1.) Eggs – Eggs are one of the most versatile, inexpensive, nutrient-dense, high-protein foods out there. At just 80 calories and 6 g of protein + vit. D, B-12, choline, and iron, who wouldn’t want to eat them daily? Don’t be afraid of myths about these superstars raising your cholesterol. Eggs are safe to eat each and every day. Scrambled, hardboiled, made into omelets, used in smoothies, the possibilities are endless!
2.) Ground Beef / Roasting Chicken/ Chicken Drumsticks - If selecting one cut of beef, I tend to recommend ground beef as it is very versatile. Meatloaf, meatballs, lasagna, stuffed cabbage, grape leaves, hamburgers, the list of its uses is endless. Whenever possible aim for grass-fed ground beef. Some grocery store chains such as Stop and Shop are offering grass-fed beef under their store brand (Nature’s Promise) to make it more affordable. As ground beef freezes well, you can buy the family pack and freeze whatever isn’t used, for another dish. When it comes to chicken, roasting chickens, wings and drumsticks are my favorite given the bang for your buck. Though some may consider the bones a nuisance, they are an added bonus as you can boil them down to make your own highly-nutritious chicken stock for use in soups and other recipes later. Of course if you are not a fan of dark meat chicken you can also buy boneless skinless chicken breasts as another high quality protein to have on hand.
3.) Frozen Veggies – Most people don’t realize that frozen veggies actually are a little more nutritious than fresh veggies. This is because they are frozen at the peak of freshness, versus fresh veggies which tend to lose nutrients the longer they sit on the grocery store shelf. Many stores also sell organic frozen veggies. You’ll save money by buying frozen veggies as they’re typically cheaper and you don’t have to worry about them spoiling nearly as quickly. Always in my freezer are green beans, peas, and broccoli. Just heat in a pan or microwave, add a little butter and salt, and you have the perfect accompaniment to any dish!
4.) Frozen Bread – Bread is one of those things that most people love to indulge in! With frozen bread, the temptation is less since you can’t pull it right from the bag and eat it, it has to be heated first. Whenever possible, sprouted grain bread such as the Food For Life line is the way to go. When the grains are sprouted (a process not done for traditional multigrain breads you’ll find on the store shelf), your body is better able to use the nutrients contained in the bread.
5.) Frozen Fruits – Frozen fruits are a great addition to any smoothie for both taste and nutritional value. You don’t have to limit yourself to packaged frozen fruits though. Most fresh fruits can be frozen with a little preparation. Fruits that tend to brown when cut, such as apples or peaches, can be placed in a mixture of water and lemon juice after being cut and dried and then frozen. For berries, bananas, and other fruits which may clump together when freezing, try spreading them out on a sheet to allow them to freeze first, then remove and place in freezer-safe bags for storage. Again, you’ll save money as over-ripe fruits such as bananas or other fruits which may be laying in your kitchen uneaten, find an extended shelf life by freezing.
6.) Organic Salad Box – Salad mixes, such as spinach, romaine, and are some of the foods that you should aim for buying organic whenever possible. This is because they tend to contain more pesticide residue. The 50/50 box (half “spring mix,” half spinach) gives you a variety of nutrients without much effort. Already pre-washed, take the salad straight from the box to your bowl! Add a little olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, plus chopped cucumber and you’re ready to eat!
7.) Butter/ Ghee – I tend to agree with the phrase butter makes everything better! Though often given a bad rap, butter is actually quite nutritious and not the health demon it’s purported to be. Fats are needed for satiety, meaning they help you feel full so that you don’t overeat. In moderation, butter typically will not cause weight gain. High in butyric acid (a compound beneficial for intestinal health), vitamin K2, and vitamin A, butter can add a healthful boost to your recipes. Use it on veggies, to increase the palatability of brown rice and other nutritious grains and starches, for pan-frying meats/ poultry/ fish, or even for simply greasing a pan for baking, you’ll find endless uses for it in the kitchen.
8.) Variety of Fresh Vegetables – Celery, onions, and carrots are essential to have in your kitchen, as they are the base of most soups, go wonderfully in salads, and can be eaten raw with bean dips/ hummus.
9.) Greek Yogurt – High in protein, Greek yogurt can be incorporated throughout your meals to add protein to smoothies, make overnight oats, use in homemade salad dressings and dips, bake into cakes, eat simply as a snack and much more! That being said, not all Greek yogurts are created equal in terms of health. Try to avoid yogurts which contain excessive amounts of sugar and those which contain artificial sweeteners.
10.) Cheese – String cheese/ cheese sticks make a wonderful quick and easy snack, or breakfast on-the-run when paired with fruit or crackers. Companies such as Sargento are upping the game by offering stick cheeses in a variety of cheese types such as pepper jack, Colby-jack, cheddar-mozzarella, and other varieties to alleviate the boredom some might feel with plain mozzarella string cheese.