I spent some time this week cleaning out the fridge, getting rid of all those leftovers, and while I was at it, I packed all the sweets that were still in containers around the kitchen and gave them to friends to enjoy! Now it’s time to restock your fridge and kitchen with some healthy essentials to kick off the new year!!
Eating healthy has never been more important than it is now, healthy eating improves your immune system and helps your body fight off smokers, colds and other viruses. Eating healthy is much easier when you’re ready, just as eating unhealthy foods when they’re available. There are some great foods that you should always have on hand. Get your grocery lists!
Whether it’s brown rice, pasta, or oatmeal, whole grains are great because they’re rich in fibre. High-fiber foods make you feel full compared to other processed foods. They also contain beneficial nutrients such as magnesium and zinc.
Modified from the Whole-Plants blog, it can be used in various recipes throughout the week.
Half a cup of brown rice
Half a cup of quinoa
cup peeled barley
¼ cup of scrambled wheat
Half a cup of lentils
5 cups of water
Rinse the grains and lentils with water and drain.
Put the water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil, add the grains and lentils, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until all water is absorbed, 30 minutes. Flip the cereal with a fork, replace the lid, remove from the heat and leave for 15 minutes.
Separate them into single serving containers or all in one. Store it in the refrigerator for up to a week. Add to almost any recipe throughout the week.
** If you cannot find one or more of these items, you can substitute them for the same amount of one of the components that you can find.
Lean protein, tuna, salmon or chicken
These lean protein options are an easy addition to many meals, from salads to pasta dishes and more. Tuna and salmon also provide omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain and heart health. Keep individual servings of each in the freezer.
Healthy grilled salmon
4 salmon fillets, about 6 ounces each (fresh or frozen)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Half a teaspoon of salt
Half teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning mix or black seasoning blend
1 medium lemon
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a large baking tray. Arrange salmon fillets on a baking tray and season generously with salt and pepper.
Stir olive oil, garlic, herbs or spices, and juice of one lemon together. Pour over salmon fillets making sure to rub all sides and sides of salmon so there are no dry spots. Cut the remaining half lemon into thin slices on top of each salmon with a slice of lemon.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until salmon is opaque and flaky when sliced with a fork. You can grill for another minute or two if desired.
Garnish with fresh thyme or parsley if desired and serve.
Canned or frozen vegetables or fruits
Most vegetables and fruits are packed and processed as soon as they are harvested, thus preserving most of their nutritional value. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always preferred but do not have the same lasting ability. Buy any added salt if possible and if you are not sure rinse and drain the vegetables before use. Remember that 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables are optimal.
Quick and easy vegetable soup
16 ounces frozen chopped peppers
16 ounces frozen root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes or carrots
16 oz bag of frozen mixed vegetables
2 cups frozen green beans, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 28 ounces mashed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. dried basil
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
In a large saucepan, add the frozen vegetables and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rest of the ingredients and cover. Cook for an additional 20 minutes over medium heat.
** I wouldn’t hesitate to cook this over low heat in a slow cooker.
Protein-packed eggs are one of Mother Nature’s most versatile and low-calorie foods. One large egg contains about 75 calories, depending on the method of preparation. Keep a dozen eggs in the fridge and pull eggs for any easy answer for dinner. Egg salad is one of my favorites, there are so many ways to prepare the salad, and here’s a low-calorie option that doesn’t use traditional mayonnaise.
3 very large eggs
1 celery stalk chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon whole grain or Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon blanched almonds (optional)
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
Put the eggs in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cover the pot and leave on the hot stove for 8 minutes.
Remove from heat, drain the water, and pour cold water over the eggs. Peel the eggs and chop.
Add the parsley, celery, mustard, almonds (if using), and pepper, and mix. Eat it as is or serve it with vegetables or whole grain bread. serves 1.
Greek yogurt is fairly new to the scene, but it’s getting easier and easier to find in a variety of flavors. Greek yogurt contains more than twice the hunger-fighting protein per ounce of conventional yogurt. It is a sour cream yogurt and can be used in many recipes. I mix it with seasonings to top my baked potatoes, and with dips to cut calories and fat.
Yogurt sauce with blue cheese
(Can be used to dip chicken, celery, or pita chips)
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons finely grated red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Combine yogurt, blue cheese, red onion, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Put it in the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving to let the flavors blend.