If you are like most people, you likely have come home from work to prepare a nice homemade meal, only to realize there’s nothing to cook. Sometimes, cooking at home sounds like an excellent idea, but the thought of heading to the grocery messes up everything. Ensuring that your kitchen is well stocked with essential foods can be the difference between having a homemade meal and ordering fast foods.

Like the idea?

We thought you would. So we spoke to one fitness class expert and here were his sentiments regarding the best essential foods to stock in your kitchen to help you achieve your weight, health, and fitness goals.

Grains and legumes

Whole grains, lentils, and rice are all great sources of proteins and fiber. Having them handy will not only ensure you have something to eat but that your diet is well supplemented. And since these grains and legumes store well, you can keep them for a while without any worries. Additionally, you can use some of these kitchen staples to turn a basic meal into a delicious one – all you need is a little creativity.

Examples include

  • Whole wheat and all-purpose flour
  • Rolled oats
  • Cornmeal
  • Brown, long-grain white or jasmine rice
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Pasta
  • Lentils
  • Dry beans: white, black, garbanzo, kidney
  • Cornstarch

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds can be perfect snacks – but their role isn’t just limited to that. They are also great additives and can make delicious and mouthwatering meals as well as salads and coatings. Note that, most fresh nuts and seeds are to be kept in the freezer (or fridge) to prevent their essential oils from turning rancid.

Examples include

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Dry-roasted unsalted peanuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Pine nuts
  • Natural almond butter
  • Tahini
  • Tahini

Oils, vinegar, and condiments

These are the backbone of most recipes. They are essential for quick salad dressings, marinades, pan sauces, and so on. Oils, vinegar, and condiments allow you to replace meals that are packed with sugar, sodium, and other additives with the healthier ones. A collection of oils is especially critical for your home meals. Oils like extra-virgin oil are perfect for uncooked meals like salad dressing or brushed on fish or chicken after cooking. Others like canola are great for cooking. Try out different options to see what works for you and what doesn’t.

Examples include

  • Grapeseed or canola oil
  • Extra-virgin oil
  • Mayonnaise
  • Unsalted butter
  • Flavorful nut and seed oils like walnut and sesame
  • Ketchup
  • Curry paste
  • Fish sauce
  • Dijon mustard
  • Chile-garlic sauce                                                         
  • Hot sauce
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Capers
  • Honey
  • White-wine, red-win and cider vinegar

Herbs and spices

Herbs and spices have a way of turning a flat and dull meal into an appealing dish. When kept well, spices and herbs can last for a long time. Just keep sniffing to determine their potency – if you can’t smell their aroma, then you may not be able to taste them in the food, meaning it’s time to replenish.

Examples include

  • Garlic powder
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cocoa powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Curry powder
  • Chili powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Smoked paprika
  • Cumin
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Salt
  • Whole peppercorns

Refrigerated items

These are essential foodstuffs that must be kept in the fridge to preserve their freshness. Refrigerated items are easily and quickly used for several fast dinners. Yogurt, for instance, is an incredible snack, but can be used as a dipping sauce for pork or fish, or turn a dressing for shawarma or falafel. Eggs, on the other hand, are great for frittatas and omelets.

Examples include

  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Plain yogurt
  • Tortillas
  • Shredded cheese
  • Mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Grated parmesan

Vegetables and fruits          

Fruits and veggies are a great source of vitamins and minerals, so you don’t want to miss them in your kitchen. Since fresh veggies and fruits have a shorter shelf life, it’s great to keep them frozen.

Examples include

  • Broccoli florets
  • Spinach
  • Shelled edamame
  • Blueberries
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Corn kernels

You can also stash a little meat in your fridge for quick meals.                                  

Drinks and dessert

Nothing completes a meal better than a dessert. So, stocking some snacks or drinks can go a long way. Frozen yogurt and the likes are great for impromptu desserts too.

Examples include

  • Frozen chocolate covered with berries
  • Fresh juice
  • Yogurt
  • Low fat ice-cream








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