Pantry: Hungry Girl's Guilt-Free Essentials
Canned Pumpkin: I use this fiber-filled favorite to bulk up so many recipes and foods — from soups to dessert batters — without adding very many calories or fat grams. Make sure to buy 100% pure pumpkin — NOT pumpkin pie filling, which has added sugar.
Shelf-Stable Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk: How can a 40-calorie cup be so rich and creamy? I don't know, but I LOVE it! It's fantastic in cereals (both hot and cold) and shakes. Just remember to refrigerate it after you open it.
25-Calorie Hot Cocoa Packets: These are not JUST for hot chocolate. Expand your horizons, people! I like to use them when making baked goods, smoothies, and various desserts to boost the chocolate flavor. Don't forget to get the ones with about 25 calories per packet.
Old-Fashioned Oats: I know, instant oatmeal is faster to whip up, but old-fashioned oats just have more substance. This is an essential ingredient in all of my "growing oatmeal bowls," and it's perfect in baked granola mixes.
Canned Low-Fat Creamy Tomato Soup: Another versatile product (with a nice shelf life). Use it as a tomato-sauce swap on pasta and pizza, pour it over chicken and veggies, or just eat a bowl to warm you up on a cold day.
Canned Crushed/Diced Tomatoes: Lower in fat and generally cheaper than premade tomato sauce, canned tomatoes come in many varieties. I like the fire-roasted ones best, but have fun and try them all!
Freeze-Dried Fruit: When I need something to satisfy a fruit craving and I don't have the fresh stuff on hand, I turn to packs of freeze-dried fruit. These make a great travel snack. And try mixing 'em with some fat-free cottage cheese or into homemade trail mix for a delicious treat.
Calorie-Free Sugar-Free Flavored Syrups: I use these in guilt-free coffee drinks, various recipes, and mixed alcoholic beverages.
Dry Seasoning Mixes: When I'm looking for an easy way to spice up food or make flavorful guilt-free sauces, I turn to these packets. I especially love to toss some in with meat and veggies for tacos, fajitas, and chili.
High-Fiber Bran Cereal Twigs: This stuff works great as a coating when "faux-frying" foods — just grind it to a breadcrumb-like consistency in a blender or food processor. Then add lots of spices!