Every proper toolbox has its essentials. The ones that aren’t the flashiest, but you can fix most anything with—your screwdrivers, hammer, vice grips, duct tape, WD-40, etc.
Your home pantry is no different.
While it’d be great if you had a nutritionist and chef to perfectly prepare each meal to fit your personal fitness goals … *cough* MegaFit Meals *cough* … it’s still important to have those essentials on hand, so you’re prepared for anything. To be prepared is half the victory.
In no particular order, here are some of those essentials to ensure your food toolbox is ready:
Brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, and grains
There are few healthier carbohydrates, and this group seemingly lasts forever in a pantry. Like your favorite pair of pliers, there may be no more important healthy staple than this, especially the brown rice, as it goes with almost any protein and starch. But, of course, rice is not the top choice for breakfast. That’s where oatmeal picks up the slack. To help healthily add flavor, use low-fat milk or add some berries if you have them.
Nuts, seeds, and their butters
Healthy fats, protein, fiber, plenty of vitamins and minerals – yep, these have them all. The nuts and seeds can last for months in a pantry at room temperature. Even their butters are long-lasting, healthy alternatives to their commercial counterparts, typically containing added oils and sugar. Perfect for a snack on the go or to add to various dishes.
Frozen fruit and vegetables
It’s hard to beat fresh fruits and vegetables, but unfortunately, they don’t stay fresh forever. Frozen ones do, though. So having some in the freezer is perfect if you run out of fresh stuff. The best part is there is absolutely no nutritional sacrifice to frozen fruits and veggies; they are equally as beneficial!
Whether it’s the flavored variety for post-workout or meal replacement or the unflavored kind to supplement a regular meal, these powders are non-negotiables for your pantry. And don’t sleep on the unflavored ones, as they can be added to sauces, soups, and any smoothie.
Frozen fish, poultry, and meat
Keeping fresh lean protein on hand can be difficult, especially on the go. However, frozen versions of these products can last several months without preservatives, as long as they are frozen. Keeping your freezer stocked with lean protein options makes it easy to create a healthy meal at home.
Sean Ostruszka is an active creator. A national-award winning writer for numerous industries, Ostruszka also delves into photography, design, product development and more, while being an avid family man, outdoorsman and fitness enthusiast.