Lately I've noticed a lot of grocery cart judges on the prowl. You know who I mean, the people who look in everyone's shopping cart at the grocery store, getting all caught up in other people's business, judging them based on what foods they are buying. These health elitists force some of us to try and hide our guilty pleasures under healthier foods in our cart. Yes, we all have our guilty pleasures and I am no exception.

Many folks misunderstand the phrase "healthy eating" to mean you are on a diet to lose weight or trying to stay unrealistically thin, depriving your self of foods you absolutely love. Healthy eating is not an all-or-nothing proposition, so rather than worrying about never achieving six-pack abs or looking like a super model, we should all worry more about feeling better, having more energy, stabilizing our moods and keeping ourselves as healthy as possible.

All the do's and don'ts of what to eat and what to buy can be confusing, so I've compiled a "My Kitchen Prescription" list for a healthy pantry. Most people who care about what they eat have heard that olive oil is healthy, brown rice is better than white rice, and sugary soft drinks are bad for you. But my list goes deeper and will help anyone who uses it in restocking their pantry prepare a healthy, nutritious meal in about 30 minutes.

Here is the list, all items should be organic, if available:

Oils: Extra virgin olive oil, first cold press for sautéing, dressings and drizzling

Grape seed or canola for higher temperature frying.

Sesame and toasted sesame oils for that delicious surprise.

Vinegars: Distilled white, cider, red-wine, balsamic, rice and sherry

Dijon mustard


Reduced-fat mayonnaise

Reduced-sodium soy sauce or Braggs liquid aminos

Hot sauce, such as Cholula and Sriracha.

Seasonings: Salt, Black pepper

Dried herbs and spices: ground cumin, cayenne pepper, chili powder, crushed red pepper, rosemary, thyme leaves, oregano, tarragon leaves, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, bay leaf and vanilla extract.

Fresh garlic

Canned goods and packaged items:

Canned tomatoes, tomato paste

Coconut milk

Almond milk

Reduced-sodium broths, chicken, vegetable, beef

Canned beans: cannellini, kidney, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), black

Chunk light tuna and salmon (in olive oil)

Long grain brown rice, quinoa, soba noodles

Assorted whole-wheat pasta

Rolled oats

Dried lentils

Baking Products:

Whole-wheat flour

All-purpose flour

Baking powder

Baking soda


Brown sugar

Granulated sugar



Maple Syrup

Nuts, Seeds (no salt or low salt) and Dried Fruit:

Walnuts, pecans, sesame seeds, almonds

Dried apricots, dates, cranberries, raisins

Peanut butter (natural)

Almond butter

Refrigerator basics:

(All dairy should be grass fed and organic where possible.)

1 percent or skim milk

Reduced-fat sour cream

Fruit juice

Large organic eggs

Cheese: Sharp cheddar, feta, Parmesan, mozzarella (low-fat when available)

Fresh Vegetables:


Green onion (scallions)



Bell peppers, green, red, yellow








Snow peas

Bok Choy

Bean sprouts

Salad Mix (Romaine, spring mix, arugula and spinach)


Fresh fruit: A variety of your favorites. Thin-skinned fruits like berries should be organic, thicker fruits where peel is removed not as important unless you are using the zest, then organic is a must.

Freezer basics:

Frozen fruit

Frozen vegetables: edamame (soybeans), peas, spinach, corn

Ground turkey

Boneless, skinless chicken breast


We live on the ocean so buy local and fresh the day of preparation when possible.

Now, the next time you are at the store and you see someone peeking in your cart, hold your head high, smile and walk with confidence because you will have right ingredients in your cart.

The pairing and mixing possibilities of these ingredients to prepare fast healthy meals are endless. To get you started, I posted five of my go-to quick and simple recipes at