How are we supposed to eat healthy if we don’t have the foods at home to do so? An essential step in leading a healthy lifestyle is having a well-stocked kitchen. You know that you should not be ordering/dining out for every meal. So build a kitchen that you can walk into and find it easy to make a healthy meal or pick a healthy snack. Understandably, it might also not be realistic to cook everything you eat in a day. However, having these kitchen staples will gives you that option, and create a more brighter and more lively environment.
These staples should be as unprocessed and unrefined as possible. If your kitchen is filled with processed junk food, you are going to want processed junk food. It is as simple as that. Of course I have some of this in my kitchen because I live with other people and also enjoy these foods sometimes. It is important to healthier options alongside these.
I know it can get expensive buying more health foods, but the high quality protein in all of these foods will keep you full for longer, and therefore you won’t need to restock as much. You simply need to create that routine of filling your pantry and fridge with foods that will allow you to follow healthier habits on a regular basis. Consistency is so important; After a while, you will start to become more and more familiar to these changes, and they will become a part of your routine.
- Berries – Berries provide so many nutrients and can be used in so many ways. They are loaded with antioxidants and fiber. I pretty much always have blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries in my fridge. Frozen berries are a great alternative if you can’t buy fresh. I use them in my smoothies, yogurt/acai bowls, pancakes, oatmeal, etc. They are even delicious just by themselves.
- Nuts (+ their butters) & Seeds – Although you may just see them as high in fat and calories, nuts and seeds improve your health in so many ways. They are one of the best forms of healthy fat and are a good source of protein. Nuts are rich in Vitamin E, magnesium, and calcium. Nut butters also provide this variety of helpful nutrients and are extremely delicious. Similar to nuts, most seeds are high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats. My favorites include walnuts, almonds, pecans, chia seeds, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Throw them in a smoothie, yogurt bowl, salad, sauce, etc.
- Almond milk – Nut milks have been becoming very popular recently. The loss of dairy (calcium) is made up by other nutrients almond milk provides us with. Make sure you are buying unsweetened almond milk, and you will get 1 cup for only 30 calories. Although it is unsweetened, it does not taste bitter at all, it actually has a nice nutty flavor. It is a great option for you if you are vegan, intolerant to dairy, but even if you are not. I use almond milk in my coffee every day, which is why it is a staple in my refrigerator. I also use it when baking sometimes, in my smoothies, and more.
- A leafy green – Leafy greens are some of the healthiest foods you can incorporate into your diet. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. One of the most popular and one of my favorites is spinach. There are so many different ways it can be used. You can use it in a lunch/dinner dish, but you can also throw it in your smoothies to add important servings of iron and magnesium. Some of my other favorites include kale, arugula, and broccoli rabe.
- Dark chocolate – As I have written before, one of my most favorite foods is chocolate, so dark chocolate is a kitchen staple for me. It actually has so many health benefits, so you are able to eat dark chocolate and not feel the guilt (in moderation of course). This depends on which dark chocolate it is because some are still loaded with added sugars, but if you buy one with a high cacao content, it will be loaded with antioxidants which have such positive affects for your health. Dark chocolate is also known to help cognition, strengthen memory, and decrease stress levels.
- Gluten-free pasta/ a gluten-free tortilla – Although I do not experience bad sensitivity to gluten, I try to eat gluten-free whenever I can. At home, I always have a gluten-free pasta and/or tortilla. I usually have chickpea pasta and buy a range of different flour types for tortillas (chickpea, cassava, almond, etc). These pastas have twice the protein and four times the fiber than that of regular pasta. This content fills you up faster and keeps you full for longer.
- Oats – Whether it is hot oatmeal, overnight oats, baked goods, or pancakes, oats are a kitchen staple for me. There are many different ways to dress oats up, but they are typically very easy to prepare. They are naturally gluten-free and high in soluble fiber (dissolves in water, therefore improving digestion). As a result of this high water and fiber content, oats will keep you full for longer.
This might be a process of trial and error, but having these staples and other healthy foods will allow you to walk out of your kitchen feeling satisfied and energized! Overtime, you will begin to develop the habits to feel good and still enjoy your self!