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May 23, 2011

Part Two: Stocking Your Healthy Kitchen

The Hood Answer Mom, Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D.

Spring cleaning your kitchen is more than an activity, it's a state of mind. You feel empowered by taking stock of what you have on hand, and using it up. You get to clean, categorize, and label.  Your kitchen is so together that your urge for take-out is on the wane.

My last blog entry was about how best to spring clean your kitchen.  Once you've purged the refrigerator, freezer, and cabinets of outdated and unhealthy choices, you need to fill them with more nutritious fare to help you get meals and snacks ready in minutes, for yourself, and your family. 

Keep your cupboards crammed with the ingredients you need by posting a running list on a bulletin board or the refrigerator. Write down what you need as you use it up.  You can use the following list of healthy ingredients as a template for what to buy.  Add and delete items to fit your family's needs.

Breads and Grains
• Whole grain bread, such as whole wheat English muffins and rolls, whole wheat naan, whole wheat pita bread and whole wheat tortillas
• Pasta, preferably whole wheat
• Quick-cooking fortified brown rice and fortified white rice
• Whole grain crackers
• Quick-cooking oatmeal
• Whole grain breakfast cereal
• Prepared thin pizza crust
• Frozen whole grain waffles

 Fruits and Vegetables
• Frozen, plain fruits and vegetables, such as corn, peas, and blueberries
• Canned fruit in its own juice, such as pineapple; and applesauce 
• Canned "no salt added" or reduced-sodium tomatoes
• Jarred marinara sauce
• Canned beans, such as garbanzo, or dried beans
• Your family's favorite fresh fruits and vegetables, including apples, bananas, grapes, melon, strawberries, sweet potatoes, potato and tomatoes
• Dried fruit, such as raisins and cranberries
• Salad greens

Dairy Foods
• Plain or flavored Hood Milk  or Simply Smart Milk
Hood Cottage Cheese
• Reduced fat cheeses, including cheddar
• Plain, low fat yogurt

Meat and Other High-Protein Foods
• Light tuna fish and salmon in a pouch
• Tofu
• Peanut butter or sunflower seed butter
• Nuts, such as walnuts, peanuts, and almonds
• Sunflower seeds
• Whole roasting chicken  (keep one on hand in the freezer)
• Large eggs
• Lean ground beef (90% lean or higher)
• Boneless, skinless chicken breast
• Pork tenderloin
• Frozen shrimp
• Garden burgers

• Balsamic or red wine vinegar
• Tub margarine
• Olive and canola oils
• Ketchup
• Reduced-fat mayonnaise
• Mustard
• Reduced sodium soy sauce
• Reduced sodium chicken broth
• Salsa
• Lemon juice

Healthy Staples = Meals and Snacks in Minutes

Now that you have healthy staples on hand, use them in easy to prepare meals and snacks, such as these:

Macaroni and Cheese

• Chicken, shrimp, or tofu and vegetable stir-fry over white or brown rice

Cheese and Bean Enchiladas   

• Roasted chicken, peas, and pasta

• Trail mix: nuts, whole grain cereal, and dried fruit

Fruit smoothies

• Chili, salad, and whole wheat rolls

• French toast, fruit, and milk

• Green salad topped with salmon, whole wheat roll, fruit

• Pizza made from whole wheat naan bread, green salad, fruit

To watch Elizabeth Ward, the Hood Answer Mom, talk more about how to makeover your fridge and pantry, visit


Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D., is a writer, nutrition consultant, and mother of three. She is the author of several books, including MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better and Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, & After Pregnancy . Ward is also a contributing writer for Muscle & Fitness Hers and Men's Fitness magazines.

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