Whether you live alone, have roommates, are married or have a family, having a fully-stocked fridge and pantry is essential. It is a good idea to also have some staple items in your kitchen so you can whip up meals on the fly, hosts some guests in a pinch, or sneak a quick snack before bed that won’t break the bank. Here are 15 foods you should always have in your house.
15. Olive Oil
You need olive oil for a lot of things you will ever cook, especially those foods you cook or in a pan on in the stove. You can also drizzle it on your salads or your favorite pasta dishes. Olive oil also has a many positive health benefits, like reducing your risk of diabetes and fighting osteoporosis.
14. Greek Yogurt
13. Canned Olives
Canned green or black olives are delish and they can live in your pantry forever. Well, not literally forever, but you know what I mean. They can be thrown into many pasta dishes, added to your salads, and they have monounsaturated fats that help lower bad cholesterol.
Black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas—so many beans! Not only are beans inexpensive, they are also a great source of protein and fiber. Cook some beans with rice or quinoa, add some veggies, or make a chili and you will have a filling and delicious dinner that is high in protein and super cheap to make.
Cook a big bowl of quinoa on Sunday and you can eat it all weeklong. Add some beans like I mentioned above or you can throw it in a pan with a few raw eggs and vegetables and scramble for a quinoa “fried rice.” Quinoa is high in protein and fiber and low in calories.
Another staple to always have is a carton of eggs in your fridge. Eggs are high in protein and have only around 70 calories per egg. You can hard boil a bunch and eat them throughout the week as a snack, scramble them up for breakfast, or add a fried egg to any rice bowl or stir-fry for some extra protein.
8. Sea salt
It’s always a good idea to have some sea salt to sprinkle on top of your meal for a extra pop of flavor. Just watch your salt intake. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends that adults consume no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium daily. Any more than that can lead to high blood pressure and other complications.
Everyone has a bit of a sweet tooth, and keeping some chocolate in the house is a good way to indulge (and keep your sanity). Keep some dark chocolate in your freezer and treat yourself when you deserve it the most, like when your boss is being a jerk, when your mom is stressing you out, or when those dreaded PMS symptoms creep up.
When in doubt, add garlic. Add it to your eggs, your rice bowls, soups, stews, marinades, etc. You can’t go wrong with adding garlic. Unless you’re going on a date afterwards and have to keep that breath fresh. In that case, keep a pack of gum on you (or two).
I like to keep a couple of different varieties of mustard in my fridge. Yellow mustard, dijon mustard, and grain mustard are all delicious and can be used in multiple ways. I like to use Dijon mustard mixed with oil, vinegar, and some spices as a salad dressing.
Broth is great because you can keep a carton in your pantry for a long time until you are ready to use it. Go for a low-sodium variety and avoid using broths that add sugar. Broth also makes a great substitute for oil when sautéing vegetables.
1. Ground Chicken and Turkey
Lean ground turkey or chicken has less saturated fat than ground beef. Throw some in your freezer and thaw it out when you are ready to eat it. It cooks quickly and can be used in stir-fry, meat sauces, tacos, stuffed peppers, or rice, and quinoa bowls.
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