How Do You Keep a Nutritious, Delicious and Useful Pantry, Fridge and Freezer?

A smart kitchen is one that has a variety of nutritious foods and ingredient options in various forms—some requiring only a can or jar opener and others requiring a little prep. Kitchen food staples can be stocked and simply kept up by taking a quick inventory when you plan your shopping list. This includes: the pantry closet, cupboards, countertop, the fridge, the freezer—anywhere you store your food.

Here’s a list of basic staples to keep on hand for easy meal creations. You can revise and add to this list to suit your personal and household preferences:

  • Condiments: vinegars including rice wine, raspberry, champagne, and balsamic
  • Oils: canola oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil
  • Nuts, especially those omega-3 heart-healthy walnuts (remember to store your walnuts in the refrigerator to maintain freshness)
  • Low sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • Grains: oats, a pasta (whole grain or 50/50), quinoa, brown rice, whole grain bread
  • Vegetables: canned pumpkin, canned low sodium tomatoes, low sodium tomato sauce
  • Fruits: dried fruits like raisins, apricots, dried cherries
  • Chunk light tuna, line-caught albacore, or wild salmon in cans or pouches
  • Dried herbs and spices and herb/spice blends like cinnamon, oregano, thyme, red pepper, rosemary, garlic powder, cumin, yellow curry, black pepper and a few salt-free seasoning blends
  • Fresh fruits like bananas, apples, oranges, pears and other seasonal fruit for the fruit bowl
  • Avocados and tomatoes for the countertop
  • Sweet potatoes / yams
  • Baking potatoes
  • Garlic and onions (can be transferred to refrigerator)
  • Condiments: Dijon mustard, yellow mustard, low sodium all natural salad dressing
  • Oils: sesame or another aromatic oil like walnut oil (Note: for optimal storage, keep these oils in the refrigerator)
  • Nuts, especially those omega-3 heart-healthy walnuts (remember to store your nuts in the refrigerator to maintain freshness)
  • Nut butters
  • Vegetables: fresh salad greens, green beans, broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, and others.
  • Fruits: fresh fruits like berries, grapes, ripe melon (in season), cut fruits, lemons, and seasonal fruit.
  • Fruit preserves
  • Dairy including low fat regular or Greek yogurt, low fat or fat-free milk, some part-skim cheese or high flavor cheese like parmesan or sharp cheddar
  • Eggs
  • Uncooked fish (1-2 days or freeze it), shellfish (up to 3 days or freeze), poultry (1-2 days), pork (3-5 days), lean meat (3-5 days), ground meat or poultry (1-2 days), sodium-nitrate free deli meat (3-5 days)
  • Frozen edamame (soybeans)
  • Frozen fruits like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mango, and pineapple.
  • Frozen veggies to have on hand all the time to supplement the fresh like spinach, broccoli, green beans, peas, and bell peppers
  • Frozen chicken breasts, ground lean turkey breast formed in burgers
  • Fruit sorbet or other frozen dessert
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