Basic Foods for Cupboard, Fridge and Freezer: Create Your Own List!

•    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 following list 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:


•    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.  


Lower fat and sodium forms of foods are mentioned in this list for use as desired.


FRUITS: FRESH, CANNED, FROZEN, DRIED


Fresh
•     Apples
•     Bananas
•    Grapes, seedless
•    Oranges


Canned
•    Oranges, mandarin
•    Pineapple, canned in juice (pineapple tidbits are a versatile form)

 

Frozen

•    Berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.
Dried

•    Raisins, dried cranberries, etc.


Other
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VEGETABLES: FRESH, CANNED, FROZEN


Fresh
•     Bell peppers
•    Carrots
•    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)


Canned
•    Corn  (no-salt-added forms available)
•    Tomatoes, diced  (no-salt-added forms available)


Frozen
•    Corn
•    Peas


Other
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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)


Other
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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


Other
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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.)


Other
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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


Other
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SEASONINGS


•    Black pepper (consider freshly ground black pepper)
•    Chicken broth, low sodium
•    Chili powder
•    Cinnamon
•    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)
•    Vanilla
•    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)


Other
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SUGARS AND SWEETS


•    Sugar, white granulated
•    Sugar, brown


Other
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Source: Alice Henneman, MS, RD, UNL Extension in Lancaster County