Meal preparation doesn't have to be a grueling process of research, planning, and execution - these kitchen staples can be the key to easy, healthy eating! This first installment focuses on the pantry, and you can look forward to learning about how you can best fill your fridge and stock your shelves with nutrient-rich foods for a balanced diet!
The items listed can simply be stored in the cupboard for long-term use, as these selections aren't going to spoil as quickly as other kinds of perishables. I personally have all of these things on hand - most can be purchased in bulk and contained in large jars or tupperware!
Nuts are high in good fats, low in carbs, and a valuable source of several nutrients, including vitamin E and magnesium. They are also packed with antioxidants, which can reduce the body’s stress response to free radicals (unstable molecules) that cause cell damage. Almonds have consistently been shown to promote weight loss rather than weight gain in controlled experiments! Even though nuts are considered a high-calorie food, several studies have found that the body doesn’t absorb all of the calories present in this sensible snack.*
Like nuts, seeds can be a great pantry staple. Seeds are high in fiber and monounsaturated fats that can promote heart health and keep the body disease-free. This snack is a great source of energy, can help reduce fatigue, and will contribute to healthy hair and skin and muscle and bone growth. They can boost the body’s immune system, and can be a great dietary addition for people with certain food restrictions: for example, providing protein and iron for vegetarians and vegans.*
The dietary fiber found in lentils will help maintain a healthy and balanced digestive system, and this fiber also functions to stabilize blood sugar levels. And, of all legumes and nuts, lentils contain the third-highest levels of protein! This snack is considered a complex carbohydrate and promotes steady, slow-burning energy and a stable metabolic rate. Although lentils include beneficial nutrients like fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins, they are still low in calories and contain virtually no fat.*
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition underscores the importance of choosing whole grains such as brown rice rather than refined grains (like white rice) to maintain a healthy body weight. Brown rice will help keep you full and satisfied for a long time, which can translate into small meal portions. This unprocessed whole grain is also rich in selenium, reducing the risk of developing common illnesses and diseases!*
Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids: protein is made out of amino acids, and some of them are termed "essential" because we can not produce them and need to get them from our diet - if a food contains all the essential amino acids, it is considered a "complete" protein. Need more convincing? This grain can improve metabolic health and significantly reduce appetite, which can make you consume fewer calories overall!*
Both of these foods make for a great base to many meals, and can be incorporated into a variety of recipes for a simple dose of essential nutrients!
Protein is the powerhouse of our body systems. This critical nutrient is used for the maintenance and production of all cells and is fundamental for cardiovascular function, muscle development, bone health, and contains many more vital properties!
This pantry staple is a great on-the-go choice and can be easily mixed into liquid for a simple drink, or added to a base like yogurt for a tasty treat! Protein should be consumed throughout the day, though it’s most crucial immediately after a workout, as the body needs fuel to heal and grow muscles. Breakfast is a key meal as well, because your body needs nourishment after fasting throughout the night.*
Protein should be regarded as a foundational nutrient of any diet - it's an ingredient for achieving optimal progress in physique enhancement and performance. Want to learn about my personal protein program, what kind of protein I use, and when to incorporate protein into your daily routine? Check out my Nutrition Plans for more information about how personal coaching and diet engineering can help you achieve your goal body!
Choosing healthy meal options and light snacks throughout the day will give your body the steady supply of nutrients it needs to stay active, energized, and functioning efficiently (as well as keep you on track with the 30-day calendar program)!
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