Ask Keri: What foods do you always have in your kitchen to stay on track with eating healthy?
The only way for me to keep myself and my family eating healthy, consistently, is by having a routine which includes my go-to foods that I always keep on hand. Sure, I love following and creating new recipes, but the bulk of our meals and snacks each week come from the foods I keep on rotation.
Here is a list of things I always keep on hand to prep healthy food fast.
Not only insta-famous, avocados are loaded with healthy monounsaturated fat to help keep you satisfied and burning belly fat. These are a staple in my kitchen. I love to whip up a quick avocado mash with a little sea salt, cayenne and lemon juice. Or, I just toss a slice or two into a smoothie to make it extra creamy.
I love berries for their antioxidants and fiber. I always have a couple types of berries around to eat as a snack, in yogurt, on top of oatmeal, or on peanut butter toast instead of jelly. In the fruit department, I also keep apples, bananas and pears and keep them out on the counter at all times since my whole fam loves them and they are easy for on-the-go.
Bread (including sourdough, sprouted grain, rye)
I love sourdough bread for the taste, but also because it’s higher in protein and lower in sugar than traditional breads. My other go-to bread is sprouted grain, which has more available nutrients compared to traditional bread including vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. The third type of bread that makes frequent appearances in my home is rye. It’s packed with antioxidants!
I have a little obsession with eggs. They’re so versatile. One way I like to incorporate them into my day is as a quick snack (sliced in half and topped with sea salt and black pepper or a dash of oregano). They’re an inexpensive and bioavailable source of protein and healthy fat. I also make egg scrambles for a fast, protein packed breakfast that uses the leftover veggies from dinner. And, yes, you should eat the yolk.
Yogurt is a great source of calcium, protein, and probiotics. I love it topped with nuts and seeds and berries, as base for a dip, or instead of sour cream with Mexican food.
I’ve always got a stash of hummus in my fridge. It’s a great source of protein, fiber and antioxidants. Snack on it with raw veggies or even spread on a turkey slice and roll it up in a lettuce leaf or a piece of seaweed for a quick snack. It’s also a perfect way to have a satisfying fully plant-based meal when you want to skip animal protein!
My produce drawers are stocked with leafy greens like spinach, broccoli rabe, and kale. These greens are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K and iron. And, I always recommend getting in greens twice a day. I usually make a Romaine salad with cucumbers, and tomatoes on Sunday and we use it as the base of a more “beefed” up salad for the next few days. A favorite lunch of my daughter’s is this salad base topped with chickpeas, corn and feta. I also have kale on hand to make a kale caesar for my son, his fave.
Milk (including oat, almond and cow’s)
We always have a variety because depending upon the meal and the person, the type of milk varies. For smoothies we usually use almond, for cereal my son likes cow’s milk and my daughter uses oat milk.
Nuts and seeds
You’ll never find my kitchen without a big variety of nuts, seeds and nut butters. Almonds, walnuts, cashews, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter… yup they’re all there. All are great sources of plant protein, healthy fat, and fiber. I make a mean nut and seed bread and a simple chopped nut mix which I put on top of my salads.
I’m a spud fan and especially love baby potatoes and sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are full of beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, which acts as a powerful antioxidant. Whenever I make them for dinner, I bake a couple extra to use throughout the week. I like to use them on top of salad the next day, in place of toast for breakfast, or mashed as a side dish with cinnamon and a little coconut oil.
Red and yellow peppers
Red and yellow peppers are great for so many reasons. They’re rich in vitamin C and vitamin A, plus beta-carotene which offers good support for your eye health. I slice the peppers as soon as I come home from the grocery store so that they’re on hand and I can easily throw them into a salad, add to a rice dish, or scrambled with eggs.
Seaweed is a staple in my house. Aside from being super satisfying, seaweed gives you a 15% of your daily requirement for vitamin C, and has anti-inflammatory properties to help fight arthritis, asthma, and obesity, while also being a rich source of minerals and antioxidants. It’s a great alternative to chips and pretzels if you’re needing that salty fix. It also comes in the perfect sized snack packs Is keep stocked in my pantry for my kids.
I also like to keep frozen vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, and edamame on hand. Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious (sometimes even more) as their fresh counterparts, so there’s no fear of nutrient loss. Edamame is a great plant-based protein snack that’s perfect alone or to top a salad. I like to prep lean protein, like grilled chicken, early in the week so it’s ready to eat. Then, if I only have 5 minutes (literally) to make a meal—I’ll grab that chicken and a frozen veggie for an instant, healthy meal.
(photo credit: Shutterstock)