Most of us have food staples that we keep in our kitchens for various reasons. Some of these foods might be condiments like butter or oil that make their way into most dinner recipes, while others might be potato chips, pretzels or chocolate—snacks that get eaten and replaced in a seemingly endless cycle.
“Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.”
One thing many kitchen-staples have in common, however, is that they probably aren’t the healthiest foods that could be filling up the refrigerator. While it’s okay to indulge in comfort foods every so often, keeping your kitchen stocked with healthy foods reduces your risks of overeating fattening foods and consuming unnecessary calories. The next time you go grocery shopping, look for these healthy foods that are perfect for making quick and easy dinners:
- Whole Grain Pasta
Buying whole grain, multigrain or vegetable pasta rather than regular pasta is one of the healthiest grocery shopping choices you can make. It’s unreasonable to expect most people to completely eliminate carbs from their diets, so choosing healthy carbs is a great alternative. Pasta is also one of the easiest meals to throw together—add in some lean protein and vegetables and you’ve got yourself a hearty, healthy dinner.
- Canned Fruits and Vegetables
Have you ever bought tons of fresh fruit and vegetables at the grocery store, only to open your fridge a few days later and find them rotted? If you are one of the many people whose eyes are bigger than their stomachs when it comes to buying food, consider buying canned fruits and veggies. Not only are they non-perishable so you won’t waste food, but they are wonderful add-ins to everything from casseroles to egg scrambles.
Eggs are good to keep in your refrigerator because of their versatility. You can eat them plain, cook up the egg whites for a healthy breakfast, and add them to sandwiches, salads, casseroles or baked goods. Egg whites and egg substitute are definitely the healthier options, but both egg whites and shell eggs are high in protein and easy to incorporate into quick dinners.
- Greek Yogurt
Greek Yogurt is another extremely versatile ingredient that is also extremely healthy. You can eat it by itself or use it as a low-fat substitute in recipes that call for sour cream or heavy cream; it’s one of those ingredients that adapts itself just as well to savory dishes as sweet ones. Add in some blueberries or strawberries for a nutritious snack that is rich in fiber and will hold you over until your next meal.
Instead of filling your cupboards with potato chips or candy bars, opt for a can of unsalted nuts. Nuts are one of those ideal snacks that are high in antioxidants, protein and fiber and that, as long as they are eaten in moderation, aren’t too fattening. Walnuts are especially healthy for you, since they contain high levels of valuable omega-3 fatty acids. You can also add them to salads and stir-fry dishes for an extra dose of protein.
This recipe for Artichoke Turkey Pizza is an excellent example of just how easy it is to make healthy, filling dinners from ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard. Don’t let the “pizza” part fool you—the lean turkey, tomatoes, artichokes and olives make this recipe one that you can feel great about serving yourself or your family. Plus, it tastes so good you won’t even realize how healthy you’re eating.
Artichoke Turkey Pizza
Prep Time: 10 min – Total Time – 20 min – Serves: 4
- 1 12-inch prebaked thin pizza crust
- 1 ½ cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (1 ½ cup = 6 oz)
- 1 14.5 oz can Hunt’s® Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano, drained
- 1 cup chopped cooked turkey
- 1 2.25 oz can sliced ripe olives, drained
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 450°F. Place crust on an ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Top with tomatoes, turkey, artichokes, olives and parmesan cheese.
Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Meredith Kimelblatt writes on behalf of Hunt’s. For more tomato recipes and other easy dinner ideas, visit www.Hunts.com.