So now you have your pots and pans, knives and wooden spoons, and other assorted gadgets. But what’s in your cupboards? What’s in your refrigerator? What are those basics you should have on hand so that you can put together a healthful meal without having to make extra trips to the grocery store?
I’ve run into situations where I think I’m being pretty clever whipping up an impromptu meal, only to find that I really need something like black beans or brown rice… and I have none. How do some people seem to have just the right ingredients in their pantry or cupboard? When those unexpected guests happen to stop by at dinnertime, no problem! A quick, nutritious, and tasty meal seems to appear out of nowhere.
Well, you too can have the makings of great tasting meals on hand with a little bit of effort. Of course, what and how much you have depends on your own taste — and space. But there are some “core” staples that you should think about always having around:
There are different grades of olive oil. Generally, they’re categorized as extra virgin, virgin, and pure (your basic olive oil). Extra virgin is the most prized type of olive oil and is well suited for dips and dressings. Extra virgin and virgin olive oils contain more antioxidants than regular olive oil. But for cooking, regular olive oil will do the trick. Keep olive oil away from heat and light when storing it. You can refrigerate olive oil to extend its life but it may turn cloudy. Store your oil in dark glass, porcelain, or stainless steel (but not plastic) containers.
As with most items, you get what you pay for. In other words, a cheap balsamic vinegar may seem like a bargain, but it won’t have the rich flavor of a quality vinegar. Also, avoid balsamic vinegars with added ingredients, such as sugar, sulfites, or colorings. Look for the words aceto balsamico tradizionale on the container to be sure you’re getting the real deal. You may end up paying $10 or more per bottle, but a little goes a long way and it will keep pretty much indefinitely as long as you store it in a cool, dark place. Add some balsamic vinegar to soups, stews, and sauces. Whip up a fresh vinaigrette for a salad. And for a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate treat, drizzle some over freshly sliced strawberries.
More next week!
Source URL: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/stocking-your-healthful-kitchen-part-1/
Amy Campbell: Amy Campbell is the author of Staying Healthy with Diabetes: Nutrition and Meal Planning and a frequent contributor to Diabetes Self-Management and Diabetes & You. She has co-authored several books, including the The Joslin Guide to Diabetes and the American Diabetes Association’s 16 Myths of a “Diabetic Diet,” for which she received a Will Solimene Award of Excellence in Medical Communication and a National Health Information Award in 2000. Amy also developed menus for Fit Not Fat at Forty Plus and co-authored Eat Carbs, Lose Weight with fitness expert Denise Austin. Amy earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Simmons College and a master’s degree in nutrition education from Boston University. In addition to being a Registered Dietitian, she is a Certified Diabetes Educator and a member of the American Dietetic Association, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Amy was formerly a Diabetes and Nutrition Educator at Joslin Diabetes Center, where she was responsible for the development, implementation, and evaluation of disease management programs, including clinical guideline and educational material development, and the development, testing, and implementation of disease management applications. She is currently the Director of Clinical Education Content Development and Training at Good Measures. Amy has developed and conducted training sessions for various disease and case management programs and is a frequent presenter at disease management events.
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