Man grilling

As guys race through life, many of us forget to make a pit stop and properly fuel our bodies. Fast food and microwave meals become routine, and our cooking skills get rusty.

It’s time for men to dust off their cutlery and reclaim a spot at the stove. Just follow our list of essential ingredients to keep in-house, and take a simple approach to cooking.

Keep balance and freshness at the top of your list when filling the fridge. Processed foods are cheap for a reason, says nutritionist Emily Ziedman, of Passionate Nutrition counseling service in Seattle, Wash.

“It’s always nice to have fresh greens to work with, a grain such as quinoa or brown rice, and a quality protein such as free-range chicken, grass-fed beef or wild-caught salmon,” Ziedman says.

“If you are on a budget, buy conventional produce and spend the bulk of your money on quality meat.”

A fridge full of delicious, nutritious food still doesn’t make you a cook. You have to combine things and prepare them right, but it’s not as daunting as you think.

Every man should invest in a slow cooker, Ziedman says. This affordable appliance takes the hassle out of many meals, and you’ll never have to cook the same thing twice.

“Anything made in a crock pot will be very easy and time efficient,” Ziedman says. “Use any combinations of vegetables and proteins, add a sauce, set it to cook and walk away.”

9 Super Staples to Keep in the Kitchen:

  • Canned tuna in water, not oil
  • Canned beans—navy, pinto, black, kidney
  • Fresh fish
  • Chicken
  • Brown rice
  • Fresh or frozen produce
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • honey for an all-purpose sweetener