We all know that cooking a meal at home is usually healthier (and easier on your wallet!) than getting takeout or heading to a restaurant. But grocery shopping can be stressful, and the feeling of throwing away ingredients you didn’t use up in time is the worst.
To help you out, we’ve come up with a list of 12 kitchen staples that can be turned into quick, easy meals.
1. Eggs or egg whites.
2. A bag of greens, like spinach or kale.
Toss in whatever you have on hand for an easy salad packed with vitamins K and A. And there are so many ways to make kale, you’ll never get bored.
3. Canned tomatoes.
Whip up a simple pasta sauce, impress your brunch guests with a shakshuka, or use as the base for a hearty stew.
A tortilla turns any random selection of ingredients into a meal. If you won’t use a whole package before the expiration date, try freezing them with a piece of parchment paper between each one.
5. A whole grain, like quinoa or brown rice.
Use as the base for a healthy stir-fry, delicious curry or customizable bowl. You can also freeze fully-cooked batches of quinoa and rice, so it’s ready for re-heating whenever you need it to be!
They’re packed with super-healthy fats. Jessica Jones, R.D., a registered dietician who blogs at Food Heaven Made Easy, suggests throwing an avocado into smoothies, spreading it on avocado toast, or adding it to pretty much any dish, ever. Check out her ideas for stuffed avocados four ways.
7. Popcorn kernels.
Using a popcorn maker or just your stovetop and a bit of coconut oil, make the the perfect healthy snack at home. Don’t forget to customize it with your favorite toppings!
8. Shallots or onions.
They’ll make everything taste better. Pickle some onions for an amazing salad topping, roast shallots with root veggies, whip up an easy dressing, or keep some caramelized onions in the freezer to add a flavor burst to any recipe.
9. Black beans.
Black beans are an amazing source of protein and fiber, and if you buy them canned or dried, they’ll last for ages. Use them in bowls, soups and more!
10. Fresh fruit.
Jones suggests keeping some apples on hand for your mid-afternoon snacks. Oranges and grapefruits will also last a while in the fridge, and a fruit salad is the perfect breakfast.
11. Greek yogurt.
Top it with fruit and nuts for an easy on-the-go breakfast or snack. You can also swap in Greek yogurt for sour cream, milk or mayonnaise to make your favorite recipes lighter!
12. Sweet potatoes.
Chop and roast sweet potatoes to add to salads, grain bowls, wraps, tacos and more.