Guest Post: Healthy Kitchen Staples

It’s no secret that we like to eat, and we are in a committed relationship with good food. We love to celebrate healthy eats, good nutrition, and fitness. March is National Nutrition Month, and we’ll be sharing a few guest posts from some of our RD friends covering these topics we love, and more. Today, RD Carlene Thomas has put together an easy list of everyday kitchen staples that’ll keep you happily munching away on good-for-you, energy boosting food. Read on and stock up!

Cooking is my zen time. On any given evening you’ll likely find me in the kitchen prepping healthy meals for later or whipping up a fast fix for entertaining. And I like it. I have clients who tell me they don’t cook. That they hate to cook. Or that they literally don’t know how to cook.  But eating healthy meals at home is one of the greatest things you can do for your body, and it starts with what you have in your kitchen.

I love to eat and as Julia Child once remarked, “People who love to eat are always the best people.” Despite my love of food, one of the main reasons I stay healthy is because of the time I invest in making balanced meals at home. Making the kitchen your sanctuary for health starts with what you keep stocked in the pantry, freezer, fridge and produce area.

So what to keep in the house? I pulled together a list of the healthiest, most versatile ingredients for the kitchen. Feel free to pin the list or print it out for reference. This simple list will keep you prepared for impromptu appetizers with friends and sophisticated yet easy, fresh meals.

Here are some reasons I love a few of these list makers:

Dried Fruit: It’s the perfect snack on the go but also the perfect Chobani and salad topper. Throw it on a cheese plate for quick entertaining with wine.

Beans: From breakfast omelets to veggie burgers, beans are full of fiber and protein and a nutrition bargain.

Spinach: Antioxidant packed and highly versatile, I definitely opt for spinach over lettuce. Spinach can be sautéed or added to smoothies.

Carrots: Texture is a big part of keeping healthy cooking interesting. Carrots have tons of natural sweetness whether you grate, slice, dice or crunch whole.

Nuts: Heart healthy and energy packed, nuts allow you to make everything from almond milk and cashew mayo to trail mix.

Citrus: Use lemon to really brighten up a dish or sauce or squeeze lime in water for a flavorful smart drink.

Herbs: Just like with citrus, fresh herbs elevate a dish without adding fat or salt. The aroma makes it a fantastic eating experience and memory.

Chobani: No explanation needed.

Aged cheese: A little goes a long way with strong aged cheeses.

Having these big impact items in your healthy kitchen is the first step. The second is an open mind. Throw away the thoughts that you ‘can’t cook’. Experiment, taste and share with the ones you love. Forget the recipes. They’re guidelines. Personalize it.  A healthy life starts in the kitchen so let’s get cooking!

Check out Carlene’s blog for more recipes, nutrition tips and healthy living ideas!

Carlene Thomas R.D., L.D. is a registered dietitian in Virginia. She helps brides achieve wedding wellness through her company Healthfully Ever After. Carlene also works with a variety of companies and schools to find delicious and lasting ways to keep people healthy. She is also the current PR and Media chair for the Virginia Dietetic Association.

Our finance folks advise us not to be so generous, but we can’t help ourselves! Contributors here may (read: definitely) have received some of our delicious yogurt.