When it comes to a diet or healthy eating plan, most people fail when they are hungry. Rational thinking can go out the window, and individuals will go to the fridge and reach for something quick and easy to satisfy a craving—something that probably shouldn’t be there in the first place. Keeping plenty of fresh food on hand is the best way to combat hunger laziness and ensure you make good food choices when you are just tired, craving junk or too busy to make a full meal. Here are 8 fitness foods you should always have in your fridge.
1. Ready-to-Eat Protein
Protein should always be on the top of your food list, and should always be in your fridge. Even better is when it is cooked and ready to go! Cook off your protein and weigh it out into the correct portion sizes in advance. This will save you time come mealtime. Be sure to have a variety on hand. Grilled and sliced chicken can easily top off a salad. Ground beef can be heated and mixed with kale, quinoa and fresh cut vegetables for a healthy protein bowl.
Greens are important, as they pack a powerful nutrient dense punch, deliver a source of fiber, iron, and age-fighting antioxidants. Next to protein, there should also be plenty of greens in your fridge. Buy the fresh, organic, pre-washed boxed salad greens for easy prep. These days you can get pretty much any green you want boxed and ready to go. There are options such as kale, spinach or even mixed greens blends with fresh herbs. Whichever you choose, these options make for a great salad base, or can be added to a stir-fry to up the veggie content.
3. Fresh Berries
No matter what your choice of berry, they all have a few things in common: high in fiber and rich in antioxidants. In fact, of all fruit, berries rank number one in the antioxidant category. Berries are high in flavonoids querticin and anthocyanidin, in addition to the vitamin antioxidants Vitamin C and Beta-Carotene. Berries can be added to yogurt, a smoothie, a salad or even your morning oatmeal. Berries are also lower on the glycemic index, which means, unlike other fruit, they have less sugar. A ½ cup of fresh blackberries delivers only 31 calories, 7 g of carbs, 4 g of fiber and only 3.5 g of sugar.
4. Egg Whites
Save yourself some time—opt for a carton of pasteurized egg whites rather than separating the yolk from the egg. Egg whites take no time to prepare on their own or can be added to numerous recipes when required. Some people even like to use fresh egg whites in their smoothies, when protein powder is running low. Egg whites pack a ton of protein; one cup provides 26 g of protein, no fat or carbs!
5. Blended Essential Oil
Although there are plenty of healthy salad dressings out there, keeping a blended essential oil in your fridge is a great, fast way to get your fat in for the day. Blended Essential Oils deliver a mix of vegan oils in the proper ratio of Omega 3 – 6 – 9 essential fatty acids. Look for cold-processed and unrefined, non-GMO oils. Essential fats in the diet are important to help balance hormone levels. Not to mention a diet that is higher in fats can help preserve lean muscle and switch the body to use more fat as fuel. Pour a tablespoon over your veggies or salad, along with a splash of lemon.
6. Fresh Cut Veggies
Many of us get cravings for food, no matter how much we eat healthy; at some point, cravings do it. One of the best ways to combat cravings and in-between meal hunger is to keep fresh cut veggies always on hand. Veggies are ultra low in calories, high in fiber and provide a source of nutrients. Whether they are just for snacking on or to use for a meal, always have an abundant amount of cut up cucumber, celery, peppers, grape tomatoes and baby carrots on hand.
7. Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
At one time, non-fat cottage cheese was the go-to dairy protein when it came to fitness-focused diets, but non fat Greek yogurt is quickly taking its place. Non-fat Greek yogurt offers up plenty of protein and is low in sugar. This yogurt is actually strained whey protein, but in the creamy form! Add it to shakes, eat it on its own or as a meal combined with berries and a tablespoon of nut butter. A 4 oz serving delivers 12 g of protein, 5 g of carbs and just 60 calories.
8. Almond Milk
Made from ground almonds, a single cup of unsweetened almond milk is low in calories but high in calcium, vitamin E and iron. Not a milk fan or lactose intolerant? Try almond milk instead in your coffee, smoothies and recipes. Almond milk is quick and nutrient rich, and comes in both vanilla and chocolate flavors.