Healthy Pantry Staples

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The past few weeks have been a whirlwind full of fun and exciting things! I have finally kicked off my career as a dietitian and there have been so many random life activities going on too! Happy hours with friends, birthdays, bridal showers, and more. I cannot believe that summer is really coming to an end and fall is about to begin. Where did the time go!? But I must admit – I put on my yoga pants for the first time last night and I immediately got way more excited for fall. Football games, tailgates, fire pits, hoodie weather, holidays, back to school (NOT FOR ME ANYMORE!!!), etc. There’s always so much to look forward to! 🙂

So, I decided it was time to do another “favorite things” post, because I’ve had some amazing new staples creep into my life in the past month or so and I just feel the need to share them with you! ; ) I also felt like renaming this “series” because I get bored quickly and like to switch things up. And I want to keep you all on your toes.

  1. Quaker 3-minute Steel-Cut Oats. This had to be number 1 on this list because it is number 1 in my heart and in my belly, every dang morning. I saw an ad for these oats in my Food & Nutrition magazine one day and had to try them. I have had steel-cut oats before and loved them, but who has time to cook them for 20 minutes before work/school/life? That’s right – no one! These steel-cut oats cook in the microwave in 3 MINUTES (or even less) and they taste just as amazing. Never had steel-cut oats? Here’s what you can expect. They are less mushy than regular oats, and have a grainier, chewier texture. (Do those words even exist?) And they have a more “hearty”, nutty flavor. To me they have a grits-like consistency, in a great way. I just love ‘em. They are also a good source of whole grains (a must!) and fiber, leaving you feeling full and satisfied for hours! That’s the most important factor in a breakfast item, in my opinion. I don’t want to be hungry an hour after my meal! I love to top my steel-cut oats with a packet of zero-calorie sweetener (Splenda or Truvia), lots of cinnamon, a drizzle of honey, and berries for an amazing, delicious start to my day!

steel cut oats

  1. Heart Healthy Trail Mix. This trail mix made an appearance in my last post, “Keep Calm & Have a Snack”, and for good reason. I love to snack on mixed nuts to nix between-meal hunger or as a little bedtime snack, but sometimes I want (need) a little sweetness in my life, too. That’s why this mix is great; it has pistachios, almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds, which are all packed with heart healthy unsaturated fats, with some dried cranberries sprinkled throughout to satisfy my sweet tooth! I found this mix in the World Market section of Bed Bath & Beyond! I also love to toss it into some vanilla Light & Fit Greek yogurt for a snack filled with healthy fats & quality protein!!!! Post-workout magic right there.


  1. Mama Lupe’s Low-Carb Tortillas. Finally a wrap that tastes good and is guilt-free. Some tortillas these days can pack upwards of 300 calories and 50 g of carbs, which is simply outrageous. While these wraps may seem small, they are an appropriate portion size and they get the job done for as little as 60 calories, 7 grams of carbs and 4 g of fiber. They are even whole wheat! I love to use these wraps for a variety of meals – breakfast burritos, turkey wraps, or soft tacos!

Egg beaters with sautéed spinach and a sprinkle of low-fat shredded cheese on a low-carb wrap.
Stay tuned for the recipe for these amazing chicken tacos at the end of this post!
Simple turkey wrap with honey mesquite turkey, spinach, and Garlic & Herb Laughing Cow spread on a low-carb tortilla.
  1. Washburn Mills Quinoa & Grain Salad. Quinoa is great for so many reasons. First, it is a whole grain. Next, quinoa contains ALL 9 essential amino acids – these are the amino acids (building blocks of protein) that our bodies need us to consume through food. This is rare for a plant food; containing all 9 essential amino acids is more common for meat products. Quinoa is also gluten-free, which is great for people with celiac disease who have a medical reason not to consume gluten. (For everyone else, gluten is NOT the enemy. But I won’t go on a rant about that now.) Quinoa is also a good source of fiber, so it keeps you feeling feel and satisfies your hunger, similar to the oats I mentioned before. This particular salad is a blend of quinoa, brown rice, and freekeh – which I have to admit, I had never heard of in my life. Freekeh is similar to brown rice & quinoa in that it is also a whole grain with a chewy texture, but it has almost 3x the amount of fiber and protein as brown rice. It’s a hidden gem, really. This mixed grain salad is paired with a tangy vinaigrette dressing and topped with almonds, dried apples & cranberries to add some extra crunch and sweetness. I love to add shredded chicken to bulk it up and steam some veggies on the side for a balanced, delicious meal! It’s even great as leftovers the next day or two!
This is what to look for – I found it at Sam’s Club! It is also available online.
Isn’t it pretty!?
  1. Beanitos Chips – Restaurant Style. Chips are way too easy to eat in excess, and most of the chips that are sold in stores these days have little to no nutritional value, such as Dorito’s or Cheetos (sad, I know). But these chips are amazing for dipping in your favorite salsa or guacamole, and they are healthier than the average tortilla chip. The ingredient list is only 5 items long, which is hard to beat. The main ingredient? Beans – just as the name suggests. These chips contain 140 calories, 6 g of fiber and 4 g of protein per serving. They also have a low glycemic index, lower than that of chips that are made primarily from potatoes or corn. Best of all, they are really tasty. : ) Try them for yourself! These can be found in the health section of your local grocery store – I have found them at both Price Chopper and Hy-Vee!

beanitos       beanitos nutrition

Homemade Fresh Salsa
Dip into your favorite salsas or guacamole with Beanitos chips!

If you are bored of the foods that you get at the grocery store every week, look for some of these items! Switch things up! Keep your taste buds happy. I’ll personally give you $5 if you don’t like at least one of these items. Just kidding – I just started working, what do you people want from me? ; )

Since I finished off on a “Mexican” type food, and because 75% of the recipes I share are Mexican-inspired for some reason, I am sharing yet another one. CROCKPOT CHICKEN TACOS. I absolutely adore tacos, specifically chicken tacos, preferably after it’s been marinating in the crockpot alllllllll day long. This recipe literally could not be easier to make, requires very little clean up, it’s inexpensive, and it tastes fantastic. Oh, and it’s healthy. (Stick with the no or low-sodium additions if you can!) I guarantee you will love this recipe too.

Crockpot Chicken Tacos


  • 2-3 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 packet Mrs. Dash taco seasoning
  • 1 packet ranch seasoning (Mrs. Dash too, if you can find it!)
  • 1 cup Campbell’s low-sodium chicken broth


  • Pour both dried mixes into crockpot. Add chicken broth and whisk until combined.

  • Add chicken breast.

  • Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Chicken is ready when it starts to fall apart with a fork. Use two forks and pull from both sides to shred chicken.

  • Shred chicken, remove from pot, and serve as desired.

Wednesday Words Of Wisdom:  Live less out of habit, and more out of intent. 

This is a great quote to apply to your lifestyle if you’re trying to improve your current eating and/or exercise regimen. Maybe you’ve formed some unhealthy habits over the years, and those can be hard to break. Try to make a shift to a healthier you by planning ahead – whether that may be meals or snacks for the week, or deciding when you’re going to fit in your workouts each day. If you intend to make healthy choices and plan ahead, you’re more likely to follow through. Those old, bad habits can be broken! Remember this quote and try to apply it for the second half of this week!

Have a great week everyone! Stay tuned for more crockpot recipes in the near future! : )

eat well. live well. be happy.

Shanna, RD


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