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Your Kitchen Inventory & 4 Summer Meal Ideas

Egg salad on crispbread, topped with halved cherry tomatoes

Beauty Buzz/Blog Biz | Your Kitchen Inventory & 4 Summer Meal Ideas


Today, I’m giving you some tips for your kitchen inventory, and some easy meal ideas! 

You know that feeling when you don’t want to cook, but you still need to eat? When cooking on the stove or in the oven feels like a task, especially during the hot summer months, you can keep super simple ingredients on hand, to assemble quick meals painlessly.

Chicken salad (with chicken strips, tomato, spinach and scallions) on crispbread

What is your “Kitchen Inventory”? 

Well, it’s everything you keep on hand in your kitchen — everything that goes in the fridge, the freezer, and the shelf-stable pantry items. Your kitchen inventory also includes your supplies and appliances, from the essentials (like a chef’s knife) to specialty items (like a cherry-pitter).

When it comes to stocking up on groceries, stock “smart”! Rather than buying a whole lot of one thing, like dry pasta, for example, get a variety of simple ingredients to make sure you get all the nutrients you need. Once you create a grocery list, buy enough long-lasting ingredients, so that you won’t have to go shopping every week. There could be weeks when you only need to pick up fresh produce. What a relief! 

This type of grocery-strategizing is essential. After all, your kitchen inventory is the foundation of your healthy meals! 

Why now? 

Summertime is a perfect opportunity to refresh and restart, and focus on health goals. Meal planning is an excellent way to start meeting those goals! 

Another reason summer is a great time to focus on “stocking up,” is because it will allow you to spend less time in the kitchen when it’s hot outside! You can plan meals that require quick assembly or reheating. A great example are hearty salads or Veggie Frittata, which can be served cold or at room temperature.

Summertime brings a bounty of tasty, fresh produce, and if you’re in many parts of North America, that can mean local produce is in season. Consider seasonality in your summer meals, when fresh produce is available. 

And finally, if you don’t want to cook when it’s hot out, you might be tempted to eat out more often. So, you can save money by keeping a kitchen inventory of ready-to-assemble ingredients!

Gathering a Kitchen Inventory for the Summer

As you begin to plan your meals (so that you know what to “stock up” on!), try to stick to the Balanced Meal concept:

  • #1 Plant-based or Animal Protein
  • #2 Non-Starchy Vegetables
  • #3 Carbohydrates with Fiber and Energy

The exact food that you will buy is a personal decision, based on your preferences, as well as food allergies or other restrictions. Here’s an example of the types of foods you could keep on hand in your pantry and freezer, to build a foundation for your meal planning.

If you’re trying to meet specific health goals, consider scheduling a meeting with a dietitian, to tailor this inventory to your specific situation.

For the Pantry:

  • Canned beans 
  • Fish (in a can, jar or pouch)
  • Dried goods (whole rolled oats, lentils, quinoa, quick-cooking barley, farro…)
  • Herbs & spices
  • Olive oil & vinegars
  • Vegetables (in a can or jar, such as tomatoes, roasted red pepper or artichokes)
  • Nuts, seeds
  • Potatoes & sweet potatoes
  • Garlic, onions, ginger

For the Freezer: 

  • Frozen beans, peas & edamame
  • Frozen vegetables & fruits
  • Frozen quinoa mixes, including quinoa, vegetables and beans (the foundation for a meal!)

4 Easy Summer Meal Ideas

In the summer, try planning your meals around proteins that are easy to prepare, such as cottage cheese, greek yogurt, eggs/egg whites, pre-cooked fish or shell-fish, pre-cooked lentils, and frozen edamame… 

These easy recipe ideas will give you everything you need for a balanced meal or balanced snack.

  1. Overnight Oats – Use seasonal fruits, like apricots, strawberries or peaches.
  2. Veggie Frittata – Use fresh summer vegetables.
  3. Norwegian Crispbreads with Ricotta & Peach Slices – Feel free to substitute other summer fruits & vegetables. Optional: substitute Cottage Cheese for Ricotta.
  4. Norwegian Crispbreads with egg salad or chicken salad – Buying a cooked rotisserie chicken makes chicken salad quick and easy!

To receive more meal planning tips and recipe ideas, join my email list:

By  Alicia Connor, MA RDN & Chef

Author Bio:

Alicia Connor a pretty brunette with short-cropped hair wearing a denim jacket with a white tee.
Alicia Connor

Alicia Connor is a registered dietitian nutritionist and chef who lives in San Francisco. She is passionate about healthy cooking, with a focus on simplifying meal planning and making healthy eating easier. Alicia built a successful career as a chef, working at one of the top restaurants in San Francisco. But as her vision declined due to a hereditary condition, she decided to focus on a career with longevity and returned to school to become a dietitian.

In her current role as a registered dietitian nutritionist and chef, she is always passionately working towards peoples’ health. In February 2019, she founded Quick & Delish, a video cooking series on YouTube, where she presents easy recipes with minimal steps, for flavorful, balanced meals. She’s writing an e-cookbook and gives virtual meal planning workshops year-round. And she works with clients one-on-one to build good habits, simplify meal planning, and create an actionable plan to meet their health goals. You can read more about her passion for health in Today’s Dietitian. 

Image Descriptions:

  • Egg salad on crispbread, topped with halved cherry tomatoes
  • Chicken salad (with chicken strips, tomato, spinach and scallions) on crispbread

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