Sneak Peek Inside an RD’s Pantry

Sneak Peek into an RD's pantry

There is a lot of mystique surrounding the dietitians pantry. Some assume that it’s only filled with neatly labeled jars of organic quinoa, heirloom beans, and chia seeds. Others suspect more of a Monica’s closet approach, envisioning a secret stash of Oreos and cheese puffs. Well, today I’m putting the questions to rest. Because above is a sneak peek inside my own pantry. (And no, it’s not staged!)

This isn’t where I keep all of my food (the refrigerator, freezer, and spice cabinet are also well stocked), but it should give you an idea of where I stand. Aside from a healthy variety of dried fruit, nuts, beans, and whole grains, one pantry aspect that I’m particularly proud of (and recommend to others) is the lack of processed snack foods. In fact, about the only thing that falls in that category is a box of whole wheat crackers (top right) that I once bought for a dinner party but never ended up opening.

Snack foods tend to disappear quickly because they often trigger mindless eating. In fact, despite the clean nutrition label, I purposely don’t buy KIND bars unless I have a hike, flight, road trip, or ski trip planned. They’re too good not to eat immediately, whether I’m hungry or not. When you keep good food in the house, you tend to eat good food. This means that my go-to dessert ends up being a bowl of oatmeal mixed with bananas and a generous heap of cocoa powder — and that’s only if I’m truly hungry enough to cook it up myself.

While contemplating the components of a healthy pantry (and by extension, a healthy refrigerator), I realized that a major plus for me is that I don’t keep ketchup in the house. Ketchup itself is no dietary villain (Reagan counted it as a vegetable, after all), but hear me out…

Ketchup pretty much only goes with junk food. We can pretend that we exclusively use it on oven-baked sweet potato fries and other lesser evils, but who are we kidding? It’s the frequent fast food take out routine that keeps the ketchup bottles running low. Ketchup is a French fry’s best friend, and it also pairs well with other artery-clogging, obesity-inducing foods, like cheeseburgers and chicken tenders. After all, you certainly would never dunk a salad in it.

When taking inventory of your pantry (or refrigerator), it helps to make note of your food patterns and which foods encourage healthy choices (or unhealthy choices). For me, that means watching out for ketchup, but for you, it might be something different (like barbecue sauce or chocolate syrup)!

Healthy choices often beget healthy choices. Foods like granola are already nutritious (albeit, often high calorie) options, but the pot sweetens when you pair this healthy whole grain snack with its equally healthy companions, Greek yogurt and fresh berries. Sure, granola packs a much bigger calorie punch than ketchup does, but which food do you picture as part of a healthy meal?

Similar comparisons can be made when you think of other high calorie, yet high nutrient foods, like extra virgin olive oil. In fact, I am reminded of a quote by Greek doctor and nutrition scientist Antonia Trichopoulou that my boss once shared with me:

“Olive oil makes the vegetables go down!”

What helps your vegetables go down? Do certain foods encourage you to make healthier choices when you keep them in the house? Share your secrets to a healthy pantry in the comments below.

– Kelly

P.S. For those wondering about my giant glass jar of rolled oats, I still have it! However, I keep it on the kitchen counter, rather than in the pantry.

Overnight Grapefruit Coconut Oatmeal for Two

Overnight Grapefruit Coconut Oatmeal for 2

I’ve been looking for a way to make my daily oatmeal habit more conducive to the warm summer weather, and after stumbling upon this recipe from The Oatmeal Artist, I think I’ve found the perfect solution! Usually my oatmeal recipes are single serving. However, 1 serving of this recipe would leave me with half of a grapefruit and half of a yogurt carton, so it’s easiest just to make 2 servings. If you don’t have anyone else to cook for, you can save the other bowl of oatmeal for the next morning. It will keep a few days in the fridge.

Overnight Grapefruit Coconut Oatmeal for 2

Overnight Grapefruit Coconut Oatmeal for Two (inspired by the Oatmeal Artist)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (divided)
    Old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 individual container (divided)
    Plain Coconut Yogurt (vanilla is also good!)
  • 4 teaspoons (divided)
    Chia seeds
  • 1 whole
    Grapefruit (segmented)
  • 1 cup (divided)
    Water

Cooking Directions

  1. Evenly divide ingredients between two cereal bowls. Each bowl gets 1/2 cup oats, 2 tsp chia seeds, half of a grapefruit (segmented and in chunks), 1/2 cup of water, and half of the yogurt cup.
  2. Mix well, cover, and place in fridge overnight (at least 7 hours).
  3. Give it a good stir before serving. Enjoy!

Overnight Grapefruit Coconut Oatmeal for 2

Most overnight oats recipes are made in Mason jars. I don’t have Mason jars. But I do have cute Anthropologie Latte bowls! So that’s what I use. As long as you can cover it in the fridge and give it a good stir before serving, bowls work just fine. Plus, digging my spoon into the bottom of a tall Mason jar does not seem appealing. Latte bowls for the win!

Overnight Grapefruit Coconut Oatmeal for 2

Nutrition per serving: 322 calories, 10g fat (3g saturated), 8.5g protein, 52g carbohydrates (16g fiber, 17g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 35mg sodium, 200mg potassium, 20% Vitamin A, 110% Vitamin C, 22% Calcium, 16% Iron

I do wish this recipe had more protein, but believe me when I tell you that the healthy dose of fat and fiber will keep you full for HOURS. And did I mention that this recipe is vegan?

– Kelly