Alice Henneman, MS, RDN, UNL Extension in Lancaster County
- Are you tired of all the planning, hunting and gathering needed to find the ingredients required for many recipes?
- Would you like to go to your cupboard, refrigerator or freezer and already have most—if not all—the ingredients needed to make a meal?
The list below of foods can be combined and recombined in a variety of new, delicious (and nutritious!) ways. They are offered as a starter list to help you begin developing a list that works for you. Or, use the following link to print a PDF copy:
- Add your own favorites.
- Cross out those that don't work for you.
- Make your own personalized list!
These foods are definitely NOT the only foods we should eat. They were picked because they're commonly available and mix and match with a variety of other foods. Think of them as a basic wardrobe to which any number of clothing items can be added.
FRUITS: FRESH, CANNED, FROZEN, DRIED
- Grapes, seedless
- Oranges, mandarin
- Pineapple, canned in juice (pineapple tidbits are a versatile form)
- Berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.
- Raisins, dried cranberries, etc.
VEGETABLES: FRESH, CANNED, FROZEN
- Bell peppers
- Cabbage, shredded (may wish to buy smallest package size if cooking for just a few people)
- Lettuce, darker green varieties (Romaine, green leafy, etc.)
- Onion (sweet onions may be especially versatile if buying only an onion or two weekly; they—re said to be less likely to make you cry and go well in many recipes)
- Potatoes (white and sweet)
- Tomatoes (cherry and grape tomatoes tend to have the best flavor when other tomatoes are out-of-season)
- Corn (no-salt-added forms available)
- Tomatoes, diced (no-salt-added forms available)
BREAD, CEREALS AND OTHER GRAIN PRODUCTS
- Bread, whole wheat (can purchase low sodium forms at some stores)
- Cereal (whole grain)
- Crackers (look for varieties that are whole grain and lower in salt)
- Oatmeal (—Old-fashioned— oatmeal is very versatile -- simply pulse it a few times in a blender if a recipe calls for —quick oats.—)
- Pasta (consider whole grain varieties)
- Rice (include some whole grain rice, such as brown rice)
MEAT, POULTRY, FISH, DRY BEANS, EGGS AND NUTS
- Beans, canned or dry, such as Great Northern, navy, kidney, red, black, pinto beans, etc. (check for "no-salt-added" canned varieties)
- Beef, ground, 90-95% lean
- Chicken breast, skinless
- Eggs, large ("large" is suggested as many recipes are designed for use with this size)
- Fish (frozen fish fillets lend themselves to many quick meals; thaw overnight in the refrigerator in original package on a plate on bottom shelf for easy use the next day)
- Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, etc.
- Peanut butter
- Pork loin chops, boneless
- Salmon (consider including canned and frozen forms of salmon in a basic stock of foods; canned salmon is available in water pack varieties and may be found canned without the skin, if desired.)
- Tuna, canned (water pack and low sodium varieties are available)
- Turkey cutlets
MILK AND MILK PRODUCTS
- Cheese, cheddar and/or other favorite varieties
- Ice cream or frozen yogurt, low fat or fat-free
- Milk, low fat or fat-free
- Yogurt, low fat or fat-free (vanilla-flavored yogurt is especially versatile or add your own sweetener and vanilla to plain yogurt, if desired.)
OILS AND FOODS THAT ARE MAINLY OIL
- Extra virgin olive oil for dressings, dipping and drizzling
- Mayonnaise-type salad dressing (light and low fat forms available)
- Other oil for cooking: canola, corn, cottonseed, safflower, soybean, sunflower
- Soft (tub or squeeze) margarine with no trans fats
- Black pepper (consider freshly ground black pepper)
- Chicken broth, low sodium
- Chili powder
- Garlic, fresh or dry (minced or powdered)
- Italian seasoning (can be used as a quick seasoning for salad dressings, soups, rubs for
- meat, etc.)
- Mustard, Dijon-type (can find no-salt-added forms in some stores)
- Rosemary, dried leafy (crush slightly right before using to release added flavor in recipes; an inexpensive mortar and pestle works well for this)
- Thyme, dried leafy (see note by rosemary on crushing just before using in recipes)
- Vinegar (consider vinegars such as balsamic, red wine, cider, and white wine or rice vinegar -- start with a small bottle and see which you use the most; vinegar easily lasts at least a year)
SUGARS AND SWEETS
Sugar, white granulated