Martha Stewart’s latest book, Living the Good Long Life: A Practical Guide to Caring for Yourself and Others, is a practical, no-nonsense guide to help you live a long life after 40 that’s as good and healthy and carefree as possible. With advice from experts on eating, exercise, wellness, home and organizing, and caring for others, Stewart’s guide aims to help you establish healthy daily habits that can enrich your entire life.
One of her first tips in the book is how to stock a healthy pantry—something Martha is certainly an expert in:
Fill your kitchen with healthful ingredients, and you’ll be much more prepared to put together a nutritious meal anytime. The following tips will help you determine what to keep on hand, and what to look for on food labels.
1. Nut Butters
Look for natural versions, which have no added sugar and no hydrogenated oil, the source of unhealthy trans fats.
Look for at least 3 grams of fiber and no more than 10 grams of sugar per serving (less is even better). And pay attention to recommended serving size — it’s likely smaller than what you usually pour into your bowl.
Look for keywords such as “whole grain” or “whole wheat” at the top of the ingredients list and at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.
4. Pasta and Rice
Look for the words “100 percent whole grain” on the label for whole-wheat pasta, and 3 grams of fiber per serving. For rice, choose whole-grain varieties (such as brown, wild, red or brown basmati); these are higher in fiber and nutrients than their more processed white cousins.
Look for extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil, which is high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and contains disease-fighting antioxidants.
6. Nuts and Dried Fruit
Look for roasted, unsalted nuts for snacking. Almonds are the highest in vitamin E, and walnuts boast omega-3s. All dried fruit is a good source of fiber and potassium, but cranberries and blueberries are antioxidant superstars. Look for those with no added sugar.
7. Salt and Spices
Look for opportunities to use sea salt, which is more flavorful than table salt, so you’ll need less of it and still get great flavor. Limit your intake to 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. Use spices to add flavor without adding calories. Spaces also increase satiety, so you’ll be less likely to overeat.
8. Canned Tomatoes
Look for the shortest list of ingredients on the label and the least amount of added sugar and sodium. All kinds of canned tomatoes — diced, or in a sauce or paste — will be good sources of the potent antioxidant lycopene, but tomato paste will have the highest levels because it’s the most concentrated.
9. Canned Tuna and Salmon
Look for light tuna, which has the lowest amount of potentially harmful mercury. For lower-calorie versions, opt for those packed in water (although tuna in olive oil has a wonderfully rich flavor). Choose canned wild salmon for one of the best sources of omega 3s.
10. Canned Beans
Look for low-sodium varieties, since canned beans can be high in salt. As a general rule, more color means more nutrients, so red kidney, pinto and black beans are extra-rich in a variety of antioxidants. But all beans are wonderful (and inexpensive) sources of protein and fiber.
11. Chicken Broth
Look for unsalted or low-sodium broths. Opt for organic whenever possible.
So, go to it this weekend, and stock a healthy pantry.
Learn more from Martha Stewart at MarthaStewart.com.