October 01, 2021

Prep for healthy eating

A pro guide to stocking your kitchen

It's been a hectic day. Now it's 6 p.m., and you're just walking into the kitchen to figure out what to make for dinner. You're tempted to order takeout, but you've been trying to save money and eat healthier at home.

Whipping up a meal is always easier if you've got a well-stocked fridge, freezer and pantry. If you're aiming for delicious and nutritious food, what should you keep in stock?

Mayo Clinic Health Letter spoke to two Mayo Clinic experts — Jen Welper, wellness executive chef, and Katherine Zeratsky, a registered dietitian — to get their ideas and recommendations for stocking the kitchen. Here are their must-haves.

The pantry

Welper's pick: Squash

Squash
 

Talk about versatile. Chop it up and roast it on a baking sheet with some seasoning. Throw it in a stir-fry, skewer summer squash for kebabs on the grill, or put it in your breakfast frittata. Purée butternut squash for a soup. Bake zucchini, into a bread. Use spaghetti squash as a noodle substitute. You can season squash sweetly — with cinnamon and a bit of brown sugar — or make it savory with garlic or cayenne. Summer and winter, squash is in season.

Squash can provide nutrients such as vitamins, fiber and potassium. Plus, winter squash, such as butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash, doesn't need to be refrigerated and can have a shelf life of up to several months — the perfect pantry...