I have received a number of requests and questions about what my grocery list looks like, and what absolute must-haves are in the pantry to help keep things clean, but still worth eating.
For the most part I’m a believer in shopping the perimeter of a store: produce, fruit, meat, eggs, wine. Okay, wine isn’t really on the ‘real food’ list, but it’s an essential for me to continue to be a happy healthy person. It’s my balance.
Even if you don’t have a whole foods or local market near you, you can still eat very healthy by just avoiding the middle of the store. Nothing in a box. Nothing with added ingredients or sugars that would not naturally be there.
On any given day, my pantry will have a full (over) stock of these absolutely critical cooking items:
- Coconut Oil
- Sesame Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Olive Oil (for salads only these days)
- Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning
- Kosher Salt
- Lemon Juice
- Chicken or vegetable Broth
- Coconut flour
- Almond butter (freshly ground. I don’t like jars)
(Check out this oil 101 breakdown from Whole Foods if you have any questions about the huge selection of oils and what they are good for )
The fridge is always chock full of produce, sometimes varying by what looked good that particular trip to the market, but there are a number of staples that can always be found in a drawer, on a shelf, or sitting at the ready on the counter:
- yellow squash
- onions! Lots of onions! Purple, yellow + white.
- apples (granny smith)
- Spaghetti squash
- romaine + arugula or spinach
- bananas (peeled, frozen + vitamix ready!)
- Natural almonds (unfrosted, unsalted)
- Slivered or sliced almonds
While I typically advocate fresh produce, it’s not a bad idea to grab a few bags of frozen fruit and veggies so you’ve got a back up plan if you ever find yourself in a pinch. I highly recommend any 365 brand from whole foods and any of the Trader Joe’s frozen goods (their assorted berries are excellent!).
In addition to my fruits and veggies, I am constantly buying meat (steak + chicken) and eggs to have for every day meals.
The challenge in clean eating isn’t enjoying food or being able to create amazing meals, it’s in being prepared, stocked, and prepped to go when it’s meal time. Sometimes that means having veggies chopped and ready to be cooked, other times it means making a surplus of food when making a meal so it can easily be packaged into to-go meals for easy eating when you’re on the go, or at work.
When I buy meat I think about creating surplus with minimal grilling. Flank, flat iron, and skirt steaks are all amazing and great choices for making leftover meals, and are incredibly easy to grill.
Last night in an effort to keep things simple, and make up for the fact that I hadn’t replenished the produce in the fridge (yet), dinner was flank steak, steamed broccoli (seasoned with that amazing everyday seasoning) and a salad.
To tie in the list above, we’ll call this a the standard salad since it’s got most of the staple fridge items in it: chopped romaine, arugula, tomato, cucumber, avocado and slivered almonds. Dressing was a simple balsamic and light olive oil.
I loved the meal, and have tons of leftover salad, two days worth of flank steak, and even some broccoli leftover that helped out today in those late-lunch hungry moments. I don’t expect it to survive past tomorrow, but three days of meals makes the higher priced produce and meat costs far more economical.
While these lists shared my most staple items, I’m always looking to branch out with new produce, recipes and clean eats. Let me know what your staple and favorite must-have’s are and we’ll share them on the blog!