Kitchen Staples

Now and then, Dave and I will add a few funky items to our pantry, fridge, or freezer (like the dried Nori snacks I picked up at World Market a few weeks ago—yum!), but there are certain staples that I try to always keep on hand.

1. Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk by Almond Breeze.

Why I buy it: I try to limit the amount of animal products I consume, and this is my very favorite alternative to regular ol’ milk. It’s only 40 calories a serving, creamy & delicious, and a great source of calcium.

How I use it: Lately, almost exclusively in smoothies, but I also love it in oatmeal, with cereal, or to cool down coffee so I can drink it faster. šŸ™‚

2. Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt. (Chobani and Yoplait are my favorites, but I’ll usually buy whatever is on sale).

Why I buy it: Greek yogurt is loaded with protein (which helps you feel full), calcium, has plenty of probiotics (which keep your digestive system healthy) and is incredibly versatile. (I also buy the flavored ones for lunches).

How I use it: I use it in smoothies, on quesadillas, to whip up dips or make hummus a little creamier. It’s great with curry and an indulgent treat with some fruit and granola.

3. Foldit Artisan Flatbread.

Why I buy it: When I don’t want to fill up on a huge bun, these flatbreads are the perfect low-cal option with only 100 calories. IĀ tried Arnold’s Sandwich Thins, but I just didn’t dig the flavor. However,Ā these pita breadsĀ are really tasty with greatĀ flavors like 5 Grain Flax, Rosemary & Olive Oil, and Soft Pretzel (which is always sold out!).

How I use it: It’s the perfect size for veggie burgers, works great for sandwiches, and can make a pita pizza in a pinch. Which brings me to number 4…

4. Whole Wheat Pitas.

Why I buy it: These are great pizza-crust substitues for quick dinners. They are relatively low in calories and very delicious.

How I use it: Mostly for pita pizzas, but I also like to bake them and use them to scoop curry.

5. Canned Diced Tomatoes.

Why I buy it: Dave and I never buy prepacked tomato sauces: fresh canned tomatoes with herbs and garlic are nearly as quick and more delicious. Plus, I like my sauces chunky, so the diced tomatoes work best.

How I use it: to make pizza sauce and pasta sauce or add to a couscous salad.

6. Spinach.

Why I buy it: Spinach is one of the greatest nutritional powerhouses. It aids in digestions, slows down cell division in cancer cells, lowers blood pressure, and contains vitamins that protect the eyes, bones, and skin. Everyone should eat spinach.

How I use it: As a base for salads, in smoothies, sauteed in egg, pasta, or couscous dishes. (I’m going to try my hand at spinach pesto soon!) I try to eat at least a serving a day.

7. Gardenburgers.


Why I buy it: At Woodman’s, these burgers are a friggin’ steal at $2.99 per box; most other veggie burgers like MorningStar and Boca are between $4 and $6. They are all natural and made from real vegetables and grains. The ingredient list isn’t as scary as some other meat alternatives, which makes me happy.

How I use it: As a burger subsitute most often, but sometimes I’ll crumble it for pasta sauce or a taco salad for a bit of extra protein.

8. Just Bare Chicken.

Why I buy it: With stats I like and a priceĀ both Dave and IĀ like, this is something that is always in our freezer. Just Bare Chicken is humane certified with no antibiotics or added hormones and are traceable to the family farm where it was raised.

How I use it: Dave is famous for his whole roasted chicken on the grill or in the oven…he’s a master!Ā I also buy a pack of tenders or chicken breast that I use for salads, fajitas, or in curry.

9. Frozen and Canned Fish and Seafood.

Why I buy it: Fish is delish…and great for you!

How I use it: Tuna melts, sardine and avocado sandwiches, baked fish, shrimp stir fry, or with crackers and cheese.

10. Salsa.

Why I buy it: Salsa is a tasty condiment that includes a serving of veggies. It is low in calories and can enhance the flavor of a lot of dishes.

How I use it: mixed with cottage cheese and served with crackers, on top of taco salads or scrambled egg whites with spinach. Or…with chips!

11. Just Great Stuff Powdered Peanut Butter.

Why I buy it: There’s no reason not to buy powdered peanut butter if you love the taste but not the fat content of regular peanut butter. Powdered PB has just 45 calories and 1.5 grams of fat per 2 tbsp, which is quite a jump from a normal PB’s stats of 190 calories and 16 grams of fat per two tbsp. There’s no funny business involved, just pressing the oil from the peanuts to get rid of their fat content.

How I use it: To make an amazingly delicious peanut sauce for stir fry and veggie roll dipping, added to smoothies or dessert recipes, or just used like regular PB on a sandwich or with apples. It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.

What are three of your kitchen must-haves?


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