15 Items Our Registered Dietitian Keeps in Her Pantry
Keeping your pantry stocked with healthy ingredients is key for maintaining a nutritious diet, so we asked acac Registered Dietitian Margaret Moses to share the items that she keeps on hand in her own home. Check out the list of her 15 staples below – all of which can be found at any grocery store!
- Kefir: Probiotic-rich food is very popular right now – but for a good reason! Research shows that probiotics (a.k.a. good bacteria) are helpful in maintaining or improving a healthy gut, in turn promoting a stronger immune system. You can find a wide variety of probiotic supplements at the drug store, but Margaret suggests getting your fill from food instead. Kefir is a drinkable yogurt that contains 12 different strains of probiotics! Try adding it to a smoothie or drinking it on its own.
- Kombucha: This fermented tea is a great probiotic-rich option for those who want to stay away from dairy. The drink is naturally fizzy and refreshing, plus you can get a healthy dose of antioxidants from the tea. Many grocery stores now carry kombucha or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try brewing your own!
- Chia Seeds: These little guys are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular-related diseases, reduce the risk of cancer, and improve brain health and function. Margaret likes to sprinkle these into her oatmeal or add to her smoothies.
- Walnuts: Walnuts are another great source of omega-3 fatty acids! Margaret likes these in oatmeal or on top of a salad. You can also grab a handful for a healthy afternoon snack.
- Canned Beans: Beans are a great source of fiber and the cans will keep in your pantry for months! Toss them into soups, salads, or a casserole for a boost in protein.
- Chicken or Vegetable Broth: Chicken and vegetable broth make a great base for homemade soups or you can also try cooking your quinoa in broth for extra flavor. Margaret likes to sweat her veggies in broth rather than sauteing them in oil. Be sure to look for low-sodium options at the grocery store.
- Quinoa: Speaking of quinoa, this gluten-free pseudocereal is a great source of fiber and protein. It cooks just like rice but in half the time! Have it as a warm side or add it to a chilled salad. Combine it with scrambled eggs and bake in muffin tins or stuff peppers with quinoa, beans, and tomatoes. The quinoa recipe possibilities are endless!
- Whole Wheat Flour: There’s no need to completely cut out your beloved breads and pastries! Swap whole wheat flour for enriched white flour when baking for added fiber.
- Whole Spices: Margaret likes to keep whole spices on hand and grind them fresh to maximize flavor. Doing so allows you to cut back on salt without sacrificing taste.
- San Marzano Tomatoes: Margaret uses this type of canned tomato, which are imported from Italy, to make sauce because they taste the closest to fresh tomatoes. Homemade sauces have less sodium, fat, and carbs than store-bought sauces.
- Olive Oil: Olive oil, a staple of the widely-recommended Mediterranean diet, is mostly comprised of monounsaturated fatty acids. This oil is a good substitute for fats that are solid at room temperature (e.g., butter). Margaret suggests trying flavored varieties such as lemon or basil.
- Balsamic Vinegar: This vinegar develops a rich flavor by being aged in barrels and is perfect for using in a classic oil and vinegar salad dressing. Margaret recommends fig and black cherry flavors!
- Steel Cut Oats: Steel cut oats are not as processed as instant oatmeal and take a bit more time to prepare, but are worth it! They have a slightly crunchy texture and toasted flavor and pack 8 grams of fiber per half cup! Heat oats on the stove with almond milk and add some fresh fruit, cinnamon, or nuts for a healthy start to your day.
- Matcha Tea: Matcha is a powdered green tea that is packed full of antioxidants (20 times more than pomegranate or blueberries!) It is traditionally whisked into hot water to create a frothy drink, but there are also a lot of baking recipes out there that make use of this ingredient.
- Pink Himalayan Sea Salt: In moderation, salt is perfectly fine to include in your diet. Margaret prefers the Pink Himalayan variety because it contains over 84 minerals and trace minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, and iron. Plus, it’s just plain pretty!