Tuesday , June 2 2020

Pantry Essentials (for Healthy Eating and Weight Watchers)


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Everything you need to stock up a healthy and WW friendly pantry. Includes links to in stock products at reasonable prices.

Lately, I have been getting lots of requests about how to stock a pantry that works for healthy living and Weight Watchers so today, I wanted to share a bunch of items I have been adding to my pantry. To make things easy, I specifically only chose items that are currently in stock on Amazon or other providers (at the time of this post) so that you could order them if needed.  

In this unknown time, eating healthy may be the last thing you are thinking about, but for me, it’s something that really helps with my mental health, physical energy, and general well-being. When I eat poorly, I just don’t feel my best, which makes everything feel harder. So I am focusing on eating healthy most of the time with the occasional treat or special meal. It’s all about balance and moderation, especially right now. 

Additionally, this is a time to be kind of ourselves. When we don’t have access to everything we are used to, are stuck at home, and dealing with a “new normal,” we need to be kind to ourselves. Do what works for you, your family, and your current “new normal.” This is a time to treat ourselves with the same compassion we are showing to others. 

Fresh Produce, Frozen Meats, and Dried Goods

Before we dig into specifics, I wanted to share one service that I am loving right now called Imperfect Foods. Imperfect Foods (previously known as Imperfect Produce) is a company that works to reduce food waste by buying excess production of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, eggs, meat, and dried goods and delivering them to their customers at a discount.

Although they have experienced some delivery delays and inventory issues, I have been using them weekly to get shipments of fresh produce, frozen meat, and dairy right to my doorstep weekly. Not only do I deeply believe in their mission, their service has been extremely helpful during this time.  You choose the groceries you want. There are no mandatory orders, you can skip any week without penalty, and you only pay for what you get. No membership fees or subscription requirements.

If you would like to try it, you can get $10 off your first shipment with this link. This is not sponsored, I have been using this service for over a year, but I will receive a $10 credit if you sign up through the link. 

Dry Goods

  • Lentils: I like all variety of lentils so I usually have red lentils and brown lentils in my pantry for quick soups, side dishes, and vegetarian meals. (3 Green, 0 Blue, 0 Purple for 1/2 cup cooked)
  • Dried beans: Dried beans are much more affordable than canned and really easy to make in the slow cooker or Instant Pot. I usually have chickpeas and black beans on hand since we use those the most. (3 Green, 0 Blue, 0 Purple for 1/2 cup cooked)
  • Quinoa: Any variety of quinoa will work whether it is white quinoa, red quinoa, or a tri-color option. I love Costco’s quinoa but have heard it is out of stock. The linked option from TruRoots is also very good and reasonably priced. (3 Green, 3 Blue, 0 Purple for 1/2 cup cooked)
  • Rice: You can use any variety of rice you like but we mostly use brown rice at home. (3 Green, 3 Blue, 0 Purple for 1/2 cup cooked for brown rice)
  • Couscous: Couscous is one of my favorite options for a quick cooking side dish since it’s ready in about five minutes. You can use traditional golden couscous or whole wheat. (2 Green, 2 Blue, 2 Purple 1/2 cup cooked golden, 0 Purple for whole wheat)
  • Pasta: This is a staple in most home and can be hard to find right now. You can choose from traditional (here is some in stock), whole wheat, or an alternative pasta (like the ones made with chickpeas or lentils). 5 Green, 5 Blue, 5 Purple for 1 cup cooked, 0 Purple for whole wheat)
  • Rolled Oats: Rolled oats have so many uses for morning oatmeal, baked goods, smoothies, and even as a binder in ingredients. (3 Green, 3 Blue, 0 Purple for 1/2 cup cooked)
  • Chia Seeds: Love chia seeds for making chia seed pudding (breakfast or dessert), adding to smoothies, and adding to my morning oatmeal. They can also serve as an egg replacer. (2 Green, 2 Blue, 2 Purple for 1 tbsp dried)
  • White whole wheat flour: This is our preferred flour since it tastes like all purpose white flour but has more nutrients since it is made from whole wheat. (varies on amount)
  • Cornstarch: Since lower calorie sauces usually contain less sugar and/or fat, sometimes they need a little help with thickening from cornstarch to achieve the same texture. (varies on amount)

Canned Goods

  • Diced tomatoes: Right now I just focus on buying plain or fire roasted tomatoes (could only find garlic in stock at a reasonable price) since I can always add spices or seasoning. (Mostly 0 points)
  • Pasta sauce: You can make your own or use a store-bought option. We love Rao’s in our house since it has no added sugar, clean ingredients, and tastes amazing but it’s expensive, even more so right now. This is another good option.  (varies by brand)
  • Beans: We always have a ton of canned beans on hand for quick side dishes, salads, tacos, hummus, and more. (3 Green, 0 Blue, 0 Purple for 1/2 cup )
  • Pumpkin: We used canned pumpkin in oatmeal, smoothies, pancakes, waffles, and even in some savory dishes to create sauces. It’s packed with nutrients and 0 points. (0 Green, 0 Blue, 0 Purple for 1/2 cup)
  • Amy’s Soups: Another quick and healthy meal option I like to have on hand is Amy’s soups. They are packed with good for you ingredients, filling, and usually low in points. At the time of this post, these were pretty expensive on Amazon so your local store or Costco might be a better option. (varies 2-4 points for most)
  • Canned tuna, salmon, and/or chicken: These healthy canned meat options can be a lifesaver for salads, sandwiches, and even casseroles, burgers, and pasta dishes. With between 0-3 points (depending on variety and plan), I always am stocked up. 

Oils Vinegars, and Sauces

  • Olive Oil: We use olive oil more that any other cooking oil and if I could only have one oil, this would be it.
  • Cooking spray: Usually I use avocado cooking oil spray but any kind will work.
  • Low sodium soy sauce: Soy sauce is a staple in so many dishes – both Asian dishes and other savory dishes. It’s a great option to build and enhance flavor.
  • Asian hot sauce: Any kind of hot sauce works but my personal favorite is sambal olek, which is an Asian garlic chili paste. Sriracha is a good option as well.
  • Vinegar: I usually try to have balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and red wine vinegar (I couldn’t find a reasonably priced option in stock) in my pantry for salad dressing, marinades, and sauces.
  • Honey: I like to use raw honey as opposed to refine sugar to sweeten up oatmeal, smoothies, baked goods and also use it often in sauces, dressing, and marinades.
  • Pure maple syrup: Just like honey, I like to use pure maple syrup as a sweetener in place of refined sugar.
  • Buffalo sauce: This is something you either love or hate, but I am definitely on the LOVE side and always have buffalo sauce in my fridge. Plus it’s zero points and low in calories. 
  • Salsa: This is another staple in our house and we eat salsa daily with everything from eggs to carrot sticks to dinner. I am partial to Herdez salsa. Another great zero point option. 
  • Mustard: Another zero point condiment that can be used for sandwiches, wraps, dressing, marinades, and more. We like whole grain mustard, but anything works
  • Peanut Butter: Even though peanut butter is a high point option, we use it all the time for pancakes, oats, smoothies, and sauces.  Look for no sugar added options.

Fun Finds

Although these are in no way staples, these are some more items I  always have in my pantry.

  • Popcorn: I  always have individual bags of popcorn on hand for a quick salty snack. (3 Green, Blue, and Purple Smartpoints, 100 calories)
  • Palmini: If you haven’t tried this pasta alternative made from heart of palms, it’s time to try it. It’s zero points (all colors), 20 calories, and pretty darn delicious,
  • Cauliflower Cheddar Crackers: I am kind of obsessed with these cheddar crackers made from cauliflower flour. For 44 crackers, it’s just 4 points (all colors) and 110 calories.
  • Yes Pea’s Pop Chips: Originally I bought these for my kids but I fall in love with flavor and use them in place of chips or crackers with hummus and other dips.  It’s 3 points (all colors) and 110 calories for 21 chips.
  • Skinny Dipped Almonds: Although these are higher in calories/points, it’s a healthier option when you want something sweet. I am partial to the Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor, which has 6 points (all colors) and 150 calories for 15 almonds.

Note: Always check your local delivery options like Instacart, Amazon Fresh, and local grocery stores to find better prices. Many times you can find smaller packages and/or better prices on those platforms.

What do you make sure to always have in your pantry?

Healthy pantry essentials including rice, quinoa, flour, and oats.

Original Recipe By Slender Kitchen

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