Low-cost healthy essentials to stock in your kitchen

After a busy few weeks of multi-course family cooking during the holidays, it’s time to replenish your cupboards with some healthy kitchen staples that won’t break the bank. To help, we’ve compiled a list of healthy and versatile essentials to help build your meals.

Dried whole wheat pasta

Packed with more nutrients than its white-flour counterpart, whole-wheat pasta is a solid pantry item with a strong shelf-life and tons of potential. Toss it with some olive oil and garlic, or add in steamed vegetables, and you have a main course or hearty side dish.

Canned vegetables

Whether you need corn for chowder, or canned tomatoes for a marinara sauce, canned vegetables are a great item to stock up on post-holiday. The sodium content in canned goods tends to be high, so look for “low sodium” or “no salt added” labels, and always double check the nutrition label. Canned beans, like chickpeas, make a great after-school snack when toasted and tossed with sea salt and paprika.

Frozen fruit & vegetables

Don’t let the “frozen” part fool you — flash-frozen fruits and vegetables pack in tons of vitamins and nutrients because they’re frozen at the peak of their ripeness. Frozen fruits and vegetables provide a great alternative in colder climates when some fresh produce is simply unavailable.

Canned chicken or vegetable stock

Soups and stews increase in popularity during the winter, so it’s always nice to have canned stock and broth in the pantry. Just like other canned goods, it’s important to make sure you’re opting for lower-sodium varieties. Adding some grains — pasta and barley are great options — vegetables, and meat can easily turn your stock into a satisfying, savory soup.

Cereal

Cereal isn’t just for breakfast. Cold cereals make great snacks, and many are now available in multi-grain varieties. In addition, hot cereal like oatmeal has become a popular base for healthy desserts including apple, pecan and brown butter steal cut oats.

For more healthy tips for the New Year, visit AHealthierMichigan.org. Healthy Blue Xtras members are eligible for savings at grocers and other retailers throughout the state. For the full list, visit: bcbsm.com/xtras.

Photo credit: epSos.de

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