Zoe has a make-me-jealous grocery routine; she shops with her parents every Saturday at Reading Market, then has lunch. It's social, it's local, and it's exactly what modern day food-concious folks aim to do: support local purveyors and make grocery shopping a positive social experience.

Except for one thing: Zoe has no place to go for pantry basics like pasta, beans, granola, yogurt, cottage cheese, and her favorite -- Laughing Cow cheese. So they just fall to the side.

Bummer! A well-stocked pantry makes healthy eating a whole lot easier. And basics like yogurt and cottage cheese? These are exactly the kinds of lean protein that can make breakfast a no-brainer. One of my new favorites is Cabot low-fat Greek style yogurt, with 150 calories and 22 grams of protein per cup:

Remember Zoe's breakfast checklist: Did I have a fruit or vegetable? Whole grain? Lean protein? At least 250 calories? If so, she had a healthy breakfast. Take this yogurt, add some granola for whole grain, and a fruit or vegetable and Zoe's healthy habit is complete.

The best thing about these pantry basics like pasta and beans keep for months, but even yogurt and cottage cheese will keep for a while (at least 2 weeks). So if Zoe can find time to make a quick stop at a grocery store twice per month, she can have a well-stocked pantry and dairy bin.

This week, Zoe made a point of adding fruits and vegetables to her breakfasts. She started with avocados, which she enjoyed several times, once in this delicious-looking savory breakfast taco:


Having a fruit or vegetable first thing in the morning along wtih breakfast helps Zoe turn her quick breakfasts into filling multi-course meals, with fruit salad or crudite. This week she's experimenting with her favorite: Trader Joe's Tzatziki dip and an array of vegetables, including breakfast radishes she found at the farmer's market.

Zoe is turning her guilty sausage- and bacon-lover breakfasts into something healthier by keeping the sausage and bacon and adding fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. She's keeping what she loves, adding more food to it, and feeling less guilty about what she's eating.

What a wonderful way to start the day.