By Lauren Denos: 9/29/2014 (Nutrition)

Healthy eating is one of the best ways to reverse health ailments, lose weight, gain energy, and much more. Being prepared is important. To achieve this, you can plan your meals, and always keep the basics always available in your kitchen. This way you not only have good foods always in your house, but also you have meals planned and know what you have to cook with.

As you continue on your healthy eating path, you will discover what basics you like to have on hand. For some people, they like to do a high carbohydrate diet. Others like high protein. So, adapting to your needs will help you determine what diet works best with you. For now, we will go over what is healthy in each category.

Protein

Chicken and fish can be bought pre-cooked, or you can cook a big portion of it and then freeze it in the correct portion sizes you would normally eat. Canned tuna may not be as good of a choice as fresh fish, but it is great to keep around in case you find yourself in too big of a hurry to make something else. Ground chicken, turkey, buffalo or lean beef are also good options to keep on hand. Always keep healthy protein choices in your kitchen at all times. If you are overstocked on protein, that is fine. Overstocked protein will get used, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you want to know more about the importance of protein you can read more in our article about how proteins help build a resilient body.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are some of the easiest foods to keep stocked, because they stay good for a long time. These are some of the more popular choices when it comes to carbohydrate selection:

  • Brown rice
  • Wild rice
  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Yams

If you are eating grains, then the best choice is a whole grain. More specifically, it must actually be a whole grain and not just a product that says made out of whole grains. Believe it or not, there is a big difference. If you'd like to know why we need carbohydrates, we've got more details about the basics of carbohydrates.

Vegetables

Always keep a variety of greens and other vegetables on hand. Now, obviously, fresh cooked is better but if you are having one of those crazy busy days, or if your life is crazy busy all the time, then frozen can be a good choice. At least you are getting your veggies in, and all you have to do is heat them up. Salad fixings or mixes are also good for a quick vegetable option. Remember to go light on the dressing, though! We've got more information about the huge selection of vegetables, too.

Good veggie choices are:

  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Amaranth or Chinese spinach
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Bean sprouts
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Cucumber
  • Daikon
  • Eggplant
  • Fennel
  • Green onions
  • Greens (collard, beet greens, dandelion, mustard, kale, turnip)
  • Hearts of palm
  • Jicama (really good cut into stips and dusted with cinnamon. Great snack.)
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra (not the fried stuff)
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Peppers (bell peppers and hot peppers)
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Scallions
  • Snow peas
  • Spinach
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Summer squash
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnips
  • Water chestnuts
  • Watercress
  • Yard-long beans
  • Zucchini

Eggs

Always be sure to have eggs! If there is nothing else around, you can scramble some eggs and get some good protein, fat and vitamins. Despite past debates around whether eggs are the best or worst food possible, they are a great food. They are full of vitamins minerals and healthy fats. Now-a-days, they even have Omega 3 enriched eggs, so you have even healthier choices!

Nuts

Nuts are a good hardy snack. However, a word of caution. This is not the food item you want to reach for if you are just in a snacky mood. Rather, it’s better to be actually hungry when consuming nuts. Why? Well, while nuts do have protein in them and plenty of nutrients, they also have lots of fat. So, you need to be careful not to go completely over board with them as they don’t process through our bodies as well. Keeping a mini Ziplock bag of nuts in your purse or backpack is a good idea, though. Just in case you are out and about and are not going to eat a meal for a while, you have a snack ready. If there are no good options for food around, you have something to hold you over. Also, whenever possible, aim for raw nuts. They have more of their nutrients still intact. Raw almond butter is great to keep around, too. This way, if you want a snack but also something sweet, you can pair it up with an apple!

Great nut options:

  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Cashews
  • Brazil nuts
  • Macadamia
  • Hazel nuts
  • Pine nuts

Other Snacks

As you continue to stock your kitchen, you will discover your favorite snack foods to keep around. These foods fit into two categories. The first is the “hungry category;” when you are actually hungry between meals, and you need to grab something quick that has some substance to it. Nuts would be in this category. The other is “mindless munching.” This is when you just want to be snacking. It would be better for us all if we did not mindlessly munch, but many of us do it. So it is better to plan the healthy snacks to have, instead of grabbing whatever is around. For the mindless munchies category, you can make different types of veggie chips on a dehydrator or in the oven.

Great snacks to keep around:

  • Crispy roasted green beans
  • Zucchini chips
  • Kale chips
  • Nut bars

Healthy Oil and Fats

One of the best picks for healthy fat is avocados! They are great because you can put them on almost everything. Also, if you have a chocolate craving, you can mash up avocados, add some cocoa powder and Stevia, and presto! You then have a healthy chocolate pudding! While avocados are an amazingly healthy food, they do not last all that long. One day they are not ripe, and the next day they have gone bad. That said, it is good to have other options in your healthy kitchen as well.

In addition to avocados, some of the best fats come from fish. Fish have a wide spectrum of all important Omega oils in it. They are both a great protein and healthy fat – the best of both worlds! Nuts can be used as a healthy fat as well, but keep the nuts raw for the best health benefits.

If you are a butter eater, then keep grass-fed butter in your kitchen. Grape-seed Oil is good to keep around for high-heat cooking, as well as Sesame and Olive Oil around for dressings. If you would like more in-depth info on healthy oils and fats, we've got you covered.



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-Lauren