Stock your pantry with these healthy items

Making smart food choices is easy when you're prepared.

Having healthy go-to options at home is essential for weight-loss success. Keep these smart choices on hand for fast and flavorful meals and snacks.

Fruits and vegetables

  • Fresh fruits
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Pre-cut fresh vegetables
  • Salad in a bag
  • Frozen fruits
  • Frozen vegetables (no sauce)
  • Frozen chopped onion and green peppers
  • Canned fruits (packed in their own juice or water)
  • Dried fruit
  • Low-sodium, low-fat pasta; pizza and tomato sauces
  • Canned diced tomatoes
  • 100 percent fruit juice, including calcium-fortified (but limit juice intake to 4 ounces a day)

Dairy

  • Fat-free or 1 percent milk
  • Low-fat or fat-free yogurt
  • Low-fat or fat-free cheese
  • Frozen yogurt or fruit sorbet

Whole grains

  • Whole-grain breakfast cereal
  • Rice: brown (regular and instant), wild, blends
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole-grain bread
  • Whole-grain pita bread
  • Whole-grain pasta
  • Whole-grain crackers
  • Low-fat microwave popcorn

Protein

  • Low-fat refried beans
  • Black, kidney or navy beans
  • Low-sodium water-packed tuna
  • Other fish with omega-3 fatty acids
  • Skinless white-meat poultry
  • Soy cheese
  • Tofu
  • Dry-roasted nuts
  • Individually frozen skinless chicken breasts
  • Individually frozen salmon, cod or other fish
  • Frozen shrimp or scallops
  • Frozen vegetable burgers

Cooking staples

  • Fresh garlic and onions
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Red wine and/or balsamic vinegar
  • Fat-free cooking spray

As you can see, eating well at home doesn't require expensive or unusual ingredients, and you certainly don't have to be a master chef. Whole-wheat pasta tossed with loads of veggies, salads, and whole-grain wraps or quesadillas are all easy meal options. You can even put together a snack plate and include your favorite raw veggies, nuts and healthy dips, like hummus.