.
  • Sunflower Seeds: Great on salads and in breads.
  • Sesame seeds: Great source of calcium and many other nutrients. Great in breads, on salads and green beans!
  • Chia Seeds: These are packed full of goodness, and give a yummy crunch to cereals, muffins, breads, etc. Don't leave them sitting out in water though, because they absorb the water and turn into a gel... which is actually really good for you, but at least for my kids, it grossed them out and it took a week before they were willing to eat them again!

Vegetables & Such:
  • Peppers (a variety of jalepeno, pablano, bell peppers, etc)
  • Onions: Yellow, red & Spanish Onions
  • GARLIC: Always always keep bulbs of garlic on hand!

  • Xylitol Brown Sugar Replacement
  • Stevia (I buy liquid for at home and packets for my purse. The kids use less of the liquid than when I buy just the powder... I don't know why:)
  • Agave Nectar/Raw Honey

Just watch for “No MSG” and try to get natural seasonings without added salt
Black Pepper (we get the peppercorns with the built in grinder
Sea Salt
Chili Powder
Chipotle Chili Powder
Mrs. Dash Seasonings and McCormicks both have a wide variety of no msg/no salt seasonings. Grab a new one (or two) each shopping trip until you have a nice supply to work with.

In The Fridge & Freezer

In The Fridge:
  • Eggs... LOTS of eggs *I keep up to 18 boiled eggs at a time in a container for easy snacking. I don't eat the yolks, just the whites.
  • Low Fat Plain Natural Yogurt *We mostly use this in protein shakes. Sometimes the kids will blend some up with just fruit, but we generally always have it with protein. You can make yogurt cheese as well for a cream cheese replacement in many things, including frosting.
  • Low Fat Cottage Cheese
  • Fresh vegetables, prepped for easy snacking
  • Part Skim Mozzerella Cheese Sticks
  • Celery
  • Carrots/Baby Carrots (if on sale)
  • Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Romain Lettuce
  • Salad Greens
  • Baby Spinach Leaves (these are great not only in salads, but also on pizzas, in omelettes & sauces.
  • Grape or Cherry Tomatoes when you can find good ones.
  • Bell Peppers, bean sprouts, tomatoes & cucumbers for salads
  • Apples (a variety), oranges and grapefruit. Sometimes bananas.
  • Low Fat Cheeses: Mozerella, Parmesan, Feta, Asiago. (My kids really enjoy using the cheese grater to grate hard cheeses, so I try to buy at least one block of cheese instead of buying it pre-grated. The cost works out about the same.
  • And, of course, Bread dough is a pretty much constant n our fridge!

In The Freezer
  • Prepped Meats (I always try to make a little extra on prep days so that I have meal ready meats in a pinch)
  • *Clean meats that I buy: Tilapia, Lean cuts of beef/pork, chicken breasts, extra lean ground turkey
  • Frozen Veggies (I try to buy a variety and always have them on hand. They work well in so many ways!)
  • Frozen Fruits (for smoothies, porridge, muffins, etc. Buy overripe bananas for super cheap, peel and freeze in ziplock bags
  • Veggies prepped/chopped/diced, ready to be sauteed for recipes. I chop/prep them on prep day and freeze in serving sizes OR in bags per recipe, depending on how organized I am!