What are FIVE of your absolute must staples when you go grocery shopping?
I recently saw this teaser question at the end of a blog I read regularly. It got me to thinking. People ARE always asking me what kind of foods do I eat? What are the foods I eat the most? What are the best foods to eat for whatever purpose? Etc etc. I figured it would be a good idea to address these questions. I’d like to point out that I am in no way a nutritionist or dietician and most of what I do is just what works for me. I would also like to note that I do count calories so some things I eat factor into that. I like to do volumetrics with super low calorie things (most veggies fit in this category) to fill me up without breaking the calorie bank. So, here we go.
Five absolute stapes I always buy when grocery shopping.
1. unsweetened plain almond milk. I use this for my breakfast cereals, any shakes I might make (this is very rare as I don’t believe in meal replacement…but using shakes as supplements I’m totally okay with), and for recipes in place of regular milk.
2. onions. I use an amazing amount of onions in all the cooking I do. Almost every single Indian dish I’ve made requires at least one onion to be either cut into slices or chopped up.
3. shirataki noodles. These are great for when you want pasta but not the 200+ calories for little tiny 2 oz serving. Each package of the noodles is 7 oz and like a whopping 15 calories. I use them in basically every dish I make that requires pasta so I can cut the calories and enjoy the sauce (which we all know is the best part of eating a pasta dish) more fully.
4. sweet potatoes. These are great. You can use them for snacks by peeling and cutting into wedges, coating with olive oil, sea salt, pepper and cumin and baking them. You can use them as a side dish by just baking them and adding just butter. Or you can make them a dessert by adding a little sweetener and cinnamon. You can use them in tandem with some steamed cauliflower all mashed together to replace mashed potatoes and/or top a shepherd’s pie with. You can use them to fill baked potato skins for a great party snack.
5. no salt added canned tomato products. Seriously. Like onions, I seem to use some canned tomato item in almost everything I cook, whether it be paste, diced, or sauce/puree. This would also include marinara sauce. I ALWAYS get the no salt added ones. If the store I’m at doesn’t offer no salt added canned items, I simply go to another store until I do find them, but most stores have them. The no salt added marinara sauce is a little harder to find, however. My regular grocery store doesn’t carry it. I had to go to Sprouts to get it from their house brand items. So, I’m sure you can find it at Trader Joe’s and/or Whole Foods just fine.
Other miscellaneous food items that are really handy to try and keep in stock at home. Low sodium broths (beef, chicken, vegetable). Low sodium canned beans (all varieties! Kidney, black, pinto, garbanzo, etc). Quinoa (while it won’t save you on calories, it is a great and tasty alternative to plain rice…just sub it into a dish where you would normally use rice). Lentils. Cantaloupe (super low calorie – 120 calories for 2 cups cubed & great to satisfy that sweet tooth). Ghee and coconut oil (while obviously not low cal or low fat, these are better for you than using highly processed things like margarine). Frozen veggies. Extra lean ground turkey (I buy in bulk and then weigh out into 1 lb portions and then freeze each pound individually). All sizes of freezer baggies. When I cook in bulk, I like to portion it out into separate freezer baggies, then I put all the portions into a gallon freezer bag and write on the big bag what dish it is. And the food is doubled up in freezer bags, so that helps protect it from freezer burn better.
There are probably more things that I like to keep handy in my kitchen but these are the main ones and the reasons behind them for why I personally keep them in stock at all times.