You know those fit girls on Instagram? The ones who show off their abs and are always posting about their 'meal prep' and healthy food choices?
That girl isn't me. Let's be honest, that will probably never be me.
I love all sorts of food too much to dedicate my life to eating boiled chicken and steamed broccoli for the rest of my days. However, as much as I love food, I've been trying to make healthier food choices. Sometimes it isn't easy to choose oatmeal and fruit over a stack of pancakes, but sometimes it's just what has to be done.
I've found that the easiest way to start making healthier food choices is to keep a fully stocked refrigerator of healthy things to eat. That way you aren't tempted to eat chocolate muffins or chocolate chip cookies, (but if you are, I have recipes for lightened up versions of both! Muffins/cookies.)
And since the refrigerator is stocked with healthier food options, you'll be less likely to go out for dinner or order takeout. It's a win-win! Your waistline will thank you and so will your wallet. Making your own meals is cost effective and smarter for your health because you know exactly what is going into your food. Keeping your refrigerator stocked makes healthier eating a lot easier.
What's in my Refrigerator:
- Greek yogurt - I keep individual cups for on-the-go snacking where I know I'll be able to keep it chilled until I want to eat it. Sometimes you'll find a large tub of plain (or vanilla) nonfat greek yogurt that I use more for baking or smoothies. I freeze yogurt in ice cube trays and use them in smoothies and shakes. Greek yogurt is high in protein and is supposed to keep you feeling fuller longer. Ideally you're supposed to choose plain or vanilla nonfat or low fat yogurt, but I'm a sucker for strawberry puree on the bottom.
- Fresh fruits - this is a big one. If you keep fresh fruits on hand you'll be more likely to actually eat them. Since they don't have an unlimited shelf life like other foods, I'm more tempted to eat them before they spoil. That way I wouldn't have wasted money buying something I never ate. My favorite fruits (in no particular order) are oranges, apples, strawberries, pineapple and grapes. I like fruits that don't require a lot of prepping or cutting. Fruits that I can just toss in my bag and go on my merry way with are my favorites. Do you have strawberries, pineapple and mango? Try my rendition of the Turning Point's fruit bruschetta <3
- Greens - I will most always have a bag of romaine lettuce in my fridge. Sometimes there's spinach, sometimes there isn't. I just can't bring myself to jump on the kale train. It just doesn't have a good texture and that's what makes or breaks it for me with trying new foods.
- An assortment of cheeses - I try to keep some mini babybels around for snacking on-the-go, shredded or fresh mozzarella for Italian dishes I try to make for dinner, cheddar (shredded or by the block) for taco nights or when I simply just need a quesadilla and nothing else will do. Cheddar also goes well on chili or homemade nachos. We keep sliced American and sometimes provolone cheese around here too for sandwiches. Usually turkey or grilled cheese.
- A frightening amount of condiments - you never know when you'll need 3 bottles of BBQ sauce or a dash of sriracha, or a large quantity of salad dressings. We have way too many of all of these things.
- Almond milk - it's a nice low-cal alternative from using cow's milk. I use almond milk mostly for shakes and smoothies, and sometimes in my cereal.
- Eggs - I'll mostly whip up one or two of these for breakfasts, but I also like to hard boil them to eat as a snack or throw on top of a salad. Eggs also come in handy for when you need an egg wash, for say, chicken parm or chicken francaise.
- Potatoes - not necessarily the lowest calorie option, but if you're in the mood for mashed potatoes or fries, making them at home is incredibly healthier than going out to eat and getting them.
- Pre-cooked brown rice or quinoa - Making a big batch at the beginning of the week (also known as 'meal prep') saves time on wondering what kind of side to make/waiting the recommended 20-45 minute wait time to cook individual batches of rice or quinoa. It's been a time saver, for sure.
- Orange juice - my favorite breakfast time beverage. Recently I've been buying the 50% less calorie and sugar kind, and I haven't really missed the old stuff. The '50' variety tastes a little milder than regular orange juice, if that makes any sense.
- Regular butter - I refuse to buy margarine. I have never liked it and I'm pretty sure it's mostly chemicals anyway. Full fat butter is made from ingredients I can pronounce. I use butter mostly for baking, but sometimes you'll find me putting a little sliver on some whole wheat toast. Or on roasted garlic bread with meatballs.
- Onions, red & white - I'm a big fan of onions and will cut them up and throw them into anything if people allow it. My usuals include sauteed for burger topping, diced with peppers for a morning egg scramble, sliced thin and tossed into a cucumber salad, or sauteed and mixed in with pierogies. Or a stir fry. Onions are very versatile.
- Protein - this is most always grilled or baked chicken with the occasional ground turkey or ground beef. It's easy to have this pre-cooked to chop up and toss onto a salad or into a stir fry for a quick and protein-packed lunch or dinner. I'm all about saving time when it comes to making meals. Unless we're talking risotto. Then there's no time saving...ever.
What do you keep in your refrigerator? Do you have any tips for healthier eating?
P.S. Disregard the cookie dough ice cream in the freezer...I'm just holding onto it for a friend?