By Keri Glassman, R.D.
Busy is the new norm. We are all busy and on the go, but we all want healthy eats and we want them pronto. The easy way to make that happen is to keep your fridge stocked with the right stuff.
Here is a list of things I always keep on hand to prep food — fast! — for me and my family. In the video below, I’ll actually show you the inside of my fridge and freezer. Enjoy!
Not only are avocados Insta-famous, they’re loaded with healthy monounsaturated fat to help keep you satisfied and burning belly fat. They’re a staple in my kitchen.
I make a quick avocado mash with a little sea salt, cayenne, and lemon juice, or just toss a slice or two into a smoothie.
2. Nuts and seeds
Great choices: walnuts, almonds, chia and hemp seeds are great sources of plant protein, healthy fat, and fiber to keep handy in the pantry. I make a mean chopped nut and seed mix, which I add to salads, whole grains, and sweet potatoes.
3. Baked sweet potatoes
These sweet spuds 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 and use them on top of a salad the next day in place of toast for breakfast, or mashed as a side dish with cinnamon and a little coconut oil.
4. Kefir and Greek yogurt
These are great sources of calcium, protein, and probiotics. Kefir, especially, is jam-packed with these healthy “bugs.” I use them both for smoothies and overnight oats. Greek yogurt is also a great creamy base for a dip with veggies or as a snack by itself, topped with fruit and those nuts you already have chopped (see tip #2).
I also love to keep almond milk (carrageenan free) around. This milk alternative is fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and E. You can add it to your coffee, oatmeal, and smoothies. If this non-dairy alternative is not for you, give rice, hemp or coconut milk a try.
You’ve seen it before, but I’ve always got a stash in my fridge. Hummus is a great source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Snack on it with veggies or even spread it on a turkey slice and roll it up in a lettuce leaf or a piece of seaweed for a quick snack.
Seaweed is a great alternative to chips and pretzels if you need that salty fix. Aside from being super satisfying, it will give you 15 percent of your daily need for vitamin C, and has anti-inflammatory properties to help fight arthritis, asthma, and obesity, while also being a rich source of antioxidants. They come in perfect, snack-sized packs and I always keep them stocked in my pantry for my kids.
7. Hard-boiled eggs
Hard-boiled eggs are a great, quick snack (slice in half and top with sea salt and black pepper or a dash of oregano). They’re an inexpensive and bio-available source of protein and healthy fat. Yes, you should eat the yolk!
You can slice them up and toss on a piece of Ezekiel toast, too. Sprouted grains have more available nutrients compared to normal bread including vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene.
Speaking of carbs, I always keep some fiber-packed fruit on hand like apples, bananas, and berries. They are loaded with antioxidants and full of water and fiber. Slice some apples and bananas and top with any nut butter like almond butter or peanut butter. I always have a few jars on hand. Nut butter is a good source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. They can even do the trick when you’re craving a sweet treat.
9. Leafy greens
My produce drawers are stocked with leafy greens like spinach and broccoli rabe. These greens are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and iron. And, I always recommend getting in greens twice a day.
10. Tomatoes and peppers
I also like to keep tomatoes and red and yellow peppers stocked in my fridge. The red color comes from a powerful antioxidant known as lycopene. Studies show that cooking tomatoes can increase the absorption of lycopene. Sauté some tomatoes and broccoli rabe as a side for your dinner.
I slice the peppers as soon as I come home from the grocery store so that I can easily throw them into a salad, add to a rice dish or scramble with eggs.
11. Frozen vegetables
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 a nutrient loss.
Edamame is a great plant-based protein snack that’s perfect alone or on top of a salad.
12. Sources of quick protein
I like to make sure I have lean protein like grilled chicken cooked and ready to eat. You never know when you’ll have three seconds (literally) to make a meal.
My pantry staples include canned wild salmon and canned legumes like chickpeas and black beans. Wild salmon is a great source of omega-3s and you can make a fast salmon salad with plain yogurt and Dijon mustard or olive oil, capers, and pepper.
Chickpeas and black beans are a great source of fiber and plant protein. I like to make a quick bean salad to top my lunch salads or serve as a side.
13. Cooking oils
A variety of oils is key for different cooking temps and types of dishes. A few of my faves include coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil. Coconut oil contains a healthy saturated fat known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) and this may help raise “good” HDL cholesterol.
Other fats I have around include grass-fed butter and ghee stashed in the fridge. Remember, not all fats are created equal. Ghee is a clarified butter, which is richer in vitamin A, D, and E as compared to regular butter. It also has a higher smoke point, so it’s great to use when making stir-fry.
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