Every time you walk into a grocery store, you’re faced with literally thousands of choices. Many of those choices tout the latest and greatest benefit of some new food product. But, when it all gets boiled down, the healthiest foods are those that have always been around – not newly created. Here is my list of the 10 foods that should be in everyone’s kitchen. How many of these are in your kitchen right now?
If they’re not a staple in your freezer yet, they should be. It’s hard to go wrong with frozen vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, peas, carrots, spinach, kale, squasher Brussels sprouts are an inexpensive way to keep veggies in your house all the time. For a couple of bucks, you can add frozen veggies to omelets, salads, soups, smoothies or just as a side with dinner. My favorite way to enjoy frozen veggies like butternut squash, kale or spinach is to add them to smoothies along with a little protein powder, avocado and water. The taste is completely disguised, but the nutrients are all there.
This is the big ticket item on the list.You can expect to pay anywhere between $6 and $12 per jar. That being said, it will also last the longest and do more for your heart and energy levels than you could ever imagine. Coconut oil is incredibly versatile. You can add it to nearly anything you make – baked, steamed, broiled, sautéed – coconut oil works beautifully. If weight loss, particularly through the belly area, is a concern, you’ll be happy to know that study after study confirms eating this incredible fat regularly actually diminishes waist size. Enjoy!
Who knew chickpeas, tahini, olive oil and lemon could be such an amazing combination. Whether you make your own hummus (recipe here), or buy from the store, this healthy “accessory food” is great for dipping or slathering on a sandwich. Did you know that the one-two combo of tahini (sesame paste) and chickpeas makes the perfect protein? All the more reason to indulge.
Eat them on their own or blend them in with a meal. Regardless of how you prepare avocados, they’re an amazing source of healthy fat, fiber and vitamin B5. Did you now that the nutrient absorption of spinach, kale and carrots skyrockets when you eat them with avocados. The next time you make a smoothie, throw in half of an avocado, some spinach and a favorite low glycemic fruit (like berries). You’ll love the flavor and get an incredible amount of nutrients, too!
Frozen berries never go out of style! Add them to morning oats, smoothie, a yogurt parfait or warm them over the stove, then add a tablespoon of honey for a nutritious syrup (I do this all the time with my kids). Frozen berries can keep in the freezer for months. If you’re ambitious, buy them when they’re in season and store them in the freezer for later use. To do this, just wash the berries, lay them flat on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer, then transfer the berries to a separate container. You’ll freeze in the freshness and save some money while you’re at it.
No kitchen should be without a good bar of dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa). A square or two of dark chocolate a day is actually incredibly healthy. Did you know that dark chocolate is a good source of iron, helps to reduce free radical damage and helps to reduce the risk of stroke?
Quinoa makes the list because it can be used in lieu of most other starches. Quinoa is also quite a bit higher in fiber and higher in protein, too! This means it will digest slower, having lesser of an impact on your blood sugar levels. I usually recommend that people eat starchy carbs, like quinoa, in no more than one meal a day. Make this one count by making a nutritious breakfast cereal with cinnamon, coconut oil and berries, blended with a mixed green salad or as a side with a healthy dinner.
Adding salt to your food after it’s been prepared is a great way to control the amount of sodium in your diet, and increase flavor. Sea salt makes the list because a little goes a long way and contains trace minerals that can greatly benefit your body.
This leafy green is an amazing source of iron, vitamins A, C and B6. It’s also low calorie and high in fiber. Toss a salad, sauté with coconut oil, enjoy in an omelet or blend in a smoothie. Personally, I think one of the best part about spinach is I don’t have to prepare it (no chopping required!). Available all year round, this vegetable should be in your refrigerator immediately.
The mighty egg is nothing short of incredible. Yolk and all, whole eggs are a great source of choline, a micronutrient than helps to shuttle triglycerides out of your liver (love that!). An egg or two everyday does a body good. Eggs can make an excellent protein-packed snack, or a suitable meal anytime of day. I happen to be a big fan of breakfast for dinner. Bring on the omelets.
There you have it. Ten incredibly nutritious and affordable foods that should make a home in your kitchen pronto. Do you have any nutritious suggestions for other readers? Leave a comment to let us know!