Stocking Your Healthy Cupboard

Sometimes it is called boring eating which is weight loss and maintenance code for always eating the same thing. The guru advice is to maintain consistency which should ultimately form smarter eating habits. In 9 months of resetting my eating habits, I can’t say that I strictly observed the eat boring advice. But, I did seem to establish a pattern of favorite go to foods and ingredients that would stock my cupboard and made grocery shopping easier. My preference is the boring grocery list rather than doing an entire meal plan for the week and defining my list from that which seemed much more daunting.

You may have different go-to items than me, but I’m going to share my list and the things I always make sure are in my pantry. If I keep these items stocked, I can easily build any number of healthy meals in under 30 minutes.

Grocery shopping and Farmer’s Market trips means I spend about $250 per week. That can be a lot for many people, I understand. But, I don’t spend as much time as I could clipping coupons and shopping based on sale items. I also shop for 4 (one a growing teenage boy). In comparison, my oldest son and his girlfriend (they are in their late twenties) also follow a healthy eating lifestyle and spend $60 per week. Their trick is shopping on sale and cooking on weekends things like stews and roasted chicken that let them stretch the food across multiple meals and recipes.

Produce – The amount of produce might look excessive but I’ll chop several vegetables and thrown them together in a stir-fry or grilled side dish. Veggie hash and veggie pancakes are always a hit in my house. Also, spiraling and ricing vegetables makes a regular substitute starches. You can go through a lot of produce in a week with these cooking approaches.

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Bananas
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Grapefruit slices in water
  • Red leaf lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Radish
  • Pickling cucumber
  • Red potatoes
  • Red and yellow onion
  • Baby rainbow baby carrots (or organic carrots from the Farmer’s Market)
  • Zucchini
  • Asparagus
  • Red pepper
  • Green pepper
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Pistachios
  • Pine nuts
  • cashews
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Tomatoes
  • Black beans or cannelloni beans
  • Hummus
  • Rotating produce: Asparagus, green beans, sugar snap peas, broccoli, acorn squash, kale, eggplant, avocado, melon, jicama, apple sauce
  • Rotating herbs: cilantro, mint, oregano, rosemary basil, sage
  • Seasonal Items: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, plums, nectarines,

Protein: The key here is to focus on lean meats. For things like sausages, purchase high quality. Having a freezer case has made huge difference by allowing us to purchase on sale and in bulk to keep the cost down. For $150 you can get a good size freezer to sit in your garage. This way, you don’t buy proteins every week as typically you’ll have stocked up.

  • organic chicken breast boneless
  • organic whole chicken
  • Chicken bacon
  • Shrimp
  • Scallops
  • Salmon
  • Cod or Haddock
  • Tuna fish
  • Hot Italian chicken sausage
  • Chorizo or andouille chicken sausage
  • Gturkey or ground chicken
  • Lean port tenderloin
  • Deli roast turkey breast
  • Splurges and rotating proteins: flank steak, brisket, 95% lean ground beef, lean pastrami, lean ham steak, light keilbasa

Breads and Grains: There are items I buy to keep my family happy, like deli bagels and loaves of bread. I also need to keep Honey Nut Cheerios stocked for my son. Certain snacks the family won’t give up: chips, cookies, wheat thins and Cheez-its. But, they have to get those themselves. I had to tow the line somewhere.

  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • rye berry pumpernickel
  • Multi grain bagel and sandwich thins
  • Multi grain English muffins
  • Quinoa cheese puffs
  • High fiber low calorie/low carb tortillas
  • Triscuits
  • Steal cut oatmeal
  • Shirataki noodles (tofu noodles)

Dairy: There are trends to drink soy milk and nut milks. If you have allergies or are lactose intolerant then I understand buying these milk alternatives. Vegan options for cheese such as nutritional yeast are good dairy substitutes as well. But, allergies, intolerance and veganism is not an issue in our family so I keep to real dairy products and lean toward organic products.

  • Skyr – Icelandic yogurt that is thicker than traditional and Greek yogurt
  • 1% milk
  • Low fat cheese slices (Swiss, Colby jack)
  • Shredded low fat cheese (Italian mix, Mexican mix)
  • Light Babybel cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Eggs
  • Rotating: Tzatiki, low fat sour cream, goat cheese, feta, shredded parmesan, butter (because sometimes you just need a little butter flavor)

Spices and Sauces: You aren’t going to buy these items every week, but this assortment is what gives me a whole host of options for grilling, stir fry, roasting, and international meals.

  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper corns (for pepper grinder)
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Cajun spice mix
  • Old Bay
  • Chicken and beef bouillon cubes (Knorr)
  • Soy sauce
  • Fish sauce
  • Chopped garlic
  • Chili garlic
  • Sriracha
  • Red curry or panang paste
  • Ginger paste
  • Olive oil
  • Cooking spray
  • Sesame Oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Vanilla
  • Cinnamon
  • Ground ginger
  • Ground clove
  • Nutmeg
  • Rotating: champagne vinegar, cumin, turmeric, saffron, gourmet rubs (Carribean, Cuban, etc)


  • Fruit bars (Chloe)
  • Coconut Date balls
  • Quinoa cheese puffs
  • Sahale’s nuts
  • Two Mom’s granola bars
  • Kind bars
  • Spinakopita
  • Veggie fries
  • Brocolli and cheese tots (Green Giant)
  • Coffee
  • Tea

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