This is the first post in a series of three – all about meal planning. We all know eating at home and preparing meals is key to managing your nutrition. It can seem overwhelming and you may not know where to start.
Today I am sharing with you a few staples I keep in my fridge for healthy eating. A fully stocked fridge, freezer and pantry is step one in the process of healthy eating at home and being successful at meal planning.
They are a staple in my house. I make breakfast for dinner, fried eggs over vegetables for a Sunday brunch. On the weekends, I will make a quiche or frittata to keep in the fridge for the week. You can hard-boil eggs to put in your homemade salads for lunch or eat for a quick breakfast. Eggs are a great source of amino acids and protein.
2. Plain Greek Yogurt
This is a great fridge-staple for sauces, dips and snacks. I use Greek yogurt mixed with Sriracha (Thai-Chili Sauce) to make a spicy topping for fish or chicken. It’s a great item to have on hand for breakfast with homemade granola or fruit. Greek yogurt mixed with peanut butter makes a great snack in the afternoon paired with apples or simply on a spoon! Plain Greek yogurt is a wonderful option if you are trying to lower your overall sugar intake as most flavored ones have lots of added sugar.
3. Bone-In, Skin-On Chicken Breasts or a Whole Organic Chicken
If you think all chicken is dry and taste-less, then you haven’t had bone-in chicken. I keep these in the fridge or freezer for a quick dinner. Roasted with herbs and white wine, these beauties yield a moist chicken and a pretty flavorful sauce. I often grill or roast chicken to have on hand to put in wraps or salads for lunch. You can cook a whole chicken in the Instant Pot or Crock Pot on the weekend to use in a variety of ways – think salads, wraps, chicken salad, soups and more.
4. Nuts and Nut-Butters
I keep all varieties of nuts in the pantry – cashews, pecans, pistachios, almonds and walnuts. Nuts are a great source of fats and proteins essential in our diet. They are great as a snack. For dinner, I will use chopped nuts to encrust a piece of fish or chicken for a quick dinner. The nut butters are essential in my house for making little ones PBJs but I also incorporate nut butters into my energy bites as well as into my smoothies.
5. Naan Flatbreads
On the weekends when I just don’t feel like cooking, I love to grab these from the pantry or freezer. They make a great canvas for a flatbread pizza. You can use leftover grilled meats or vegetables from the week and throw on the top for a healthy meal that’s ready in less than 20 minutes. These give you the “pizza fix” for fewer calories than a pizzeria deep dish.
6. Wild-Caught Frozen Fish
I keep a package or two of frozen fish on hand for quick weeknight dinners. Wild-caught fish is an excellent source of fat and we should be eating more of it! I keep Cod and Mahi in our freezer because that’s what my family enjoys. For a quick dinner, you can pan sauté, grill or bake fish and serve with roasted vegetables. I use our fish to make “fish cakes” and also fish-tacos. Don’t be tentative when it comes to incorporating fish dishes into your weeknight rotation.
7. Old Fashioned Whole Grain Rolled Oats and Steel Cut Oats
These pantry staples are affordable to buy in bulk and great to have on hand. I make oatmeal and steel cut oats for our breakfasts. We are typically rushed in the mornings – who isn’t? Making overnight oats, Crock Pot oats and granola are ways to keep our mornings far less hectic.
8. Spinach or Leafy Greens
If I am being honest, I don’t love a salad. I throw leafy greens like spinach and kale into my daily smoothies. Greens are an easy way to add a vegetable serving to your day. Smoothies are a sneaky way to add vegetables to your kids’ diet. I have 3 Super Smoothies here (link) to get you started.
9. Frozen Fruit
To continue on with the smoothie talk, I always have an assorted variety of frozen fruit in the freezer. I freeze bananas (peeled) when they start to brown. I keep mangos, strawberries, blueberries and more frozen fruits in the freezer to make smoothies. Frozen fruit is great if you’ve eaten your way through your fresh fruit already. You can add to oatmeal and yogurt for added sweetness without the added table sugar. When the weather heats up, frozen fruit is a refreshing treat to cool down.
10. Assorted Condiments, Marinades and Sauces
I keep a variety of flavorful items in my pantry and fridge to jazz up chicken, sauces and more. Olive-oil based salad dressings are great to have for salads and also marinades for meat. Assorted mustards like Dijon, whole-grain seeded mustard and yellow mustard are a must in my fridge. They liven up dishes and sauces. Make sure you read the labels on these products when purchasing so that you aren’t bringing home items with added sugars or artificial ingredients.
I hope that helps you stock your fridge and pantry in a way that sets you up for success. Having a fully stocked fridge is crucial to healthy eating at home and packing things for on-the-go.
Watch Nutrition Video with Payden and Louis
Learn more about nutrition with this Q and A video that was recorded on the goperformance PTC Facebook account on March 14, 2018.