In my post, My Solution in the Kitchen to Always eat Healthy, I had added a little shopping list of healthy and natural ingredients.
However, since some people have asked me what ingredients they should keep in their homes to create healthy meals, here is a list of the ingredients that I, personally, keep in my kitchen.
Oats: this is what I eat every day for breakfast, sometimes in the form of Granola and sometimes in the form of Coffee Overnight Oats. I also use it for a bunch of snack and dessert recipes; such as Oatmeal Cups, Oatmeal Cookies or Apple Crumble.
Brown rice: sometimes I also buy wild black rice, but since it’s much more expensive, it’s more like a treat.
Quinoa, Millet, Bulgur or Buckwheat: I keep one of those and when I finish it, I buy a different one.
I usually keep two or three different kinds at home, and when I need to buy more, I change the kind that I buy, always depending on the availability in the country where I am located.
The most common choices, because they are the most common in many countries, are:
- Chickpeas or garbanzo beans
- Brown lentils
- Cannellini Beans or white Italian kidney beans
However, whenever it’s possible, I like to change the brown lentils to green, black (also called beluga) or red ones.
I also alternate the Cannellini beans with black beans or the adzuki beans, but also kidney beans, especially if I want to make Chili Con Carne.
3. Vegetables and greens
Onion and Garlic: they are the base for my sofrito in many recipes. I also add them to my veggies when baking them.
I usually have some type of green leaves at home; such as spinach, arugula, kale, lettuce (not iceberg).
Zucchini, aubergines, carrots, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, and potatoes are my staples and I have them weekly. Sometimes, I have broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, parsnips or whatever is in season or available at my location.
Apples, bananas, and pears are usually my staples, also, because they are very common in many countries. However, I tend to buy whatever is in season and most common in the fruit shop and whenever I can, I also buy berries.
Avocados and tomatoes – yep, both of them are fruits! I ALWAYS have tomatoes in my fridge and occasionally an avocado or two, but I definitely consume more tomatoes than avocado. I guess that’s because I’m Italian and avocado is new to my diet.
Whenever I have access, I consume organic and locally produced dairy.
Cheese: I love cheese and I believe that cheese makes every dish better 😀 I usually keep some feta cheese at home and I buy parmiggiano or mozzarella cheese often.
Milk or similar: I use milk for my breakfast and, whenever I have the chance, I buy organic milk from grass-fed cows or goat’s milk. I usually alternate with oat milk, if I can find it organic and with no added ingredients other than oats and water.
6. Animal protein
Eggs: I always have eggs at home now, because my boyfriend eats eggs for breakfast. However, I don’t consume eggs daily; they are perfect whenever I don’t have any other food ready.
Chicken: I love chicken, especially chicken breast because it’s super easy to make and it’s perfect for batch cooking. Whenever I have access, I buy it organic and/or free range, and I divide one breast into four meals. I also limit my consumption to one breast every three weeks or so.
Salmon: smoked salmon makes a perfect aperitif together with capers, red onions, and olive oil. I also love salmon filets and try to have it once a week or two.
Anchovies, canned tuna, and sardines: they usually come in a can or in a glass jar, making them a staple I use when I need a source of protein and don’t have anything ready or don’t know what to make. I always buy them in olive oil, even better if I find them organic and in extra virgin olive oil.
Sardines are also perfect to make this Sardine Spread and can be kept in the fridge.
7. Seeds and Nuts
Sesame, pumpkin, sunflower and hemp seeds: I add them into my salads and Buddha bowls.
Almonds: I usually buy them naturally and roast them for 10 minutes in the oven. Once they have cooled down, they are stored in glass jars. I use them as a snack and also to make this Mojo Picón or red bell pepper sauce.
Walnuts: I use them in salads usually.
Hazelnuts: the same as the almonds, I roast them before storing them. They are a staple because I love to keep some Healthy Nutella at home.
Cashews: they are essential if you want to make a vegan dessert, like these No-bake Mini Cheesecakes.
8. Oils and Fats
Extra virgin olive oil: I use a lot of it! I use it raw for salads and for my Buddha bowls. I also use it for cooking in a pan and in the oven. Note: I don’t fry any food.
Coconut oil: I usually use it for baking or to make pancakes.
Butter: I buy it organic whenever it’s available. I use it to make cheesy scrambled eggs, for recipes, such as Healthy Nutella, and on top of baked broccoli.
9. Spices, herbs and condiments
Green tea: I have it daily for breakfast before having any food. Whenever I can, I buy it organic and in bulk. Sometimes, I also add mint to it.
Salt, Black pepper, Oregano: these are the basics, even when I’m traveling and using a kitchen that is not mine. Back at home, I also have cumin, needed to make hummus, thyme, Provençal herbs, turmeric to make golden milk, and a few more.
Ginger: I usually buy it fresh and add it to my tea in the morning. I don’t use it every single day of the year, but I buy one root and have it every day until I finish it, then not buying it for a few weeks.
Vinegar: I usually buy apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar.
Organic soy sauce: I use it to make salad sauces, to give food a different taste, and for sauces, like Teriyaki sauce.
Baking soda: it’s necessary for baking, but I’ve discovered that it can also be used to remove the rest of the sticky labels on recycled jars.
Sweeteners: Organic, raw, no-pasteurized honey is my most used sweetener, together with fruit. I also keep stevia at home and I use it for some recipes.
This list might seem like a long one; however, all of those ingredients don’t take up much space in my kitchen and it’s possible to create so much with them.
What I’m trying to say is that you don’t need to buy trendy and expensive foods. Neither do you need a fancy kitchen to be able to eat healthy.
Your turn: have you ever made a list of all of the food that you keep at home? This would be a good exercise to get rid of expired foods and to only keep natural and healthy ingredients around.
As always, I appreciate you stopping by my blog, and if you think this post might help someone you know to make a step to a healthier lifestyle, please don’t hesitate, and share it away!
Happy Healthy Eating!
A big hug,
Claudia Canu is a former junk food and sugar addict transformed into a Health Motivator with a master’s degree in Nutrition. She has created this website not only to share her “Journey to her Healthy Forties” but also to help other busy women with basic knowledge about nutrition and who don’t love cooking, to live a healthier life, and achieve big goals.