20 Foods I Try To Keep Around

I’m going to write about my June 20th appearance on the 700 Club next week, but here is a link if you’d like to see the interview. Thanks for all your wonderful support!

I was looking in my refrigerator the other day, and besides noticing that it really needs to be taken apart and cleaned, I thought about how there are certain things I always have on hand, both in the refrigerator and in the pantry.

I’ve found that having certain staples in the pantry or in my refrigerator means that I’m rarely caught in the “I don’t have any food” syndrome, which used to send me running to the nearest fast food restaurant in search of a quick fix.Β And unfortunately, even after I visited the restaurant, I still didn’t have any food to make good meals quickly and easily.

Over time I’ve learned that there are certain things I should always have on hand, and sadly, chocolate cookies aren’t one of them! Here 20 pantry/refrigerator staples that I almost always have on hand.

  1. Beans/Lentils
  2. Pastas
  3. Flour
  4. Spices and Condiments
  5. Brown Rice or whatever you like
  6. Oats
  7. Frozen Veggies
  8. Canned Veggies
  9. Canned Fruits
  10. Canned Tomatoes
  11. Dried Fruits
  12. Peanut Butter/Nuts
  13. Sweet Potatoes
  14. Onions
  15. Greek Yogurt
  16. Milk
  17. Fruit
  18. Lean Meat of your choosing
  19. Eggs
  20. Healthy oil

There were other things on my list, but I tried to narrow it down to the main ones.Β  Planning and preparation are two words we just can’t seem to get away from in this journey. Why? Because planning and preparation can often times save you from making choices you will instantly regret!

Trust me, I’ve been there more times than I can count.

Question: What are a few things that you always have on hand?Β  Diane

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33 thoughts on “20 Foods I Try To Keep Around

  1. Vickie says:

    Have you found dried fruit that does not have sugar added? I think that one can be a real fooler.

    My local store started carrying lower salt, canned veggies and beans. That was a fooler for me too, the sodium level was still too high, even though it was lower than traditional. I am back to making my beans from dried, plain, in a bag.

    I have been able to find no sugar added, canned fruit. And you are right, having them on hand or for travel really helps.

    I am a HUGE believer in the strength of frozen, plain veggies. They are flash frozen immediately and are very fresh. I keep a large variety at all times. I will have the best of intentions on things like snapping a big bag of fresh green beans, but then it doesn’t happen. Frozen green beans are easier for me. I like the whole ones, rather than the cut. I still eat a lot of fresh veggies, but the frozen are always on hand/ready.

  2. Amanda says:

    I always keep frozen fruit around, in addition to the rest of the stuff you’ve listed. I prefer it to canned, and it does a marvelous job with smoothies!

  3. Diandra says:

    Hmm…. oats, milk, fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, peanut butter, homemade bread (our wholegrain flour and yeast to make some), olive oil. And canned tuna. ^^

  4. Caron says:

    My list is very similar to yours with a few exceptions. Periodically, I have to remove the peanut butter and nuts because they are a trigger food. Pasta might be in the pantry, but it is really for my daughter. I usually do have flour but it gets used so little that I have to throw it out because it gets old. Maybe twice a year I will buy dried fruit but only Craisins or raisins.

  5. Kaitie says:

    As a student without a kitchen, my list is slightly abbreviated. I do however always make a point to have oatmeal, carrot sticks, raisins, apples, and sweet potatoes (if I can get them!). Oh, and coffee, of course!!

    As Caron said above, I keep peanut butter around when I can, but it is an awful trigger food sometimes.

  6. KarenJ says:

    We always have canned tuna, salmon and chicken on hand so I have something to throw into a salad. In a pinch, they can be used in recipes as well. Another thing I use a lot is canned (organic) tomatoes which I buy in bulk when the canned goods go on sale in the winter. I find they go into almost every soup I make. Maybe this is not quite the same thing, but whenever I make a dish, I always double it and throw the extra in the freezer. So recently, when my husband and I had two weddings to attend in one weekend, we just “thawed” our meals for the week. FYI, we never bring in takeout (ever)!

  7. Michelle says:

    We have many things on your list in our pantry and fridge much of the time. What my husband and I have started doing to cook more healthy meals is to do meal planning. We sit down at the weekend and plan what we will cook for the week. Since we both work full time, we usually only have to plan dinners. We then go shopping for what we will need for our meals that week if we don’t have it already. We do plan one dinner a week for a take out meal and one dinner during the week for leftovers. We then finish off leftovers as lunches and on the weekends.

    Now I just need to get better at portion control.

    I started a new lifestyle 3 months ago and found your blog at a great time. So far I’ve lost 14 pounds, but I keep failing when it comes to portion control, especially when eating away from my normal “schedule”. There have been too many potlucks, but I’ve been getting better at how I eat at those as well. I keep reading your blog as inspiration. I’ve started blogging my journey, but I am not a writer by any means. I think it will help me keep on track. I’ve about 70 pounds to go.

  8. Mairi Brown says:

    My list is similar to yours except that I use almond butter instead of peanut butter because I’m mildly allergic to peanuts. Almond butter took some getting used to because unlike peanut butter it doesn’t contain sugar or salt. However, the benefits of a calmer stomach make the no sugar & salt bearable.

  9. Amy says:

    I always have dried lentils, canned beans, canned tomatoes and pasta and rice – so I can always whip something up on short notice!

  10. Lisa says:

    My list is similar to yours. I always have vegetables on hand. Fresh, frozen, canned, whatever. Same with fruit. We always have frozen salmon and shrimp–easy low calorie meals. We get chicken at costco and freeze it. I also have cottage cheese and plain Greek yogurt for my snacks. We ALWAYS have cans of black beans in the pantry. Beans are an amazing food!

  11. KCLAnderson (Karen) says:

    Great interview πŸ™‚

    I keep many of the same foods on hand (except beans and lentils…I wish I could like them but I just don’t!). That said, I do like hummus and I buy that often. One of these days I’d like to make my own!

  12. Lori says:

    I always have frozen baby broccoli florets on hand in the freezer. I never run out LOL! I keep a lot of the things you mention, but also peanut flour, coconut flour, liquid egg whites, flax meal, dates.

  13. Cindy says:

    Tofu – mostly to make a quick batch of CCK’s chocolate mousse with it if I get a craving for something sweet and chocolatey at night

  14. Karen@WaistingTime says:

    I’d have to add some sort of seasonal fruit. Egg substitute. Fat free cheese. And some “go to” meal, either black bean burgers or some frozen leftovers or something, just in case.

  15. Joy says:

    Great post!! In addition to your post I try to have: unsweetened almond milk (vanilla or chocholate) , bananas. laughing cow cheese or cheese strings, stevia, low fat yogurt, rice crackers, natural peanut butter, egg whites, sugar-free pudding, salsa. I was just thinking about this the other day. I almost feel like I am on auto pilot when I go go the grocery store, buying the same things over and over, I know where they are in the aisle. Just grab and go! It’s great in a way but I realize I have to trying new things or I get bored easily!

  16. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks for the list. I have noticed that since I have being eating healthy, I cook so much more nowadays. I keep a ton of frozen veggies. I used to use mac n cheese, quick rice and pasta dishes for side items but now I rarely use them. My daughter has to make a special request for mac n cheese.

    Also, I now stock way more spices for cooking and grilling. Whatever I do eat – I want to be delicious! Very particular about how I spend my calories now. Any old junk and processed food used to be acceptable not not these days!

  17. Becca says:

    I am trying really hard the past few weeks to have more fresh fruits and veggies on hand so I snack on those instead of chips and pretzels!

  18. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    I like your list and mine is very similar. Here is what I have always around:
    Fridge: milk, yogurt, cheese, sprouted bread, fruits & veggies
    Pantry: pasta, rice, dried beans, Pomi crushed tomatoes (with no added salt, etc.)
    Freezer: veggies, fruits, wild salmon

  19. Arnilyn Jones says:

    I really need to have a lot of goodies inside my freezer since I spent a lot of time inside my house writing my blogs. When I want to eat, I just check my freezer.

  20. Babbalou says:

    eggs, cheese, coffee, celery, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, olives, canned salmon, frozen fish, peanut butter, canned beans, half and half, coconut milk (for curries), black rice…these are always on hand or else I make a run to the store. I eat other vegetables, too, but rotate them.

  21. C says:

    I live alone so I just keep things in my kitchen that are planned to eat that week and when the week is done I’m usually out of food. Staples for me: whole wheat bread, PB, salsa, eggs, frozen veggies, fresh fruit, sliced cheese, chicken breast. Oh and if I run out of coffee… well lets just not let that happen:)

  22. blackhuff says:

    The ones you have mentioned, is what I too have on hand, always. Except for the canned goods. There I always have the frozen type.
    Some things I have on hand always is: Split Peas. These are unbelievable in soups. And my favorite: Baby spinach. You can have them in salads, soups, pasta dishes, on a sandwich, pretty much in everything. They take on the taste of other food so well and they are rich in nutrients.

  23. me says:

    One NEW thing is plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream. Brown rice. Canned beans that I drain and rinse. Eggs. Apples. Carrots. Rolled oats. Grainy bread. Frozen mixed veggies. Frozen broccoli. Frozen chicken breasts. Frozen beef that I drain and rinse after browning. Ground turkey. Jarred spaghetti sauce. Unbleached, white flour. Italian dressing. Herbal teas. Not good ones include semisweet chocolate chips, instant coffee, and nondairy creamer….

    I am hoping to add some new things from the recipes that come with APY60~there is some GOOD LOOKIN’ STUFF in there! I’ve also enjoyed the look of some recipes from “Live Big with Ali Vincent” and “Mexico: One Plate at a Time”.

  24. Shelly Alder says:

    I also keep alot of the same things, however I don’t eat alot of meat so I have to supplement my protien, I keep an organice plant based protien protien powder that I mix w/my organic oatmeal and berries. Also liquid egg product w/the yolks, I’m not vegan just don’t like meat, keep lots of beans, lentils, chickpeas, quinoa and quinoa pasta. Veggie burgers and laughing cow light cheese. Organic PB is a staple but you can only have a Tablespoon. Lots of frozen berries. I sprinkle a high protien Bare Naked granola (1/4 C) on my Greek Yogurt.

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