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For Recovery: Have a Well-Stocked Pantry


When you are working on establishing healthy eating habits, it helps to have a well-stocked pantry.

For many of us trying to eat well, convenience is key. It becomes easier if frequently used food items are at hand, or we can flavor bland dishes by reaching into the cupboard for condiments.

Here is a simple list of items to consider keeping in your kitchen. The list has been put together by someone who does not like spending more than 20 minutes making a meal (give or take five minutes), and wants calories that are nutrition-rich. Nutritious calories are acceptable calories in this pantry.

Pantry List

Sauce Stuff

Tomato and broth products such as canned tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, marinara sauce, chicken and beef broth.

Marinara is great for pasta, of course, but also good over chicken. Tomatoes go in chili, soups or casseroles. Broths are good for flavoring meats or grains and for making soups.

Great Grains

Whole grains such as wild rice, brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal and whole-grain pastas.

Grains are easy to cook-up and work well in casseroles, soups and Mexican dishes such as burritos and tacos. Grains can also stand on their own as hot or cold main-meal or side dishes.

Better with Beans

Cans of beans such as kidney beans, white beans, black beans and garbanzo beans (chickpeas).

Beans are a good source of protein and easy to make a salad with (e.g., a three-bean salad). Add them to soups, chili, pasta, Mexican dishes, casseroles and stir-fries.

Veggies and Fruit

Cans of fruit packaged in 100 percent fruit juice or in water such as mandarin oranges, peaches, pineapple and pears. Cans of low or no-salt veggies such as asparagus, green beans and corn. Also, dried fruits and vegetables such as dried apples, apricots and tomatoes.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are always preferable, but if you do not have them on hand, canned and dried substitutes can perk up salads, stir-fries, grain or casserole dishes. Dried fruit is also good for snacking.

Protein Punch

Water-packed salmon, tuna and chicken.

Canned meat is an easy way to add protein to a salad, soup or taco, and makes it a snap to whip up a simple sandwich spread.

Spice It Up

Olive oil, basic herbs and spices, mustard, vinegars, cooking wine, tabasco, soy sauce, peanut or other nut butters, nuts such as almonds and walnuts.

These items give you creative license to dress up most any dish.

Pantry P.S.

Using organic and non-GMO foods is recommended, though what you choose to buy is naturally your choice. Eating fresh foods and produce is always preferable, with frozen foods coming in close behind. Low-sodium canned products are suggested, especially if you use a lot of canned foods.