We understand that it can be expensive to keep your house fully stocked with organic groceries and health foods, but there are a few healthy food items that you should keep stocked at all times, even if you venture away from whole foods and organic options every once in awhile. Keeping a few staple health foods on hand means that you will never have to settle for an unhealthy snack or meal, no matter how tight your budget may get.
Health Foods For Your Fridge
Many of the health foods that you should keep regularly stocked in your house are perishable and need to be kept in your refrigerator. These items need to be eaten within a certain amount of time from their purchase date, so it’s best to only buy as much as you’re going to use in the next week or so. Buying more than a week’s worth of any of these items may result in a waste of food and money.
Ground Turkey (Ground Chicken)
You are probably familiar with ground beef as a protein option, but are you aware that choosing ground beef over ground chicken or ground turkey may be adding unnecessary saturated fats and calories to your diet? Ground chicken and ground turkey can be used in any recipe that calls for ground beef to reduce your red meat and fat intake while maintaining the integrity of the dish.
Eggs are one of the cheapest forms of animal protein available, and they also happen to be one of the healthiest. Studies have shown that there is no nutritional difference between brown and white eggs. The color difference comes from the bread of chicken laying the eggs rather than their nutritional value. Keep eggs on hand for healthy breakfast omelets and delicious dinnertime stir fries.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy healthy snack look no further than pure hummus. You can either make it yourself or buy the pre packaged version to enjoy a variety of healthy flavors. Eat alone, on a wrap or as a dip for your vegetables and enjoy the protein kick this smooth and savory treat provides.
A balanced breakfast begins and ends with a healthy dose of protein, and Greek yogurt is a great way to get in that protein on the go. Buy the individualized portion cups and you can take this healthy breakfast with you wherever you need to go. Make sure to by the plain versions as flavored yogurt packs unnecessary sugars and calories. When you have the pleasure of eating from home you can flavor your Greek yogurt with fresh fruits and nuts.
If it’s hard for you to stay away from sugary desserts it is especially important for you to keep fresh fruit stocked in your refrigerator on a regular basis. Choose tart or sweet fruits based on your own personal preferences. Also try to stick to fruits that are in season as their flavor will be more robust and they will be less expensive than the out of season options. Reach for a snack of fresh fruit the next time your sweet tooth starts craving sugar and you’ll be rewarded with a delicious snack that’s also healthy.
Most cheeses are high in fat, which tends to keep people from enjoying all of the health benefits that they have to offer. For instance, many cheeses are not only a great source of calcium but also a fairly decent source of protein. Plus the healthy fats from cheese helps to keep you feeling fuller longer so that you don’t aimlessly snack on foods that are less healthy.
You should always keep a few condiments stocked in your refrigerator. Condiments help to amp up the flavor of otherwise bland foods. Sometimes no matter how good your intentions are, meals just turn out less flavorful than you planned. Rather than wasting the food or eating but not enjoying in try adding a healthy condiment like mustard or salsa to it. Try to avoid condiments like mayo, ketchup, bbq sauce and store bought salad dressings as they tend to have too much saturated fats, salt and sugar.
Health Foods For Your Pantry
There are a few health foods that are not perishable and can be kept in your pantry for an extended period of time. Since health foods can be a bit more expensive than junk food, these are the foods that you should make sure to stock up on when they are on sale so that you can save money.
Studies show that olive oil has some of the best health benefits found in oils. It is a nutritional keystone used in many of the world’s longest-living cultures, and the most important ingredient found in the Mediterranean diet. It has been shown to help reduce the risk of cancer, strokes and type 2 diabetes. It also helps to fight off depression and improve your metabolism. On top of all of the benefits that olive oil provides it is also one of the easiest health foods to cook with, making it a must have staple in every healthy household.
Keeping a home garden has been shown to reduce stress levels and make people feel more grounded. But there are other benefits that are worth mentioning as well. Stocking your home garden with your most commonly used herbs is the perfect way to ensure that you always have what you need on hand. Between the inflammation fighting properties of oregano and the plethora of antioxidants found in fresh thyme, you’ll be keeping yourself healthy without even thinking about it.
A single ounce of garlic contains 23% of your recommended daily amount of Manganese, 17% Vitamin B6, 15% Vitamin C and 1 gram of fiber. But it’s the presence of Allicin that makes garlic the true nutritional hero. Allicin is transported through your body using the digestive tract and it has been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health over time. Throw a few cloves of this flavor booster in at least one meal per day to experience these benefits.
Bananas are one of the easiest to find and cheapest fruits you can buy. But that doesn’t mean that they are any less nutritious than other fruit options. In fact, they contain many of the most important nutrients. They contain a good amount of Vitamin B6, Manganese, Vitamin C, Copper and potassium. They are also a great source of healthy carbohydrates, fiber and even a bit of protein and unsaturated fat. These powerful fruits even have quite a few antioxidants to help rid your body of harmful free radicals.
Fiber is one of the most important but overlooked aspects of a healthy diet. It is necessary to keep your digestive tract running smoothly and your blood sugar levels even. When it comes to fiber filled health foods it doesn’t get much better than oatmeal. Not only does it have enough fiber to keep you full and regular but it also contains calcium, potassium and healthy complex carbohydrates. Make sure to buy plain oatmeal and flavor it yourself with fresh fruits or nuts, so that you can avoid the added calories and sugar found in flavored varieties.
Stepping away from animal protein and exploring plant protein can be one of the easiest ways to cut down on your budget. Beans are one of the least expensive sources of protein available and can be used in a variety of recipes as a meat substitute, making them a great health foods choice. Beans provide more than just protein to your diet though, they also provide fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Not to mention the fact that they are a great source of complex carbohydrates.
Honey will stay in your pantry for years without going bad, but if you use it as a general sweetener you may not need to keep it for years. When buying honey opt for the natural or raw varieties so that you can skip out on added sugars and sweeteners. Trust me raw honey has plenty of sweetness. When you can, try substituting honey into recipes that call for sugar and you’ll have a healthier finished product. You can even sweeten your coffee or tea with it to really maximize its use.
That’s right you get to store and enjoy chocolate without feeling guilty. Just don’t over do it. Dark chocolate contains many antioxidants that provide your body with free radical fighting power. It has also been shown to reduce blood pressure and lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. And as if all of those health benefits just aren’t enough to convince you to head out to the nearest store and pick yourself up a bar of deliciously dark chocolate, it can even help improve your brain function. Need we say more? I didn’t think so.
You may have heard that salt is bad for you and while it’s absolutely true that too much salt is damaging to your system, you shouldn’t steer clear of it completely. You see, processed foods contain an exuberant amount of salt (or sodium) so if the majority of your diet revolves around processed food it’s probably true that you’re getting too much salt. But if you’re eating a balanced diet with whole and healthy foods then adding a bit of sea salt every once in awhile is actually beneficial to the overall functioning of your body.
Never Run Out Of Health Foods
The most important take away of this article is to never allow yourself to run out of health foods. When you do that, you are setting yourself up for nutritional failure. It is always easier to eat what you have on hand than to go grocery shopping for healthier alternatives and then cook those. By making sure that you have these healthy essentials you’ll never have to rely on an unhealthy dinner.
It’s also a good idea to get into the habit of meal prepping so that you don’t even have to worry about preparing your daily meals. All you have to do is heat them up and enjoy. It’s the quickest and easiest way to enjoy a healthy diet and lifestyle.
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