We’re about a month into the new year and it’s about time most people already give up on their new diet or gym membership. But we’re here to encourage you. One of the best ways to stay healthy is to eat healthy. And while you could try to find healthy options in restaurants it’s always best to cook at home. That’s really the only way to control exactly what you’re eating and how much. But if you’re a beginner when it comes to cooking here are 15 products you should always have on hand to make healthy meals.
You might be tired of avocado toast by now, but you can’t get away from the fact that avocado is good for you. It’s a great source of healthy fats and it works with pretty much everything. Put it on toast, have it with eggs, add it to a salad, make guacamole, you can even just eat it on it’s own as a snack.
2. Organic Eggs
Eggs are a great source of protein and can be a meal on their own. Plus they’re so versatile. You can just hard boil them at the beginning of the week and have them as a quick breakfast or a snack. You can also have them scrambled, as an omelette or poached. Btw, a poached egg on top of some rice and veggies is a healthy alternative for sauce.
3. Canned Organic Chickpeas
Listen, we know dried chickpeas are even better, but who has the time to soak them for like a day and then spend hours cooking them. You can get organic canned chickpeas and add them to your salads as an additional source of protein, or you can dry them a little and even bake them with some salt and spices for a good snack. Or you can blend them into hummus and have them with some veggies.
4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is your best friend. It’s the best kind of oil to add to salads instead of store bought dressings that have a bunch of preservatives and tons of sugar. Just add it to salads on it’s own or mixed with lemon juice for a bit of zest.
Lemons are another great alternative to dressings. Just squeezing some lemon juice onto most dishes will add an interesting flavor but won’t add any calories. It’s also great with tea, on pancakes, and you can also use it as dressing in fruit salads.
Broccoli has a bad rep because it’s always shown as something we hate as kids. But that’s ridiculous. Broccoli is one of the healthiest foods out there and if you learn how to cook it properly you’ll know that it can be delicious. It can be blanched, boiled, baked in the oven with some oil, hot pepper and cheese on top. It’s a great way to bulk out a meal to make it more filling and satisfying without adding much calories to it.
Cauliflower is a lot like broccoli, it’s a great way to bulk out meals, since it’s very low in calories. It’s also a great way to replace potatoes or rice, cause you can make cauliflower rice or cauliflower mash. You can even make a low calorie pizza base with cauliflower.
8. Baby Carrots
If you’re one of those people who’s constantly snacking – baby carrots are your best friend. You can just snack on them all day if you want and it’ll be good for you. They’re convenient to bring with you on the go or you can toss them with some spices and olive oil and bake them, they make a great dinner side dish.
9. Real Parmesan
Real parmesan is expensive but it’s worth it. It’s got very little lactose in it but it’s got quite a lot of protein. Just a small chunk can last you a long while. It’s a great way to add flavor to pastas and salads, you can even grate a little onto your stir fry for a little cheesy kick.
10. Organic Tomato Paste
A great alternative to ketchup, tomato paste is healthier since it doesn’t have any other ingredients. It’s a great way to add some flavour to a stir fry or even a soup. You can also mix it with some fresh basil and olive oil and use that as pasta sauce.
Quinoa is one of the most versatile grains out there. You can have it as a savory dish with lots of veggies or shredded meats and some spices or you can cook it the same way you do oatmeal and top with sweet fruits and berries. It really works both ways and only takes 15 minutes to cool. Plus it’s full of protein and iron.
12. Greek Yoghurt
Greek Yoghurt is a great staple in every healthy person’s kitchen. You can have it with granola and berries for breakfast or you can add it to smoothies. If you get the non-fat variety it can become a great alternative for sour cream or mayo and it works well as a salad dressing.
13. Black Beans
It’s best to buy just dried beans but if you don’t have the time to cook them you can buy organic canned beans. Just make sure you get the ones that don’t have too much sodium. They’re a great and cheap source of protein and a good way to add a bunch of fiber to your diet. You can use them to bulk out salads and they’re obviously great to make vegetarian chillies.
Bananas are great because they’re available all year round. They add sweetness to your oatmeal without adding sugar, they’re great as a snack, they’re great in smoothies and if they’re going brown you can just freeze them and then blend them into banana ice-cream.
15. Frozen Berries
Fresh berries are obviously the best, but these days frozen berries are just as good. They’re usually instantly frozen so they keep their vitamins and antioxidants that are good for your health. But when they’re frozen you can buy them in bulk and it’s just more convenient. They’re great for adding to oatmeal or blending into smoothies.