Are you always on the go? If you are a working adult or even a college student, then your answer is most likely yes! While we try to balance our busy schedules, the first thing that we tend to cross out of our list is cooking. However, after about a week, not only will your wallet start to really take a hit but your waistline will soon follow. So over the past year, I’ve started to make changes to how I do my grocery shopping to incorporate quick ingredients that will make creating a meal faster. Today, we have to learn to make everything in our lives practical and the kitchen pantry is possibly one of the most important areas we can tailor to our lifestyles. Whether it is breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks, having these ingredients will shorten your time in the kitchen and allow for you to focus on other tasks:
- Eggs – this great source of protein pretty much is a must staple in any refrigerator! Whether boiled or fried, eggs do not take long to make and will help you stay full.
- Pasta – whether it is spaghetti or macaroni, pasta does not take long to cook and is filling. If you are watching your weight, switch to whole wheat pasta or even a quinoa or brown rice pasta.
- Cereal – a cereal that is high in fiber is not only rich in nutrients and filling but is probably the quickest meal you can get.
- Potatoes – cut into cubes, sprinkle some salt and seasonings, place it in the oven for about 20-30 minutes and you have a great accompaniment for your protein for dinner. For a healthier version, use sweet potatoes.
- Milk – a great source of calcium, milk will come in handy for eating cereal or making a quick smoothie. If you have lactose intolerance or prefer an alternative, rice, almond, or soy milk are also great to have in stock and last longer.
- Salad – it will not require you to use the stove and if it is already in a bag, you will simply need a bowl to enjoy. Add in a protein to help make it a more hearty meal.
- Seafood – shrimp and fish are my favorites! Not only are they great sources of protein but neither take a long time to cook or to season. Just be sure to take it out of the freezer in the morning so it may defrost and be ready to cook upon your return home.
- Fruits – they will keep you healthier, are great as snacks and when frozen can be blended into a smoothie. Add some dry oats in the smoothie for more consistency.
- Nut butters – peanut, cashew, or almond, any of these nut butters will not only provide you with a great source of protein (especially if you do not eat meat) but they are also filling and can be used as dipping for some of your fruits or vegetables.
There are tons of other ingredients that you can keep in your kitchen that will help you reduce your time preparing meals but the above are suggestions based on what I keep in my kitchen and I hope they will give you an idea of what to keep in your kitchen to help make planning your meals a little less stressful.