A key component to healthy eating is to continually surround yourself with healthy options and keep your trigger foods, or foods that you just can’t stop eating once you start at bay. Here are the essential items I keep on hand no matter what time of year. Having these items in my home helps ensure that I always have healthy options for snacks and meals.
Nuts and Seeds: Pistachios, walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, and sunflower seeds to name a few are always in my pantry. I love snacking on pistachios, I sprinkle almonds on my cereal or yogurt, and I like to add sunflower seeds and walnuts to my salads.
Frozen Vegetables: While 90% or more of the vegetables I eat are fresh, I keep some frozen veggies on hand so that in the event I don’t have anything fresh, I can still have vegetables with my meal. I also like adding frozen vegetables to soup or pasta sauce as a way to get just a bit more fiber in my meal.
Whole Wheat Tortillas: As a kid and college student, I loved peanut butter sandwiches. While that’s still a personal favorite, I have swapped the bread for a whole wheat tortilla. I have a peanut butter tortilla for lunch at least once or twice a week (with fruits and veggies of course)! I also enjoy making hummus tortillas as well. They keep quite long if stored in the refrigerator.
Black Beans: Black beans, or any kind of beans for that matter, are high in fiber and can be a great addition to salads, pasta, or served as a side. Beans also contain protein and when added to a grain such as quinoa or brown rice, they provide a complete source of protein.
Eggs: Luckily I have a wonderful neighbor, Ed Fallon, who has several hens and so I always have an abundance of eggs. Eggs are another great source of protein and keeping some hard boiled eggs readily available can make salads or sandwiches a bit tastier and can serve as a great to-go meal or snack. Here’s a shot of the girls last weekend when I went to pick up my eggs!
Oil & Vinegar: Oils and vinegars have a long shelf life and can be used to enhance the flavor of all sorts of dishes. Another wacky New Year’s resolution I had a year or two ago was to avoid purchasing processed salad dressing. I find that most salad dressings have ingredients I can’t pronounce or contain more fat, calories, or sugar than I need so I stick to homemade dressings, mainly made of oils and vinegars.
What are some of your staple foods? Make sure to have at least two or three healthy snacks on hand so you’re less tempted to reach for the cookie jar. Oh, and about that cookie jar, I recommend you only fill it a few times a year.