I’m glad to hear you all are interested in the Healthy on a Budget series. I plan to throw something together every Tuesday until I run out of ideas, get tired of it, or win the lottery.
Wish me luck…
This week’s topic – Pantry Staples. We all seem to have a few things that are always stocked in our pantry. I’ve had the same half-used jar of Nutella since I made those Nutella-Oreo cheesecake bars in August. (I don’t know how it has survived that long either.) Yet, that’s clearly neither “budget’ nor “healthy.” Better examples include:
1. Beans! In my house, some are canned; some aren’t. Some are organic; some aren’t. It really depends on what I”m making, what’s on sale, and what additives are in the non-organic cans.
Your basic black, kidney, pinto, etc. beans aren’t on the “dirty dozen” list, but they’re often canned with preservatives that don’t sound so appetizing. However, I sometimes pretend I can wash off the preservatives when I rinse & drain them. This pretending generally occurs when beans are on sale…
2. Canned soup. I know canned soup isn’t always the healthiest option due to the sodium content, but a hot bowl of soup can be quite satiating. If you’ve got nothing else at home, and the delivery pizza menu is staring you in the face, be glad you’ve got that soup!
3. Spices. My spice cabinet may not be stocked with the fancy-pantsy stuff, but I use these babies alllllll the time. I have a lot of favorites, but my budget-friendly favorites include chili powder, cumin, curry powder, and cinnamon.
If an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure, you’re saving money in the long run here. Many spices have anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, and anti-grumpy, feel-good properties. Who can be grumpy while eating warm cinnamon raisin bread or piping hot chili? That’s gotta’ be worth something.
4. Grains, grains, and more grains. I keep quinoa and/or millet since they cook faster, brown rice because it’s versatile, and wheat berries & oats because…. uh… because they’re just my favorite, really. I usually buy these from my grocery store’s bulk bins, but sometimes I find great deals (especially on quinoa) on Amazon.
5. Onions/Potatoes/Squash. One bag of yellow onions, white potatoes, or sweet potatoes usually hides somewhere in my pantry. You may also find a squash or two if you’re lucky.
I used to buy onions as-needed, but I go through sooooo many of these! Plus, you can buy an entire bag of potatoes for the same price of two lose ones. Just sayin’. Don’t fear white potatoes; they have a ton of potassium… perhaps to balance out all that sodium in your canned beans n’ soup.
- What are some of your pantry staples?