My top list of ingredients to have on hand for making delicious meals that leave you satisfied, happy, and on the path to LEAN!
You know what gets me really fired up? When I recommend an ingredient or recipe to a client or friend and they come back telling me HOW much they loved it, how it really hit the spot, or how it is CHANGING THEIR LIFE (yes, it’s happened many times!).
Let me be honest here, I freaking love to eat. Food for me is not only part of my “job” but it is a passion of mine as well. I love to experiment in the kitchen and come up with new and delicious recipes to share with all of you. There is a lot of work involved. Many times recipes have to be tweaked time and time again until it is “right”. But that’s just a small contribution I can make to hopefully start changing the lives of some people by helping them to realize that a healthy, real-food diet is delicious, nourishing, and can be fun as well.
This blog series will be broken down into 3 separate posts detailing what I recommend (and personally use) to create delicious whole food meals that are fun and easy to make:
Without further ado, here are MY personal edible kitchen essentials for the pantry that I always have on hand so that I can whip up an awesome meal or snack:
Coconut oil-you can cook ANYTHING in this stuff! It is arguably one of the most beneficial fats you can consume. I use it in MOST of my recipes. It’s wonderful because it has a very high smoke point (unlike olive oil that can easily go rancid when the temperature is raised during cooking).
MCT oil-much like coconut oil, but a liquid at room temperature. If you have never used it, start with a teaspoon and work your way up. MCT is tasteless but is a VERY beneficial oil to add to coffee or salad dressings. You can also simply drizzle on food if you need to increase your fat consumption.
Olive oil- great for salad dressings or LOW temperature cooking.
Coconut Milk-this awesome shelf stable “milk” from the coconut comes in a can. It adds a creamy consistency to any sauce or broth. It can also be used to make ice cream, or to add to coffee or smoothies!
SEASONINGS, FLAVORS, SNACKS, PROTEIN, etc.:
Balsamic or other vinegar- great to add to food or to make salad dressing with. A little goes a long way.
Mrs. Dash- ALL FLAVORS. Great to have on hand to switch up the flavors of your food. It’s great to sprinkle on eggs, meat, salads, etc.
Sea salt- Many people are concerned about eating “too much salt”. If you are eating a diet that consists of unprocessed foods, you are likely getting very little salt naturally in your diet so seasoning with salt isn’t a big deal and can actually be beneficial.
Garlic bulbs-Garlic stays good on your counter for a while and is great to have on hand for stir fry, crock pot meals, etc.
Unsweetened cocoa powder- I use this in a lot of recipes as well and tastes great mixed with coffee and heavy cream.
Stevia- An all natural alternative to chemical filled sweeteners. Different brands differ in flavor a LOT. I prefer the sweet leaf stevia drops or the Stevia in the Raw brand that measures cup-for-cup like sugar. Always start with a very small amount and add more if you desire. If you add too much, it can be very bitter. Make sure you get one that is zero carb.
Canned pumpkin-PURE pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix! Great for smoothies, chili, soups and other baked goods to add moisture.
Coconut flour-A great low carb and high fiber baking alternative. It does NOT measure like sugar (much drier consistency) but I have used it a lot in my recipes and it is a great low carb and gluten free alternative to flour.
Almond flour-Another great alternative to flour that can be used on it’s own or in conjunction with other flour alternatives.
Ground flax seed-Can be used in conjunction with other flours mentioned above.
Chia seeds- I use chia seeds in smoothies and to make dairy free puddings. When water is added to them they thicken and gel (they absorb 12 times their own weight!) so they can also be used in soups or in other recipes to thicken. They are high in fiber and omega 3 and 6.
Pork rinds-You may love me or hate me after reading that. Pork rinds (the UNFLAVORED ones-the others have MSG in them!) are a great on-the-go snack idea or when you want something salty and crunchy. You can take them to a party with some salsa and guacamole and stay away from those genetically modified corn chips! They are a great balance of fat and protein! Usually the only ingredients are pork skins and salt. YUM. I use them to make nachos, and you can also grind them up and use as a coating for meat as well.
Turkey or regular pepperoni-A great shelf stable item that usually doesn’t need to be refrigerated until opened. This is not the ideal health food, but again, a great option to have on hand when you need a quick snack or want to make a low-carb pizza!
Canned tomatoes (diced, sauce, whole, etc.)-Always great to have on hand to throw into recipes (chili, soup, etc.) I like to buy plain as well as ones that have jalapenos, chiles, and seasonings added so I have a variety to choose from.
Green chiles- these are awesome to add a ton of flavor to foods, especially in the crock pot. I love to use them in recipes like my Green Chile Coconut Flour Biscuits.
Nuts and seeds-Macadamias, Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, Pepitas, etc. are another great grab and go snack idea. Crush them up and use them as a coating for meat, add to salads, make your own nut butter or sauces, or simply grab and eat!
Nut butter-I typically like to make my own nut butters that should be stored in the fridge, but I always have some on hand for when things get crazy and I don’t have time to make my own. My favorite is the sunbutter from Trader Joe’s, but I love almond butter as well. Just check the carb amounts on the back. You should aim for 4g Net Carb or under per serving.
Beef, turkey, or pork jerky-If you can find a good brand of grass fed and low sugar jerky, this is another great snack to have on hand. Check the label as most brands have added sugar and while one serving might not be a big deal, it’s very easy to eat the entire bag, or at least multiple servings!
Protein powder- I will cover the details of protein powders for cooking and supplementation in another post, but if you’ve browsed any of my recipes, you’ll see that I use it fairly often.
This list could really go on and on, but these are my top recommendations to get you started! If you are ready to make some dietary changes and aren’t sure where to start, I’d recommend stocking your pantry with an abundance of these sorts of items and getting rid of most -if not all- of the processed “foods”. Items such as granola bars, sugar laden cereals, pastas, chips, cookies, crackers, condensed soups, etc. won’t help you optimize your health nearly as quickly or efficiently as the foods listed above.