The new year is a perfect time to toss the junk, and de-clutter, and organize your pantry and the rest of your kitchen so you can set yourself up for success. A well-organized kitchen that is filled with healthy foods can help you resist the temptation to bail on your diet and aid you in sticking with it.
We feel there are some must-haves to help you prepare for healthy, fast and flavorful meals this year.
Fruits and Veggies
Our healthy kitchen makeover starts with fresh produce. Yes – even in the wintertime. They deliver minerals, plant nutrients, and vitamins that power pack your body so you can fight colds, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and dementia. It is always a great idea to keep a variety of these items on hand so you can eat at least two servings of fruit and at least three servings of vegetables every day.
Our staff likes to stock their kitchens with staples like potatoes, garlic, onions, lemons, and limes for cooking. We also buy fresh produce like oranges and apples for a quick toss in your lunch bag for an on-the-go healthy snack. We also highly recommend having leafy greens to help you amp up the veggies in your diet to achieve your goals for the new year!
In recent years, Greek yogurt of the nonfat or low-fat variety has really become popular. It is an amazing source of high quality protein and has so many essential nutrients like calcium and potassium. We like the traditional Greek yogurt as it has been strained so it removes the watery whey, resulting in a thicker, creamier yogurt and generally yields double the protein with about 1/2 the sugar of regular yogurt.
There are recently published studies that revealed that people who eat an ounce of nuts per day tend to be thinner and have a lower risk of heart disease compared to those who avoid nuts. Nuts are high in fat and rich in calories, so the portion of nuts you eat is key. On the nutritional side of the equation, all nuts are rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats, protein, and provide the body nutrients like vitamins B and E, magnesium, and filling fiber.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
It is rich in a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat (yes that’s the good one) and it is low in unhealthy saturated fats. In the Mediterranean diet, it is considered to be the key standard for a healthy and long life. Over the past few decades, the rest of the food community has been researching and documenting EVOO’s cardiovascular benefits.
Despite what you might hear in the media, we feel there is no earthly reason you have to give up carbs completely if you are trying to lose a few pounds to improve your health this year. Whole grains (like quinoa, farro, oats, barley and brown rice) have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Simply put, eating more whole grains may even add some years to your life. So, that’s good news, right?
Try to get in your diet three servings of whole grains per day.
Yes, we said canned beans. Don’t laugh. You might be surprised that canned beans are one of the most versatile and convenient staples in your pantry. Beans are super rich in fiber, protein, antioxidants, potassium, and of course iron. Eating beans can also help you manage your waistline and reduce your risk for heart disease.
A goal to shoot for is a half cup three or four times a week.
You can also make beans from dry and use them in your cooking and there is a quick and easy way to do it. How to Pressure Cook Dry Beans.
We are talking canned fish. Eating a tin or a pouch of salmon or tuna with enough omega-3 fatty acids will actually help protect your heart, boost your brain power, maintain eyesight, elevate your mood, and of course keep your joints mobile. As a result, most health organizations recommend eating at least two servings of fish or seafood per week.
Yes, we know that the holidays are over. However, you can use canned pumpkin for so much more than just making a pie. We suggest that you stick to varieties that have no added sugar or flavors. Pumpkin puree is a low-calorie item that is jam-packed with beta-carotene, vitamin C, and potassium. Let’s face it. We don’t get enough deep orange vegetables in our diets and the nutrients found in pumpkin puree can help us avoid some sicknesses and improve our overall eye health.