My Fridge: Healthy Basics List
Convenient ways to consume more fresh foods on a budget
Posted March 13th, 2012 by noelle |
A Green Lemonade beauty emailed me asking for some “must have” items that I like to keep stocked in my refrigerator and pantry. I think we can all agree that most of us are pretty healthy eaters (or at least try to be) – but it’s always nice to eat more fresh produce. It’s the crunchy vegetables (balanced with some roasted and sautéd veggies), the beautiful leafy green salads and the sweet fruit, after all, that fire up your body’s natural rejuvenation work. You see the benefits in radiant skin, more energy and a healthy body. But when your life gets busy, stocking (and eating) a fridge full of fresh fruit, vegetables and lettuces can be difficult. Sometimes you get stumped with what to make, other times you get busy and your fresh groceries spoil. This is how I work around these things with ease of use and budget in mind.
My healthy fridge staples
When I go shopping I do my best not to overbuy (which I tend to do when I see good looking fruit and veggies at the store), to keep an eye on the sales and buy produce that will keep in my fridge for most of a week.
- Fruit: apples (2-3), pears (1), bananas (a bunch), avocados (1), bag frozen berries (1), lemons (2-3)
- Vegetables: baby carrots (1 small bag), bell pepper (1), brussels sprouts (a small handful), cherry tomatoes (1 small package), zucchini (1), broccoli (1 small bunch), shallot (1), bunch of parsley (1)
- Leafy greens: 1 box pre-washed baby spinach, 1 bunch kale
- Other: Half dozen organic eggs, package of organic chicken breasts (on occasion)
- Pantry staples: Bottle extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, pepper, jar Dijon mustard
Healthy Fridge Meal Ideas
These are some of the ways I like to use the goodies in my fridge. How about you?
I like to invest in a few crunchy apples and pears because they are so versatile and also keep well in the fridge. I like to enjoy them:
- whole as an easy, on-the-go snack
- sliced in a crunchy salad like this Lemon Rosemary Apple Salad. I love this raw salad on its own, tossed into a lettuce wrap or scooped onto a bed of baby spinach.
- blended into a smoothie like this Apple Yogurt Smoothie with Sage.
I buy a bunch of bananas, peel them, and then toss them into my freezer. I love them in a smoothie for breakfast. A nutritious, low-calorie smoothie is a great way to dial up your body’s overnight detoxification and slimming work. Learn more here. Then try this easy Banana Green Smoothie; It’s on a regular rotation in my house. My husband and son LOVE them.
Avocados are a staple for me. I love their creaminess. And avocados are also a good, “raw” fat. When eaten in moderation, raw fats will actually store in your body as energy and not fat which helps you lose weight in the long run. I love avocados
- sliced on top of salads. Add a few slices of avocado to this Southwestern Quinoa Salad
- incorporated into an easy homemade salad dressing like this Creamy Avocado and Basil Vinaigrette
- on their own with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper
- smeared on toasts (My husband also loves to make avocado toasts for us on the weekends. He will spread a piece of an avocado on a slice of toast with a splash of olive oil, sea salt and red pepper flakes.)
I add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to my water every morning. Fresh lemon juice is also the core ingredient in my salad dressings. I don’t buy many bottled salad dressings anymore because most of them are loaded with processed crud that I find tends to gather on my thighs. This Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette is a favorite of mine right now.
The amount of veggies in my fridge each week varies, depending on how many nights I plan to be home for dinner. But these are a few of the staples I keep on hand to make interesting salads and yummy stir-fries. I try and pre-cut my veggies when I can to make them easier to access and use during the week.
I regularly eat baby carrots
- sliced in salads,
- tossed into a simple stir-fry with rosemary, butter, sea salt and pepper
- added to this Apple Mango Smoothie (2-4 baby carrots)
- dipped into this kale pesto (another favorite in my house at the moment!)
Broccoli and brussels sprouts
I love broccoli and brussels sprouts because they keep well in your fridge during a busy week and they are easy to use and enjoy. You’ll often find me
- sautéing broccoli and brussels sprouts with a little extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. I’ll then toss them over a nice piece of whole wheat or sprouted grain toast
- roasting broccoli on a large baking sheet in the oven at 400 – 450F degrees for 20-25 minutes with olive oil, sea salt and pepper to caramelize it. I love the crispy broccoli tops as an alternative to oily potato fries
- tossing lightly sautéd broccoli into this Creamy Kale and Mushroom Salad
- enjoying sautéd brussels sprouts on their own in organic butter, sea salt, pepper with a dash of good maple syrup
I usually invest in at least one colorful bell pepper. They are fabulous
- sliced on their own as a snack with this Mexican Hummus
- diced and tossed into a salad with baby carrots, tomatoes, avocado and fresh basil
- sautéd in butter, sea salt and pepper and served on top of a baked potato, a slice of whole wheat or sprouted grain bread. Give this Pepper and Broccoli Stir-Fry with Coconut a try. I also love them on weekends in a breakfast veggie hash with an organic egg
- stuffed with this Green Goddess Quinoa Tabbouleh
When my parents are in town, we like to put together lighter, lower-calorie zucchini-turkey burgers (its one of my moms favorite dinners). Grab the recipe here. I also love zucchini sautéed with a touch of Pecorino cheese.
I usually always keep a few cherry tomatoes on hand. They are great, easy additions to salads and stir-fries. They can also be roasted in the oven and tossed into an easy protein-rich brown rice or quinoa salad for dinner. Give this Tomato Salad with Quinoa a try.
I love to keep a box of pre-washed baby spinach leaves and a box of pre-washed baby mixed greens in my fridge. I find these greens will last up to a week. They are great in salads, tossed into smoothies, or even sautéed. I’ll also usually buy a bunch of curly green kale or dinosaur kale (pictured below) for kale salads and kale chips. I also try and pick up a small bunch of basil, parsley or mint to add to my salads and smoothies. Fresh herbs not only add depth and interest to your meal but they are believed to contain healing benefits. Learn more here. Not sure about how to make a kale salad or crispy kale chips? Give this simple and easy kale salad recipe a try. This kale chip recipe is also one of my favorites.
Organic eggs, chicken, fish
I usually make mostly vegetarian meals at home just because its easier for me. I also tend to feel a little better when I eat more vegetables and fewer hamburgers and steaks. I do eat fish, chicken and eggs occasionally. When I do, I try and make an investment in organic meat and eggs. Learn more about the broad spectrum of of feel-good eating and cleansing here. There is a place for good, high quality meat and eggs in moderation.
While I don’t eat too much dairy (it tends to slow down your body’s natural detoxification and slimming work), I do enjoy a little bit of yogurt moderation. I love a dollop of yogurt in this Fiesta Salad and in these Surfer Style Nachos. Sometimes, I’ll even toss a little yogurt into a smoothie if I’m in the mood for some extra creaminess.
These are the go-to staples in my pantry that I try not to be without.
- a good extra-virgin olive oil (I love this one from Bariani on salads)
- sea salt, pepper
- Dijon mustard (for salad dressings, also great on veggie burgers like these)
- almond milk
- bag of brown rice or a nutty quinoa (hot cereals, great alternative protein source – makes great pre-made meals/salads)
- a can of chickpeas to make this simple Warm Chickpea Salad
- frozen berries (for smoothies)
- nuts, including sliced almonds and cashews (to add protein + creaminess to smoothies and interest to salads)