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Once you have a well-stocked pantry, you’ll be ready for your weekly grocery shopping for fresh foods and snacks. This includes stocking up your freezer with some basics for quick and convenient meal options.

This is a basic list to begin filling your fridge and freezer with healthy, plant-based foods.

Stocking Your Freezer

Being prepared with a freezer full of healthy options to choose from will allow you the convenience of having what you need at your fingertips to make a variety of delicious meals. It will also help you save money on grocery bills. (See Ornish Living article, Top Ten Ways to Eat Healthy for Under $6 A Day.)

Frozen Produce

Most frozen fruits and vegetables are promptly blanched, boiled, or steamed, and then frozen within hours of being picked. This process helps lock in both fresh taste and nutritional value. Frozen produce is also available year-round, and in most cases is less expensive than fresh. Frozen vegetables can be quickly steamed or added to a stir-fry, soup, whole grains, whole grain pasta, plant-based casserole or lasagna.

Frozen Vegetables (with Ornish Recipes)

Frozen Fruit (with Ornish Recipes)

  • Bananas (ripened, peeled, chopped)
  • Mix fruit
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapple
  • Sliced peaches
  • Orange juice concentrate – great for salad dressings.

Frozen Legumes

  • Edamame, for Edamole
  • Black eyed peas
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Lentils
  • Veggie, bean or soy burgers (< 3 gm fat).
  • Soy Crumbles (such as Boca or Yves)
  • Healthy Frozen Meals (<3 gm fat/serving)

Cooking Staples

  • Flax seeds (whole or ground) – a rich source of Omega-3 that make a great replacement for fat, such as in this Italian Dressing. (See Sample Menu) Premade sprouted whole grains such as Trader Joe’s Sprouted Red Jasmine Rice 
  • Produce scraps in baggies/containers to make stock or smoothies
  • Frozen homemade broth in ice cube trays and cup-size container for quick cooking
  • For longer storage – sprouted, whole grain or corn tortillas
  • 100% whole grain bread

Refrigerator Basics

Fresh produce: Strive for at least five a day and choose from a rainbow of colors. Here is a good link for best practices for produce storage.

  • The Basics: Dark leafy greens: spinach, kale, chard, collards, carrots, onions, cucumbers, radishes, peppers, mushrooms, cabbage, celery, broccoli, cauliflower
  • Fruit: grapes, berries, oranges, apples, melon (store on your counter or in fridge)
  • Seasonal produce
  • Lemons and limes
  • Non-dairy low fat milks (such as soy milk or almond)
  • Yogurt: organic soy yogurt or non-fat plain dairy or non-fat Greek
  • Nonfat cheese or low-fat soy cheese
  • Fresh herbs (wrap fresh herbs in paper towel before storing them in plastic bags or container)
  • Egg whites/substitute or eggs but only use whites
  • Tofu (soft, firm, extra firm, sprouted)
  • Low-fat baked tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Seitan
  • 100% whole grain bread
  • Sprouted, whole grain or corn tortillas

Side Door Staples

  • Nonfat salad dressings (home-made or store-bought)
  • Salsa
  • Tomatillo sauce
  • Vegetable broth (low sodium/organic)
  • Mustards
  • Ketchup
  • Sriracha and other hot sauces
  • Low-fat sauces and marinades such as these International Sauces by Organicville (read the label for low-fat ≤ 3 gm fat for Ornish Lifestyle Medicine choices)
  • Lemon and lime juice (for those times when we run out of fresh)
  • Nutritional yeast such as Bob’s Red Mill 
  • All-fruit jams

This is a basic list to begin filling your fridge and freezer with healthy, plant-based foods. As you discover new products and foods, add foods to further personalize meals for your preferred tastes and cooking style.

What are some your favorite plant-based, heart-healthy foods in your freezer and fridge?


Contributed by

Carra Richling
Registered Dietitian

Eat well, be well!

Better Health Begins With You...

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