Foods I Always Have On Hand

Do you have certain foods that you try to ALWAYS have on hand? Recently I wrote a post about foods I don’t buy at the grocery store anymore. Most of it was what you’d imagine: stuff from the bakery, junk food, juices, and processed crap I don’t eat anymore. Well, what about stuff I always buy?

This post is about the food I try to always have on hand. It’s stuff that we eat all the time. I’ve said before that our meals are pretty boring. My snacks are a daily rotation of whatever fruits are in season and dinners are a protein + seasonal veggie. Having something basic like that makes it easy to always have healthy things available. NOT having junk food in the house makes it easier to choose a healthy snack if that’s the only option!

Foods I always have on hand:


One of the things the Slow Carb diet taught me (or reminded me of, either way) was how magical beans are. They are so filling, healthy and really versatile. I love having a variety of beans in our pantry because in a pinch, I always have a meal I can make. Our “Mexican salads” are a favorite (salad, veggies, black beans, salsa), quick and easy black bean quesadillas or burritos or enchiladas are also an option. I went through a phase where I put chickpeas on my salads every night. There’s just an endless number of things I can do with beans.

I also have soups available. This works great for me when I’m running late and want to grab something quick and easy for lunch. Tomato soup is my favorite, so I always have a few cans.

Canned pineapple of various types are always in my pantry, too. I like to add some chunks of pineapple to my plain Greek yogurt for a snack. Or as a homemade pizza topping!

Tuna is also in my pantry because I like it (Michael never eats it). I either make tuna salad sandwiches or I add the plain tuna on top of salads for some protein.

Did you see my tip about pickles? Such a good snack to have available!


We buy our lettuce or spinach at Costco. It’s a huge vat of greens and most of the time we eat it all before it goes bad (sometimes we’re not as good at that). Salads are often my go-to dinner when I’m home alone and don’t feel like cooking, or for a quick lunch at work.

I tend to always buy broccoli. I don’t know why that’s the veggie I always buy but we nearly always have some in the fridge. Dinners are a protein + salad and + steamed veggie (and yes, it’s usually broccoli!).

I’m especially looking forward to Brussels sprouts being back in season again, soon. That’s my new favorite thing. Winter is approaching, so the veggies I am starting to buy and keep handy are things like squash and cauliflower.

For the fruit, I buy whatever is in season. Berry and cherry season is my favorite!


There are a few things that we always have on hand. In terms of seafood, we ALWAYS have salmon, shrimp and tilapia in the freezer. It works great having something healthy we can quickly defrost and fix for dinner.

Michael buys our chicken, ground turkey and pork chops at Costco and puts them in the freezer. Those usually take some planning to defrost but it’s nice having a complete meal always available. It means we’re less likely to say “dang it, let’s just get pizza.” Tip: the pork chops at Costco are humongous, so cut them in half lengthwise to make a proper portion size AND double the amount of chops you have! The ground turkey is good for turkey burgers (pre-make the patties and freeze them for easy cooking later), taco night, taco salads, enchiladas or turkeyloaf.


Some other things we buy at Costco because we eat a lot of it and it’s cheaper to buy it in bulk are eggs, string cheese (easy snacks), plain Greek yogurt and hummus.

Make it Easy For You to Make Good Choices

I can’t stress enough how much it has helped me NOT having trigger foods in my house and always having healthy options around. This is not to say there are not days when I grab some tortilla chips instead of Greek yogurt and fruit, but I do my best. When you get used to having healthy foods in the house, it becomes a habit and not really a hard choice to grab that apple or string cheese.

QUESTION: What are some things you try to always have available in your house?

Detox After Deep Fry

I came home feeling like I’d gained about 5 pounds over the weekend. It was hard NOT to feel that way after eating fried foods at the Fair. It’s funny because it’s actually hard to find fried food here in Portland (or maybe I just don’t know where to look) so it’s not something I have much experience with. I don’t crave fried foods, I don’t seek them out. The Texas State Fair was a once in a lifetime experience. I’m glad I did it, I’m glad I tried the foods I tried but I can’t say it’s something I want to experience again!

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We got home from the airport after running some errands and getting groceries and I headed to the gym. I desperately needed to move my body after being in a cramped airplane for most of the morning. It felt so good to run. I ran on treadmill since it was raining outside. I missed running outside like I did on vacation.

After my run I worked on weight lifting–back and abs this time. I used a 10 pound medicine ball for my ab workout and finished up with stretching.

Gym Stats:
Time: 1:20
Calories Burned: 510

Dinner was easy and quick–and healthy, which was sorely needed after the fried foods I’d eaten. I made quick polenta with sauteed shallots and Michael blackened salmon.

I added a scoop of cottage cheese to my plate and I cut my salmon in half to take to work for lunch the next day. I also had some tomatoes. The last of the tomatoes from our garden.

I am so glad that I found an easy polenta to make. It’s so delicious!


Wednesday after work I went to the gym. It was my fourth day in a row of exercising and mentally I was starting to wear down. I didn’t give it my all but something was better than nothing. I know myself–and four days or more of exercise in a row is mentally trying. That’s one of the reasons I try to schedule my rest days split up.

I hit the stairmaster for 30 minutes and started to ache a big in my left knee. I switched to the elliptical for the rest of my cardio workout. I finished up with weight lifting- chest, arms and shoulders this time. I was a bit sore from Tuesday’s lifting even though I was using different muscles.

Gym Stats:
Time: 1:13
Calories Burned: 520

Dinner was something simple: Costco ravioli. I know, I know, nothing spectacular. But after a long day at work and after being out of town two weekends in a row we barely have any food in the house. This time I made the butternut squash ravioli from Costco, which I like a lot. It’s sweet. My only complaint is the serving sizes on the package are confusing as hell.

I roasted the last of our cherry tomatoes from the garden and topped the ravioli with a little olive oil, sprinkled some shredded white cheddar cheese on it, salt and pepper and then topped it with the roasted tomatoes. The tomatoes balanced out the sweetness of the squash. It was nice.

I’d eaten my spinach salad while I was waiting for the ravioli and tomatoes to cook. I was famished after my workout. I added chopped carrots, red onion, croutons and broccoli to the salad and used Light Ranch dressing for a change.

Final Thoughts

I’m avoiding the scale for a few weeks. I think for my mental health it’s the wise decision. I’m back at my normal eating, my normal calories, I’m working out regularly. I think in a few weeks I will be able to get back on track. In a few weeks it will be time to own up to any weight gain that’s hanging on and right the ship. I hope the damage isn’t too bad (I did work out while on vacation, that has to count for something right?)

QUESTION: How do you detox? Do you avoid the scale for awhile in order to even things out?