Check those supplies

September is here – It always sneaks up on me.

As a child I loved back to school time; the new clothes, the prospect of school pictures, brand new school supplies diligently marked with my name and the sunny days with cool nights.

I still love fall.  It is a time for fresh starts, a time for routine and a great time for new supplies.  As everyone gets back into the swing of things why not take a moment to open that pantry, fridge and freezer to make sure it is stocked with healthy supplies you need to stay on track this fall.

Here are my picks:

Nuts – I stock whole raw almonds (skin on) and shelled walnuts.  I buy in bulk to keep the cost down and store them in the freezer to extend the shelf life.  Packed with protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre, nuts make an excellent snack as long as you keep portion size in check.  ¼ cup is all you get – that’s a handful and no more!

Wheat Germ – add it to your baking (I use 1Tbsp per 1 cup of whole-wheat flour), sprinkle it on yogurt or add it to ground meat.  Wheat germ is a concentrated source of nutrients and needs to be added to your whole-wheat flour to make it a whole-grain.  I store mine in the fridge/freezer as it does go rancid because of the fat content.

Canola Oil – is the only oil I keep on hand.  Its versatility makes it the right pick for any job, be it baking, stir frying, roasting, salad dressings or marinades.  Canola oil has the lowest amount of saturated fat of any leading vegetable oil.  It is even lower than olive oil.  It is high in monounsaturated fat (good fat) and Omega-3 fatty acid (another good fat).  Read the facts about Why Choose Canola Oil – you might be surprised at just how healthy and versatile this local oil can be!

Dried Fruit – keep a selection of dried fruit on hand to keep you going in between those trips to the grocery store.  I like cranberries, apricots and figs.   ¼ cup is considered a serving.  Dried fruits are both calorie and nutrient dense, usually have little or no fat, pack a punch of fibre and can be a source of antioxidants.  I always carry a small container with dried fruit and nuts in my bag for an easy snack on the go.

Beans, Chickpeas & Lentils – keep a selection of dried and canned in your pantry.  It is amazing the options you have.  If you buy canned be sure to rinse them under cold running water to remove as much of the salt as possible.  Check out Ellen’s post on Lentils for tips, resources and recipes.  Turning beans and chickpeas into Bean Dips and Hummus makes for a great snack or spread in sandwiches.

Lean cuts of meat – buy large packs of meat (chicken, turkey, pork, beef, fish) and package into meal size portions in re-sealable freezer bags.  Before you seal and place in the freezer try adding a marinade.  When you pull the bags out of the freezer it makes it feel as though the meal is half done – which it is!  My post Marinades as two easy recipes and a video for you to follow.

Keep the right supplies on hand this September and you’ll be off to a great fresh start this season!

What supplies do you keep on hand?  Tell us below and you’ll be entered to win a Be Well Prize pack.

Be Well…Jenn

Looking for Smart Snacks for Back to School? Check out this post from Wendy!

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