One of the barriers we all face when trying to eat better involves the up front cost of stocking our kitchens to suit our new dietary lifestyles. When you’re getting started, it seems like every recipe calls for three or four condiments, spices, or pantry staples you don’t yet have (and require a serious investment when it comes to your grocery bill). It can take a long time for the budding home cook to build a well-stocked kitchen, but in the meantime, there are some essentials that are more versatile—and affordable—than others. Keep your kitchen stocked with these and you’ll be able to whip together simple, healthy recipes that *taste* leaps and bounds above your ordinary steamed or sauteed staples (like vegetables, rice, etc).
For me, this means always keeping olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a pepper grinder and sea salt on hand, along with fresh onion and garlic (which thankfully stay fresh much longer than many vegetables vegetables). Here are eight other suggestions of ingredients to keep on hand for easy, healthy meal prep: