Robin's Healthy Take: New Year, New Pantry

produce pantry cabinet

Does the “New Year, New You” theme ever get old?  Apparently not.  Let’s face it, we all want to start a new year off right, so we resolve to eat better, exercise more, be nicer, take more vacations, whatever.  There are an infinite number of resolutions out there, but as a nutritionist, the resounding one I hear every year is the same: “How can I eat better?”  Here are my straightforward, easy-to-follow tips and healthy pantry essentials.

Small Changes, Big Results

The trick to eating better? Don't try to change too much.  Instead, make small changes and take baby steps in the beginning.  I like to tell people to only change what you’re willing to still be doing 20 years from now. That means if you think you’ll be able to dodge cookies, chocolate and ice cream for 20 years, by all means, take them off your menu.  But let’s be realistic.  By January 10th,  you’ll want a cookie so bad you’ll do anything for it -- and then you’ll eat 12.  Don’t get there.  Pre-load your fridge and pantry which a variety of delicious and nutritious foods, and those healthy options will lead to healthy choices!  Here’s my go-to list:

Nuts: Almonds, peanuts, walnuts and pecans make excellent snacks and keeps you satisfied for hours.  A sprinkling of nuts over your morning cereal or evening salad will add protein and keep you fuller, longer. Or, eat a handful (not more) for a between-meal snack.

Dried Fruit: Try apricots, mango, papaya, raisins, dried plums – they’re all terrific sources of fiber and very filling. Just keep portions to about 1/4 cup.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: Full of vitamins and minerals and the fiber (and water) will keep you going between meals.

Strong Cheeses: Intensely-flavored cheeses like feta, goat cheese, sharp cheddar, fresh Parmesan, smoked mozzarella and smoked Gouda quickly satisfy you and because of the strength of their flavors, you’ll likely eat less.

Whole Grains: The fiber in whole-grain breads, whole-wheat pasta and couscous, brown rice, quinoa and whole grain cereals keeps your energy up, your blood sugar steady and staves off hunger pangs.

Beans and Lentils: Same as above – just try being hungry after a warm bowl of lentil soup!

Pantry Add-Ons

Once you've stocked the basics, consider these flavor-packed additions. I keep these ingredients on hand to make healthy, satisfying meals in a flash:

  • Oil-Packed Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • Basil Pesto
  • Olives and Olive Tapenade
  • Nut Butters
  • Jarred Roasted Red Peppers
  • Capers
  • Sesame Oil
  • Roasted Garlic
TELL US: What are some of YOUR favorite pantry staples??

 Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at

You Might Also Like:

Next Up

Robin's Healthy Take: Zucchini

Robin Miller's healthy recipes for zucchini and summer squash.

Robin's Healthy Take: Healthy Food Pairings

Sometimes your favorite foods taste better together. Robin Miller's salad recipes pair unusual foods together and the result is unforgettable (and delicious!).

Healthy New Year: 10 Reasonable Resolutions

All too often New Year’s are made to be broken. Folks usually bite off more than they can chew (“I’m going to lose 20 pounds by February 1st”). Forget about the “all-or- nothing” and “cold turkey” approaches, how about some resolutions that are reasonable so you can actually stick to them?! Here are ten ideas to help get you started.

Robin's Healthy Take: DIY Tacos

Make tonight a taco night: Tacos are easy to prepare, and easy to make healthy, plus they're a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Robin's Healthy Take: Egg Rolls

Take-out egg rolls aren't the healthiest fare, but Robin's lightened-up, baked-not-fried recipe is just the thing to soothe your cravings without busting your waistline.

Robin's Healthy Take: Savory Grapefruit

Use tangy grapefruit to make Robin Miller's spicy southwest shrimp and grapefruit-glazed chicken.

Robin's Healthy Take: Frittata Fabulous

Clean out the 'fridge and make a healthy meal at the same time. Robin Miller's artichoke and Parmesan frittata is fabulous for brunch or dinner.

Robin's Healthy Take: Coconut Shrimp

Robin puts a healthy spin on coconut shrimp for less than 200 calories per serving.

Robin's Healthy Take: School Lunches

Robin Miller's ideas for healthy back-to-school lunches for kids.