It’s no secret that I love planning my weekly meals (shout out to those Overlapping Ingredients one more time, y’all). In fact, I love it so much, that somewhere along my fitness journey, Friday night bar hopping was replaced by Friday night aisle hopping at my beloved Trader Joe’s. (A tip for all my Trader Joe’s shoppers from a gal who lives directly above the busiest location in America: hit the store Friday after 7 pm or 8 am on the dot Saturday morning and thank me later for bountiful shelves and low lines.)
But let’s keep it real, despite any number of hours spent and lists made, life will barge in on even the most flawless of plans – a meeting will run late, your sweet potato fries will char, you won’t be in the mood for that M5. Your only defense? Be prepared with the fully stocked kitchen trifecta: cart, pantry, and freezer. Today, we’re talking The Art of The Cart.
The perfect cart is a beautiful balance of familiar foundation ingredients and the excitement of the latest seasonal produce (hello, butternut squash!). Whether built into my planned recipes or the ever important “weekend refrigerator buffer”, these are the staple items I can’t go week-to-week without:
- 1 carton Almond Milk (unsweetened, original flavor) – The milk of all trades. Think smoothies, baking recipes, emergency mug cake, and Sunday morning Cheerios 😉
- 1 carton Liquid Egg Whites (or 1 carton eggs) – Egg white muffins are almost always on my weekly menu. Egg whites are also a must for on-the-fly baking recipes and quick scrambles on busy weekends.
- 2 8oz containers Greek Yogurt – #TIUapproved Craving Compromise? Yes, please! Schedule a healthy sweet treat and stay on track.
- 1 bunch Bananas – Didn’t buy enough bars for this week’s M4? Eat alone or pair with nut butter for a super easy and satisfying snack. Also, you guessed it, fab for baking.
- 2 16 oz packages Leafy Greens – From superfood-status meal additions or as the base of an “everything but the kitchen sink” salad, kale and spinach always have a place in my cart.
- 1 package Heirloom Tomatoes – My fave “dinner is taking too long” munchie 😉 You gotta give yourself one!
A mix of fresh-picked and packaged, each of these essential ingredients serve multiple functions in my kitchen. Plus, paired with items from my perfectly prepped pantry and always-full freezer (blog coming soon!), they come together to create quick, healthy meals when life doesn’t quite go according to plan.