The Top Seven Pantry Staples for Every Kitchen

Have these healthy food items already tucked away in your household — you're set for almost any cooking need that arises

Nothing gives moms, dads, or heads of households more comfort than knowing that they have the “basics” at home when it comes to food preparation for their families.

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These items make terrific sense.

1.) Legumes. I love having an assortment of dried or canned beans to create a quick protein- and fiber-filled dish. Toss them in salads, soups, dips or even bake with them.

They’re loaded with cancer-fighting chemicals, plus they’re good for your heart. They also clean out the digestive track.

2.) Herbs and spices. Cayenne pepper helps to stimulate your metabolism, cinnamon keeps your blood sugar stabilized, turmeric is anti-inflammatory, ginger eases digestion, and sea salt, dried thyme, mint and rosemary offer lots of flavor.

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3.) Nuts and seeds. Nuts are my go-to item for a quick, healthy snack.

I love chopping up Pistachio Chewy Bites and adding them to my salads and quinoa to make a simple dish into a fabulous, tasty one you can serve yourself or even at your next dinner party.

Related: The Top Five Items We Should Have in Our Emergency Pantry

4.) Whole grains. Quinoa, brown rice, millet, and oats take the lead for naturally gluten-free grains that give you protein and fiber — providing quick energy and fiber to keep you full.

5.) Low-sodium organic broth, either chicken or vegetable. Create quick soups, use for light sautéing, or even to cook your whole grains in it. This adds taste without adding calories.

Related: Five Great Foods to Boost Your Immune System This Fall

6.) Heart-healthy oils. My favorites are extra virgin olive oil — to use in dressings or light sautéing — coconut oil for high heat and a hint of flavor, and grapeseed oil for high heat with neutral flavor.

7.) Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate-covered nuts are fantastic for satisfying your sweet tooth without spiking your blood sugar. The nuts help to slow down the absorption of sugar — keeping your blood sugar levels even.

Sara Siskind, a certified nutritional health counselor, is the founder of Hands On Healthy, cooking classes for adults, families and teens based in New York. She’s dedicated her career to educating clients on how food and lifestyle choices affect health.

(photo credit, homepage image: CraigKelley62, Wikimedia)

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