Restock Your Kitchen for the New Year
While I don’t believe in cleanses that deprive the body, I do believe in ‘cleaning house’ every so often, and for me this begins with my pantry and refrigerator. The new year is a perfect time to take stock of what’s either accumulated (or disappeared from) your kitchen, and implement some easy and effective changes that will set you up for a fresh start. Especially during January and the cold winter months, I gravitate towards big batch soups and stews that can be made in one pot, and that make for healthy leftover lunches and dinners. These are easy to make provided that I have a surplus of the right ingredients on standby.
I start by stocking up on versatile pantry essentials that will last me for a while, and can be used interchangeably as bases for many of my go-to recipes. This includes creating my own bulk bins (I usually opt for mason jars) filled with whole grains and lentils such as: basmati rice, red + yellow lentils, split mung beans, quinoa, and brown rice pasta.
Next, I make sure to always have some healthy fats on standby. Despite diet myths, healthy fats actually fuel the body and can aid in weight loss and elimination. My favorites include a high quality grass fed ghee, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, and omega or olive oil.
The spice cabinet is another key area to refine when stocking yourself up. I love having a diverse spice cabinet because it infuses the same core ingredients with different flavors to keep meals fresh and exciting. You can get creative based on your palette and flavor preferences, but my spice cabinet always includes: himalayan pink sea salt, curry, cumin, cardamom, chili flakes, garlic powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, nutritional yeast, and a dry kombu or hijiki seaweed.
Once I’ve set my foundation with all the non-perishables and dry goods, I fill in the blanks and stock my refrigerator with some fresh herbs and spices (basil, cilantro, garlic, ginger), leafy greens and vegetables (kale, spinach, arugula, carrots, broccoli) and any other root vegetables or add-ons that will elevate my meal. I also always have fermented vegetables, and a few sauces like tahini, chickpea miso paste and tamari on stand-by.
When I feel like I have my bases covered, I’m set-up to cook for the week. This allows to me whip up last minute, delicious meals, even when I haven’t taken the time to meal plan. Recently, my go-to has been my Broccoli Cheddar soup --it’s filling, nourishing and comforting.
Plant-based cook and health coach Lily Kunin is the founder of Clean Food Dirty City and the author of the cookbook Good Clean Food. With her trademark less-is-more approach, Kunin is all about making irresistibly clean, wholesome food—using dairy-free and gluten-free ingredients.