By Angela Onsgards, R.D.
One of my favorite things to do is cook! I see cooking as a form of meditation. I know this isn’t the case for everyone, but with a little guidance and a well-stocked pantry, cooking can become a much more enjoyable experience.
I always have a number of staples on hand to ensure that I will have enough to make a healthy meal in the event that I can’t make it to my local co-op or farmers market.
- Canned goods such as beans, tomatoes, and a variety of canned fish like herring, sardine, and wild Alaskan salmon are always well stocked in my pantry.
- Dried goods such as high fiber intact grain pasta, steel cut oats, high-fiber crackers (Ok-mok and Wasa are good choices), quinoa, and wild rice are also readily available.
- Keeping my herb and spice jars full and having fresh onions and garlic on hand help me to doctor up any meal. I add a bit of turmeric to just about everything for an anti-inflammatory boost. I also crush my garlic as opposed to chopping it in order to increase the anti-inflammatory properties and the garlic flavor.
- Having a variety of teas on hand is a great way to avoid drinking calorie dense liquids and increase the flavor and antioxidant benefits of water. Right now I have matcha, Sencha green tea, yerba mate for an occasional caffeine boost, and mint, hibiscus, and chamomile for naturally caffeine free varieties.
- All natural peanut butter, almond butter, and tahini are excellent for adding a bit of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat to any meal or snack.
Keeping your pantry clean, organized, and well stocked will make it easier to see what’s available to plan meals. Once a month take inventory of what is remaining and look for recipes to utilize what is available.
While cooking it helps to have everything within reach and ready to use. Wash and prep veggies, measure herbs and spices, and have your recipe close at hand. With your favorite music or an interesting podcast playing and cup of tea or glass of wine within reach you will have a relaxing and meditative experience and may even learn to love cooking!