Did you know that an average person opens their fridge 10-15 times a day? And if you’re hoping to start eating better or transition to a healthier diet, it doesn’t help that you always see leftover fast food take out, processed meat, soda, pastries, or worse - nothing each time you check your fridge.
We've all experienced those busy weeknights when our pantry seems empty and hunger is creeping up. We start staring into our fridge, hoping to find something good to eat. But oftentimes it can be disappointing. The last thing we want is to get hangry or give in and just order takeout for a fast meal. We may daydream about having a fridge filled with perfectly prepped ready-to-eat meals, but let's face it, we’re either too busy or life happens.
So how do we solve this and be able to eat healthy quick meals everyday without too much effort? Stocking our fridge with a few key healthy staples allows you to grab a healthy snack, or whip up a delicious, quick and nutritious meal using easy-to-find ingredients you already have. This helps ensure that there's always something good waiting for us at home when we need it most.
But what are these food stapes? Nutritionists have shared which foods they always have in their fridges. By keeping these fridge staples on hand, you can create nutritious, tasty and satisfying meals using the ingredients already in your kitchen, without resorting to fast or canned foods, or that bag of chips for dinner. It's all about having the right ingredients for a healthy diet, to fuel your body, stay in good shape and keep yourself energized everyday.
Here are 10 of the Best Foods To Always Keep In Your Fridge For A Healthy And Balanced Diet:
These include spinach, kale, and Swiss chard which are incredibly versatile. They are meal prep friendly and you can use them in a variety of dishes like salads, stir-fries, soups, smoothies, and wraps. They can be incorporated into both cooked and raw meals, adding a vibrant and nutritious element to your plate. Washing, drying, and storing them properly in the fridge allows for quick and convenient use throughout the week.
They are fiber-rich, low in calories and packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are particularly rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate, iron, and calcium. These nutrients support various aspects of our health, including immune function, bone health, and energy production.
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are nutrient-rich powerhouses packed with antioxidants and essential nutrients. They support proper digestion, brain function, and heart-health. They are particularly rich in vitamins C and K, as well as dietary fiber. Their antioxidants help protect the body against free radicals and oxidative stress, which can contribute to various health issues.
Berries can be easily stored in the refrigerator, allowing you to keep them fresh for longer. They can be washed and prepped in advance, making them convenient for quick and effortless snacking or adding to your favorite recipes. They can be enjoyed on their own, added to yogurt, or used in smoothies.
It is a Probiotic Powerhouse, has a high protein content, good calcium source and is low in added sugars. Greek yogurt is a versatile and healthy option for snacks or as a base for dips and dressings. Also, Greek yogurt typically has a longer shelf life compared to other dairy products. This means you can stock up on it and have it readily available for a longer period, reducing the frequency of grocery shopping.
Eggs are a nutrient-dense food that provides high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals. Eggs are incredibly versatile and can be used in a wide range of dishes. Whether you prefer them scrambled, fried, boiled, or baked, eggs can be incorporated into breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks. They can be the star of the show or act as a binding agent or leavening agent in baking.
It is also budget-friendly, quick and easy to prepare. Eggs are known for their convenience and speed in the kitchen. Whether you're in a rush in the morning or need a quick meal after a long day, eggs can be cooked within minutes, making them a go-to option for busy individuals. Moreover, eggs have a relatively long shelf life when stored properly in the refrigerator. This means you can stock them for a while without worrying about spoilage, making them a convenient and reliable fridge staple.
Stock up on a variety of vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes. Colorful vegetables are packed with a wide range of essential nutrients and minerals, and are low in calories. Each vibrant hue represents different phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that contribute to overall health. For example, red and orange vegetables are rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, while green leafy vegetables provide folate, iron, and calcium.
They are also high in dietary fiber. Fiber promotes healthy digestion and helps maintain regular bowel movements. Plus, the wide array of antioxidants and phytochemicals found in colorful vegetables have been associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, certain cancers, and age-related macular degeneration. Regular consumption of colorful vegetables supports overall health and well-being.
Moreover, colorful vegetables can be prepared and enjoyed in various ways. They can be eaten raw in salads, roasted, steamed, stir-fried, sautéed, or added to soups and stews. You can incorporate them into almost any meal, providing endless culinary possibilities.
A source of healthy fats, avocados are delicious and nutritious. They are packed with essential nutrients and by keeping avocados in your fridge, you have a versatile and nutrient-dense ingredient that can elevate the taste and nutritional profile of your meals. They are a good source of healthy monounsaturated fats, which can help support heart health and provide a feeling of satiety. Avocados also contain fiber, vitamins (such as vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, and several B vitamins), and minerals (including potassium and magnesium). They can be used in salads, sandwiches, or as a spread on toast.
Made from chickpeas, hummus is a flavorful dip that is a plant-based protein, rich in fiber and healthy fats. It is nutrient-dense since the chickpeas provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including folate, iron, phosphorus, and zinc. The Tahini in it adds additional nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and vitamin E. Incorporating hummus into your diet can help boost your nutrient intake. It can be enjoyed with raw vegetables or as a spread on sandwiches or wraps.
Keep lean protein sources like chicken breast, turkey, or tofu in your fridge. They support energy and metabolism boost, as well as provide essential amino acids that are necessary for muscle repair and growth. Including lean protein in your meals helps support muscle health and recovery, especially after physical activity or exercise.
Lean protein offers versatility in meal preparation. You can grill, bake, roast, stir-fry, or steam lean protein sources, allowing you to create a wide range of flavorful and nutritious meals. It pairs well with various vegetables, whole grains, and sauces, providing endless possibilities in the kitchen.
Quinoa is a nutritious whole grain that provides a complete protein source and is packed with fiber and essential minerals including iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. It can be used as a base for salads, stir-fries, or as a side dish. Quinoa is relatively quick and easy to prepare, making it a convenient option for busy individuals. It cooks faster than many other grains, taking around 15-20 minutes. You can cook a larger batch and store it in the fridge for later use, saving you time during meal preparation.
Plus uncooked quinoa has a long shelf life when stored properly in an airtight container. This means you can keep it in your pantry or fridge and have it readily available for months, reducing the frequency of grocery shopping.
Options like almond butter or peanut butter are rich in healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Nut butter is incredibly versatile and can be used in numerous ways. Spread it on toast or rice cakes, swirl it into oatmeal or yogurt, use it as a dip for fruits or vegetables, or incorporate it into smoothies and baked goods.
Nut butters, especially those made from peanuts or almonds, provide a good amount of plant-based protein. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues, supporting immune function, and maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails.
Also, it has a relatively long shelf life when stored properly in the refrigerator. This allows you to stock up on it and have it available for an extended period, ensuring you always have a tasty and nutritious option on hand.
If you’re craving sweets or chocolate, dark chocolate is a healthier choice. Go for dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa (70% or higher) which offers several health benefits. It contains antioxidants, fiber, and minerals like iron, magnesium, and copper. Additionally, dark chocolate has been associated with potential cardiovascular benefits and improved mood.
When choosing dark chocolate, opt for varieties with minimal added sugar and avoid those with excessive amounts of added fats. Enjoy it in moderation, savoring a small piece when you have a craving for something sweet. Adding a few squares of dark chocolate to a fruit bowl or having it as a standalone treat can be a satisfying and relatively healthier indulgence.
100% Fruit Juice
100% fruit juice can provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found naturally in fruits. However, it's worth noting that whole fruits are generally more nutritious as they contain additional fiber, which is often lost during the juicing process. Also, it’s important to note that fruits contain natural sugars. While these sugars are naturally occurring, consuming excessive amounts can still impact blood sugar levels and contribute to calorie intake. It's advisable to limit intake, consume in moderation and opt for whole fruits, which offer more fiber and slower sugar absorption.
By stocking your fridge with these top healthy foods, you'll ensure that you always have healthy options available to whip up a nutritious meal or snack. These ingredients are quite common and conveniently easy-to-find at your local grocery store, food shops or supermarkets. More importantly, these offer a range of nutrients, flavors, and versatility, making it easier for you to maintain a balanced and healthy diet.
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