Chances are, you know that you need to eat wholesome food to feel better; you saved about a thousand recipes in Pinterest for creating healthy meals; you understand how to boil water and turn on the oven—yet getting into the routine of eating well is just driving you crazy. One way or the other, life has the audacity to get in the way of your idyllic plans of culinary creativity and masterful meals.
Are you constantly asking yourself the dreaded 6 o´clock question, “…what the heck should I make for dinner tonight?” Then, this post is for you.
First of all, let yourself off the hook. You´re burned out after a long day of work, school or play. You´re overwhelmed by the abundant options for tonight´s dinner, but just want to get something simple and wholesome to the table. That´s fine! Not every meal has to exemplify the perfect plate direct from your your backyard garden.
Let´s face it; in an ideal world our meals would be planned and harmoniously synced with the seasonal calendar, be organic and sustainable, delivered right to our doorstep by a steam-powered tractor and be lovingly prepared by a darling old-world grandmother with the culinary savior faire to cook an iron chef under the table. However, this is the real world and we just want real food as simply and efficiently as possible for ourselves, our families and our peace of mind. So, why not do the absolute best that we can with the time, tools and resources we have available?
Set yourself up for success so that healthy eating becomes a habit as a result of great planing rather than a sporadic moment of perfection, as a result of a great day.
In simple terms, eat in the gray area—nothing extreme, nothing perfect—yet everything achievable, flexible and downright delicious.
Before my life here in Barcelona as a pseudo-Mediterranean, I was one of those New Yorkers (as portrayed in movies) too busy and too tired to turn real food into real meals. That and I used my oven for storage—don´t judge unless you´ve been inside a real Manhattan kitchen. Yet, in the 6 years since, I have been refining my transition from prepared food to preparing food. There is one simple trick that I use time and time, again, yet it´s so easy that most people don´t take the time to do it. Stock your kitchen and pantry.
Stocking a wholesome pantry is the act of planning for health.
Stock your kitchen and pantry to work for you rather than against you in your quest for health, happiness—and an extra 15 minutes of saved time for yourself at the end of the day.
This is not flashy, trendy or alluring like those glamorous recipes on Pinterest or fad diets in the media, but this is essential in preventing delivery-dialing at times of stress, fatigue or last-minute change of plans. There will always be times when you aim for and even plan a nice wholesome meal, yet you´re too exhausted and, quite frankly, uninterested in preparing a lengthy recipe. A stocked pantry offers you less stress and more reward.
By keeping your kitchen and pantry stocked with delicious food and ingredients, you don´t have to overthink every meal, which saves a whole lot of time, energy and effort for other things in life.
This is the list of foods I keep in my tiny kitchen and pantry in Barcelona. Your stock does not have to match mine, but this list can get you started and you fine tune it as you go. When you grocery shop, just add a couple of items at a time.
You´ll love your new pantry once it becomes a one-stop-shop for saving time and boosting your energy... or superpowers.
There are two secrets for success to remember:
You don´t need all of these foods available at all times. Pick and choose the ones you like and be creative!
Basically, stock up on the basics: Frozen fruits and veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, yogurt, cheese, olive oil, vinegar, flavorings, herbs and spices.
To download the Rooted & Rustic Power Pantry checklist click the button below.
Tip: Hang this list on your kitchen cabinet or pantry door and use it when you meal plan or dive into the kitchen for a last-minute meal. Have what you need at your finger tips and stop overthinking the rest!
Share your kitchen and pantry secrets in the comments! Did I miss anything that you just can´t live without? Let me know!