In today's world, everyone is busy. The easier you make it on yourself to be healthy, the more likely you will succeed. Make the healthy option the default option by keeping your kitchen well stocked with all the healthful goodies you need. This will make it easy to throw together a healthy and tasty meal after a long day. It also comes in handy when are running out the door to have a grab-and-go breakfast or snack.
For this article, I polled some of my registered dietitian friends to see what they always keep on hand. It's funny how many of us said the same things! Enjoy!
Eggs are economical and considered one of the best sources of protein. One research study reported that overweight women who started the day with an egg breakfast lost twice as much weight as women who started the day with bagels. Whether you eat them hard-boiled or want an egg white omelet with veggies, this quick and easy-to-cook food is great any time.
Quinoa (keen-wah), which contains iron, B vitamins, calcium, and fiber, is also one of the few plant foods that is a complete protein. Bonus: Quinoa is easy to cook: It just simmers in water for about 15 minutes. Add some veggies, olive oil, and salt and pepper for a delicious dish.
Beans, the budget-friendly food, are high in protein and fiber – half a cup of chickpeas, for example, has over 7 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. While dry beans take time to cook, canned beans only require a can opener. You can add them to soups, blend them to make hummus, or throw them on top of a salad. Simple and delicious!
Frozen veggies have a bad reputation for being "processed," but the reality is that frozen vegetables are just as healthy as, if not more healthy than, fresh. Most frozen vegetables are harvested after they fully ripen, meaning that they have their peak amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Freezing them locks in many of the nutrients. These veggies can be cooked quickly in the microwave or steamed as a quick and delicious side dish for any meal.
Fresh herbs add a whole lot of taste to dishes without adding many calories. Some favorites include cilantro for Latin or Thai dishes, rosemary for pork, and basil for Italian foods.
Non-fat, plain Greek yogurt – I am a huge fan! Not only does it pack 18 grams of protein per 6 ounce serving, but yogurt also only has 100 calories per serving. I use it as a lower calorie substitute for sour cream and mayonnaise, and it tastes great.
Bananas, another budget friendly food, are available all year long and are high in potassium and folate. Toss banana slices into your oatmeal or blend frozen bananas in your food processor until smooth for banana "ice cream," or, as we like to call it at my house, "nice cream." An added benefit is that banana peels are a feel-good food for your roses and will help them grow!
Dark Chocolate – Last, but certainly not least, this delightful treat is full of antioxidants and flavonoids that can lower your risk of heart disease. Just be sure to buy chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa to get the most benefit.