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The Healthy Pantry

One of the easiest ways for me to stay on track is to have healthy foods at the ready when I decide I am hungry. Here are 10 things I ALWAYS have in my house to keep me on track:

1. Laura’s Lean Beef. I almost always have ground beef, and often a steak.
2. Chicken Stock. I cook a lot of things in stock, even veggies.
3. Fresh Herbs. I live in an apartment,  it's winter and I am still nurturing my little window box full of fresh herbs. I love being able to snip off some fresh rosemary just seconds from my kitchen, even in the coldest months.
4. Sesame Oil. Yes, it’s a fat, but the tiniest bit of this goes a long way and packs such a wallop of flavor.
5.Canned Fire-roasted tomatoes. I like the Muir Glen brand. I add chopped tomatoes to so many dishes. It adds nutrients, of course, but it makes things feel more substantial and it adds quantity without adding too many calories. I like my dinner plate to look full when I sit down.
6. Lettuce. Of course, a staple. Lunch is often my “salad as big as my head.” I start with lettuce then I add as many vegetables as I can find from the fridge. Top it with a bit of beef, a sprinkle of nuts and some balsamic vinaigrette, and I’m satisfied until dinner.
7. Speaking of vinaigrette, I always have good balsamic vinegar on hand. I love it to flavor a big pot of steamed greens. I cook it down to a syrup to brush on meats before cooking. I made a basic salad dressing that is a staple.
8. Lemons. 1 squeeze of lemon brightens up the flavors of so many dishes. I add fresh lemon juice to water for a little treat.
9. Parmesan Cheese. I am a cheese nut. Freshly grated Parmesan packs a lot of flavor for just a little bit (like the sesame oil). Add a sprinkle of grated Parmesan to anything from soup to salads to vegetables to add a great flavor.
10. Fruit. I let myself indulge in a lot of fruit. I always face a mid-afternoon slump and my apple or pear break is something I look forward to.

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