While trying new restaurants is one of my absolute favorite things to do, it would be very hard to stick to a healthy lifestyle if I were to dine out for every meal. Even when choosing health-conscious restaurants, you never quite know what is in or added to your food. Preparing your own meals at home is one of the best ways to stick to a healthy diet, achieve any health goals you may have, reduce your risk for chronic diseases, and to save some money doing so, too!
Having a pantry stocked with nutritious staples will make it easier and more fun to prepare your meals at home. Items like assorted spices, nuts, seeds, whole grains, oils, and even frozen fruits and vegetables, allow you to experiment in your kitchen and to prepare healthy meals even when you haven’t made it to the grocery store in a while.
And what about those days when you’re short on time or just too tired? Having a stocked pantry and fridge makes it so easy to whip up something healthy in just 5 minutes. You can cut up some veggies and scramble them with eggs, smash an avocado on a piece of toast and sprinkle with hemp seeds, or make a bowl of greek yogurt and top it with berries and some peanut butter. These meals may not sound the most exciting, but they are quick, nutritious, and filling, all while keeping you on track with your healthy diet in your fast-paced lifestyle.
It takes a while to build up a pantry, and it can feel like you’re spending a lot of money at first, but remember that often you’re buying these foods in bulk (which means cost per unit is much cheaper!), you will use them all the time, and they will last you for months. If you’re on a tight budget, I’d recommend buying a couple of these staple items a month, and your pantry will build up over time. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be overly expensive, and you don’t need to fill your kitchen with pricey “superfoods.” If you shop smart, you’d be surprised at how much money you can save; eating out all the time can really add up, and in the end, it’s an investment you’re making in your own health.
To get you started, or to give you more ideas, I’ve put together some lists of my kitchen essentials: items that I have in my pantry/fridge at all times, and my most frequently used kitchen equipment – both of which I hope will help you prepare healthy meals at home and stick to your lifestyle goals! Check them out below.