In most of my newsletters, I like to provide a healthy snack or meal recipe that not only is delicious, but also helps to get you closer to that hard-body appearance that everyone is looking for. In this article, I’d like to give you healthy food ideas in a different way. This time, I figured I’d just give you some ideas of what I stock my kitchen with. Remember, if you don’t have junk around the house, you’re less likely to eat junk. If all you have is healthy food around the house, you’re forced to make smart choices. Basically, it all starts with making smart choices and avoiding temptations when you make your grocery store trip. Now these are just some of my personal preferences, but perhaps they will give you some good ideas that you’ll enjoy.
Alright, so let’s start with the fridge. Each week, I try to make sure I’m loaded up with lots of varieties of fresh vegetables. During the growing season, I only get local produce, but obviously in winter, I have to resort to the produce at the grocery store. Most of the time, I make sure I have plenty of vegetables like zucchini, onions, asparagus, fresh mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, red peppers, etc. to use in my morning eggs. I also like to dice up some lean chicken or turkey sausage into the eggs, along with some swiss, jack, or goat cheeses. Coconut milk is another staple in my fridge. I like to use it to mix in with smoothies, oatmeal, or yogurt for a rich, creamy taste. Not only does coconut milk add a rich, creamy taste to lots of dishes, but it’s also full of healthy saturated fats. Yeah, you heard me…I said healthy saturated fats! Healthy saturated fats like medium chain triglycerides, specifically an MCT called lauric acid. If the idea of healthy saturated fats is foreign to you, check out an eye-opening article at truthaboutabs.com called “The Truth about Saturated Fats”.
Back to the fridge, some other staples:
• Cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and yogurt – I like to mix cottage or ricotta cheese and yogurt together with chopped nuts and berries for a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon meal.
• Chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds, macadamias, etc. – delicious and great sources of healthy fats.
• Whole flax seeds – I grind these in a mini coffee grinder and add to yogurt or salads. Always grind them fresh because the omega-3 polyunsaturated fats are highly unstable and prone to oxidation, potentially creating inflammation causing free radicals from pre-ground flax.
• Whole eggs – one of natures richest sources of nutrients and high quality protein (and remember, they increase your GOOD cholesterol).
• Nut butters – Plain old peanut butter has gotten a little old for me, so I get creative and mix together almond butter with sesame seed butter, or even cashew butter with macadamia butter…delicious and unbeatable nutrition!
• Salsa – I try to get creative and try some of the exotic varieties of salsas.
• Butter – don’t believe the naysayers; butter adds great flavor to anything and can be part of a healthy diet (just keep the quantity small because it is calorie dense…and NEVER use margarine, unless you want to assure yourself a heart attack).
• Avocados – love them…plus a great source of healthy fats, fiber, and other nutrients. Try adding them to wraps, salads, or sandwiches.
• Whole grain wraps and whole grain bread (look for wraps and bread with at least 3-4 grams of fiber per 20 grams of total carbs).
• Rice bran and wheat germ – these may sound way too healthy for some, but they actually add a nice little nutty, crunchy taste to yogurt or smoothies, or can be added when baking muffins or breads to add nutrients and fiber.
• Leaf lettuce and spinach along with shredded carrots – for salads with dinner.
• Home-made salad dressing – using balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and Udo’s Choice oil blend. This is much better than store bought salad dressing which mostly use highly refined soybean oil (source of inflammation-causing free radicals).
Some of the staples in the freezer:
• Frozen fish – I like to try a couple different kinds of fish each week. There are so many varieties out there, you never have to get bored. Plus, frozen fish is usually frozen immediately after catching, as opposed to fresh fish, which has been in transport and sitting at markets for days, allowing it more opportunity to spoil.
• Frozen berries – during the local growing season, I only get fresh berries, but during the other 10 months of the year, I always keep a supply of frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, etc. to add to high fiber cereal, oatmeal, cottage cheese, yogurt, or smoothies
• Frozen veggies – again, when the growing season is over and I can no longer get local fresh produce, frozen veggies are the best option, since they often have higher nutrient contents compared to the fresh produce that has been shipped thousands of miles, sitting around for weeks before making it to your dinner table.
• Frozen chicken breasts – very convenient to nuke up for a quick addition to wraps or chicken sandwiches for quick meals.
• Frozen buffalo, ostrich, venison, and other “exotic” lean meats – Yeah, I know…I’m weird, but I can tell you that these are some of the healthiest meats around, and if you’re serious about a lean healthy body, these types of meats are much better for you than the mass produced, hormone-pumped beef and pork that’s sold at most grocery stores.
Alright, now the staples in my cabinets:
• Oat bran and steel cut oats – higher fiber than those little packs of instant oats.
• Cans of coconut milk – to be transferred to a container in the fridge after opening.
• Various antioxidant rich teas – green, oolong, white, rooibos are some of the best. Surprisingly, even chammomile tea has been shown to provide important trace nutrients and antioxidants.
• Stevia – a natural non-caloric sweetener, which is an excellent alternative to the nasty chemical-laden artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharine, and sucralose.
• Organic maple syrup – none of that high fructose corn syrup Aunt Jemima crap…only real maple syrup can be considered real food. The only time I really use this (because of the high sugar load) is added to my post-workout smoothies to sweeten things up and also elicit an insulin surge to push nutrients into your muscles.
• Raw honey – better than processed honey…higher quantities of beneficial nutrients and enzymes. Honey has even been proven in studies to improve glucose metabolism (how you process carbs). I use a teaspoon or so every morning in my teas.
• Whole wheat or whole grain spelt pasta – much higher fiber than normal pastas
• Brown rice and other higher fiber rice – NEVER white rice
• Cans of black or kidney beans – I like to add a couple scoops to my Mexican wraps for the fiber and high nutrition content. Also, beans are surprisingly one of the best sources of youth promoting antioxidants!
• Tomato sauces – delicious, and as I’m sure you’ve heard a million times, they are a great source of lycopene. Just watch out for the brands that are loaded with nasty high fructose corn syrup.
• Dark chocolate (as dark as possible) – This is one of my treats that satisfies my sweet tooth, plus provides loads of antioxidants at the same time. It’s still calorie dense, so I keep it to just a couple squares; but that is enough to do the trick, so I don’t feel like I need to go out and get cake and ice cream to satisfy my dessert urges. Choose dark chocolate that lists it’s cocoa content at 70% or greater. Milk chocolate is usually only about 30% cocoa, and even most cheap dark chocolates are only around 50% cocoa. Cocoa content is key for the antioxidant benefit…the rest is just sugar and other additives.
• Organic unsweetened cocoa powder – I like to mix this into my smoothies for an extra jolt of antioxidants or make my own low-sugar hot cocoa by mixing cocoa powder into hot milk with stevia and a couple melted dark chocolate chunks.
Of course, you also can never go wrong with any types of fresh fruits. Even though fruit contains natural sugars, the fiber within most fruits usually slows down the carbohydrate absorption and glycemic response. Also, you get the benefit of high antioxidant content and nutrient density in most fruits. Some of my favorites are kiwi, pomegranate, mango, papaya, grapes, oranges, fresh pineapple, bananas, apples, pears, peaches, and all types of berries.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this special look into my favorite lean body meals and how I stock my kitchen. Your tastes are probably quite different than mine, but hopefully this gave you some good ideas you can use next time you’re at the grocery store looking to stock up a healthy and delicious pile of groceries.