Thursday, November 8, 2007

Healthy Pantry and Refrigerator


I'm currently working on having a healthy or mostly healthy pantry and refrigerator. My thinking is that this will make life easier for me. Since we began trying to buy our food locally (which hasn't always worked out - old habits die hard) I have experienced the necessity of being better stocked . I've searched high and low for lists of and have compiled one that seems doable. I'm trying to stick to whole grain foods, absolutely no high fructose corn syrup (thank you Dr. Oz) no hydrogenated fats (illegal in Canada and Europe, but the best we've managed here is a labeling law), and avoiding processed foods. We are eating more seasonally and we are also trying to buy organic whenever possible. Which seems to be becoming much easier these days almost anywhere you go.
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Here is the list I came up with:
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Oils:
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Olive oil is low in saturated fats and high in monounsaturated fat. It's ideal for salad dressings and marinades and can be used for low- to medium-heat cooking. Canola oil contains more monounsaturated fat than any other oil except olive. It is best for stir-frying because the flavor is bland and it can withstand high heat. Vegetable oil cooking spray can be used in place of oil or other fat for baking, frying, or browning. It prevents food from sticking and works best when used with a nonstick pan.
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Vinegars:
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Balsamic vinegar is aged until it becomes dark and mellow, with a sweet-sour flavor. It is so intense in flavor that you need very little oil for salad dressings.
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Rice:
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Basmati Rice is a long-grained rice with a nutty flavor and fragrance. Brown rice is the whole grain, with only the outer tough husk removed, and so takes longer to cook than white rice. It is rich in B vitamins, as well as calcium and iron. Wild rice is actually a grass that is often cooked with brown rice to add a nutty taste and more texture.
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Canned Goods & Bottle Items:
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Canned Tomatoes, Tomato Paste is made of concentrated tomatoes, and only a small amount is needed to give a rich tomato flavor. It's conveniently packaged in cans or tubes. If you use it occasionally, it helps to buy it in tubes so that you can use a tablespoon at a time with no waste. Reduced-Sodium Broths, Canned Beans, Lentils, Tuna, and Salmon.
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Grains :
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Barley adds interesting flavor and texture to soups and stews, as well as soluble fiber. Whole-Wheat Flour contains the bran and the germ and so is high in fiber. It is also rich in B vitamins and E. Rolled Oats, Steel Cut Oats or "Old-Fashioned" Oats, are steamed or flattened oats. They are high in soluble and insoluble fiber and are rich in vitamins and minerals. Granola and Whole Grain Cereals, Crackers and Pasta.
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Nuts, Seeds and Dried Fruit:
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Almonds are high in calcium, minerals, and dietary fiber. Cashews are a good source of iron and folic acid. Hazelnuts are rich in minerals and folic acid. Pecans are high in fat and low in protein compared to other nuts and so should be eaten sparingly. Walnuts are a fairly good source of iron and vitamin B6. Sunflower Seeds are rich in iron and low in saturated fat. They are good for snacks or in salads, cooked recipes, and breads. Pumpkin Seeds are dark green seeds they are a good source of iron and fairly low in fat. Apricots, when dried, add flavor to sweet or savory dishes. They are rich in fiber, beta carotene, iron, niacin, and minerals. Prunes are high in fiber, half of which is cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber. They are also rich in beta carotene, B vitamins, and minerals. Sun-dried Tomatoes are intensely flavored and can be added to sauces, salads, or soups. Available dried or in oil. Dried Cranberries, Raisins and Figs, Etc.
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Misc. :
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Peanut Butter, Couscous, Dried Mushrooms, Herbs/Spices
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Refrigerator Basics:
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Milk, Sour Cream, Butter, Fruit Juice, Eggs, Sharp Cheddar, Feta, Parmesan Cheese is a robust-flavored cheese ideal for cutting down on fat because it is made with skim or part-skim milk. Mozzarella, Yogurt it is rich in calcium, protein, and vitamin B12.
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Meat and Fish
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Freezer Basics:
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Organic Frozen Meals (Amy's, Etc.), Frozen Fruit, Frozen Vegetables, All Natural Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt and/or Sorbet, Frozen Cheese Ravioli or Tortellini.
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Snacks:
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Applesauce, Dark Chocolate, Fruit Leather, Popcorn, Pretzels, Tortilla Chips, Health Bars (Odwalla, etc.), Granola.
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Seasonal and Other Fresh Foods and Herbs

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