There are two main reasons why most people I meet have struggled with creating and sticking to a healthy eating routine:
- Having time to plan meals
- Having time to cook meals
25 Pantry Essentials for Fast, Healthy Dinners
Okay, so it's 5:45 and you're just getting home. You (and possibly your tribe) are starving. That crock pot/ Instant Pot meal you thought you were going to throw in this morning is still a frozen brick and you have been stressing all day about what to make for dinner.
Even cereal sounds good right about now.
I rely on 25 pantry essentials to get me through those moments. No you can throw together a no planning, no thawing, no prep healthy dinner- in 20 minutes or less.
While I always have these 25 items in my kitchen pantry, the varieties of the ingredients can change. One week my potato-on-hand might be red potatoes; the next week sweet potatoes. My greens might go from spring mix to spinach to iceberg. And for a quick protein source, I always have an assortment of beans available (hint: chickpeas instead of chicken, black beans instead of beef).
(And yes, I do keep my bread and tortillas in the freezer so I can always turn the leftovers into a wrap/ sandwich.)
One Week of No Prep, No Planning Meal Ideas
With this convenient on- hand list, you can combine the ingredients in endless ways to make fast, delicious meals for 5 different meals. If you batch cook a couple of these to stretch for 2 nights, you can get a whole week out of these pretty easily (and maybe even some lunches).
- Southwestern Potatoes = Potatoes (roasted red or sweet) + Corn + Black Beans + Salsa+ Taco Seasoning Packet
- Orange Glazed Stir Fry = Rice (or wheat noodles) + Mixed Veggies+ Onion+ Edamame+ Honey/OJ/Soy Sauce Glaze (try this technique for the orange glaze)
- Garlicky Maple Dijon Veggies = Roasted mixed veggies + Chickpeas + Garlic + Rice + Maple Dijon Mustard Sauce (recipe for Maple Dijon sauce in our free eCookbook, the Guide to Nutritious Noshing)
- Balsamic Glazed Tomato Pasta = Wheat pasta + Chickpeas + Garlic + Diced Tomatoes + Wilted Spinach + Balsamic Vinegar (adaptation of Bruschetta Pasta recipe from our free eCookbook, the Guide to Nutritious Noshing)
- One Pot Hearty Chili Seasoned Tomato Soup = Tomato Soup + Black Beans + Onions + Garlic + Chili Seasoning Packet + Corn
Can you think of any other ways to combine these ingredients? What pantry staples do you always have on hand?