Health / Healthy Eating

Starting a Mediterranean Pantry

Excerpted from  The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook, 2nd Edition: A Flavorful, Heart-Healthy Approach to Cooking

A well-stocked pantry saves time, money, and stress when you’re ready to cook. And most importantly, it encourages you to eat healthfully. This essential checklist contains all the ingredients you’ll need to prepare delicious and nutritious Mediterranean-inspired meals.

Items to Stock in Your Pantry
The following items are categorized by where they are found in grocery stores.

Baking
Active dry yeast
Agave nectar
Almond extract
Baking powder
Baking soda
Cocoa powder, unsweetened
Cornmeal
Cornstarch
Flour, all-purpose, unbleached; barley; bread;
chickpea; semolina; spelt; whole-wheat;
whole-wheat pastry
Polenta
Salt, kosher
Sea salt, unrefined
Sugar, natural
Vanilla extract

Beans and Legumes
I prefer using dried beans and legumes, but if you are not used to using them, or might need them to be ready to use in a pinch, I recommend keeping canned varieties on hand as well.

Black beans, canned, reduced-sodium
Cannellini beans, canned, reduced-sodium
Chickpeas, canned, low-sodium
Lentils (brown), canned
or dried, no-salt-added

Herbes de Provence (Dried)
Basil
Lavender
Marjoram
Oregano
Rosemary
Sage
Tarragon
Thyme

Italian Specialty
Anchovy fillets, packed in olive oil
Artichoke hearts, canned
Bread crumbs, plain
Capers, packed in water
Espresso coffee
Ladyfingers
Olives, green, black, Kalamata, Niçoise,
and Gaeta
Roasted red peppers, jar
Tomato paste
Tomato purée
Tomatoes, canned, low-sodium
(diced and fire-roasted)
Tuna, canned, packed in water

Miscellaneous
Dijon mustard
Garlic
Granola, low-fat, almond
Honey

"Starting a Mediterranean Pantry "

Nuts and Dried Fruit
Almonds, blanched
Chestnuts, jar, whole,
roasted or steamed
Dates
Pine nuts
Pistachios, shelled
Raisins
Walnuts

Oils and Vinegars
Corn or vegetable oil, expeller-pressed
Nonstick cooking spray
Olive oil, extra-virgin
Vinegar, apple cider, balsamic, white, distilled

Pasta and Grains
Bulgur wheat
Couscous
Orzo
Quinoa
Rice, arborio, basmati, medium-grain, wild
Whole-wheat pasta, spaghetti, penne rigate

Spices and Seeds
Allspice
Anise seeds
Caraway seeds
Cayenne pepper
Chili powder
Cinnamon and cinnamon sticks
Cloves, whole and ground
Coriander, ground
Crushed red pepper
Cumin
Fennel seeds
Flaxseeds
Ginger, ground
Green cardamom, ground and pods
Juniper berries
Mint
Nutmeg
Paprika
Peppercorns
Saffron
Seafood seasoning
Sesame seeds
Sumac
Turmeric
Za’atar

Stocks
I prefer making homemade stocks and freezing them for future use. However, it’s also good to keep a few boxes on hand in a pinch.

Chicken stock, reduced-sodium
Vegetable stock, reduced-sodium

Items for the Fridge
(Use local and organic if possible)

Carrots
Celery
Cheese, Parmesan, Romano, mozzarella,
feta, and goat
Eggs

Fresh Seasonal Produce
Herbs, fresh
Lemons
Lettuces, assorted
Milk, skim
Onions
Potatoes
Shallots
Sweet potatoes
Yogurt, plain, fat-free

Items for the Freezer
While I prefer fresh food whenever possible, a well-stocked freezer can help when you are short on time. In terms of nutrition, frozen items (without high-fat ingredients or excess sodium) are often a better option than takeout and delivery items, which can sabotage a healthy lifestyle plan.

Chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
Fish fillets
Phyllo dough
Vegetables, frozen

 

About the Author: 
Amy Riolo is the author of The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook, 2nd Edition: A Flavorful, Heart-Healthy Approach to Cooking She is an award-winning, best-selling author, chef, television personality, and educator.

For more information about Amy, please visit www.amyriolo.com.

 

Read this article for recipes and more healthy eating tips The Best Gift for Father’s Day? Help Dad Live a Long, Healthy Life with the Mediterranean Diet

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