Many members ask our weight loss physician which essentials they should have in their pantries and refrigerators at all times. Planning in advance is key to eating healthy—it stops you from hitting the vending machines or going through the drive-thru when time is short or you’re on the go. Even when there is no time to cook, you can throw together healthy snacks, meals and smoothies if you have a few of the following items on hand.
Read on to see five essentials that our weight loss doctor recommends stocking up on, whether you’re trying to lose weight or attain better health through nutrition.
1. Fruit. This should be a no-brainer. Smoothies are a lifesaver when you’re on the go. If you can’t hit the store or farmers’ market all the time, frozen fruit is an excellent alternative to fresh. Just make sure that the frozen fruit you buy isn’t packed with added sugars. Apples, peaches and mangoes make an excellent base for smoothies, while berries can add a flavorful antioxidant punch to everything from cereal, steel-cut oatmeal and pancakes to salads and wraps.
2. Veggies. Both fresh and frozen veggies can save the day in a pinch. Stir fry them with a handful of nuts for a fiber-rich meal with healthy fats. Opt for organic when possible and stay away from sauces and those seasoning packets that come with frozen vegetables whenever you can.
3. Beans. Legumes are an excellent source of protein and fiber, making them very filling—ideal for those following diets and weight management programs. Toss them into salads, soups, casseroles or put them into a spinach or whole-wheat tortilla to make a healthy burrito, quesadilla or wrap.
4. Seed and nut butters. Seed and nut butters are filling and packed with healthy fats that benefit cardiovascular health, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and can decrease risk of obesity. However, they need to be eaten in moderation—even though they contain healthy fat, they can easily be overdone. As with everything—moderation is key!
5. Herbs and spices. Not only do herbs and spices add zing to your meal, most are loaded with beneficial antioxidants and properties that have shown to boost metabolism. Everything from cinnamon and ginger to cayenne pepper and garlic powder can help improve your overall health.
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