Reaching fitness goals takes serious effort, mostly in the areas of physical exertion and making the right food choices. The working out part is generally more straightforward than the nutrition part, which involves knowing what to eat to make those goals a reality and keep up with a fast-paced life. These food choices are largely influenced by the foods you keep at home, so it pays to keep your pantry, fridge and freezer stocked with nutritious foods.
Here, tips on stocking a healthy kitchen:
This area often gets cluttered with unused cans of soup, beans, tuna, etc. — and acts as a hideout for our less healthy, highly processed indulgences. Take a moment to clear out this space. Toss anything you can’t remember purchasing. Invest in clear food containers for bulk grains, nuts and seeds to make the ingredients visible and appealing. Organize food so like items (grains, snacks, etc…) are grouped together. Keep more nutritious options in front and push the treats to the back (you’re more likely to grab what you can see).
- Old-Fashioned Oats: Great for hot porridge or grab-n-go overnight oats.
- Sprouted Brown Rice: Sprouting makes the nutrients easily absorbable and it cooks faster.
- Sprouted Pancake Mix: These nutty, whole-grain pancakes are great before big workouts or races.
- Nutritional Yeast: Sprinkle the garlicky, almost cheesy seasoning on popcorn, pasta, salads or stir-fries to add a hit of B12, a nutrient essential for energy production.
- Chickpea Pasta: A bowl of chickpea pasta supplies carbs and plant-based protein.
- Organic Olive Oil: A staple that gets drizzled on everything and used for cooking.
- Real Nut Butters: The cinnamon vanilla almond butter is absolutely delish and indulgent.
- Whey Protein: Add a scoop to smoothies, pancake mix, oats and just about everything else. Look for NSF certification, which means it’s designed for top-performing athletes.
- Wild Planet Tuna and Sardines: Tinned fish is an amazing source of nutrients that fit bodies need including calcium, zinc, protein, iron and vitamin D. I opt for Wild Planet due to its commitment to sustainability and animal welfare.
- Oat Milk: To stock up and not waste fridge space, buy small, shelf-stable cartons of oat milk to keep in the pantry and transfer one to the fridge as needed.
The fridge sees the most food turnover as it houses more perishable items. Try to keep a minimal selection of ingredients here to limit food waste and ensure freshness. Investing in clear containers helps with organization. Replace foods used often and try to limit options for less used or less healthful items.
- Braggs Amino Acids: Athletes need sodium. I get mine by adding a drizzle of this soy sauce alternative to meals. Added bonus, the amino acids help rebuild damaged muscles!
- Cottage Cheese: Often overlooked as an old-school diet food, cottage cheese is a very filling, protein-rich option. I enjoy a scoop as a snack most mornings.
- Kraut: Add these probiotic loaded sauerkrauts to sandwiches, salads and eggs for a flavorful health boost.
- Pasture-Raised Eggs: I’m an egg lover, but choosing a quality source is key.
- Hummus: Use hummus in sandwiches, as dip or even mixed into the flesh of a baked sweet potato.
- Love Beets: I’m often short on time so steaming or roasting beets is tough. I keep packages of these pre-cooked beets on hand to add to all my salads and sometimes even smoothies.
- Grass-Fed Ground Beef: It’s versatile, easy to prepare and iron rich.
- Tempeh: This is my favorite plant-based meat alternative, especially in a spicy peanut sauce.
- Berries: All fruit is great, but antioxidant-loaded blueberries and raspberries are always my first pick.
- Super Greens: I try to keep my fridge loaded with fresh, seasonal veggies, but at the very least, I’ll always have a container of these salad greens on hand.
Stop treating your freezer like a land of forgotten, frosted foods. Busy athletes can greatly benefit from a freezer full of options that make healthy eating quick and easy. When it comes to choosing items to stock your freezer with, look for foods you’d want to eat fresh. There are so many options in this area that it’s no longer necessary to sacrifice nutrition or flavor to eat frozen foods.
Remember to also use this space for future meal prep and leftovers. For example, make extra breakfast burritos, wrap them and freeze for easy morning meals all week. Or peel and chop bananas that are ripening too quickly, freeze for smoothies or baking use later on.
- Daily Harvest Cups: From smoothies to bowls, I keep a variety stocked for immediate post-workout refueling or when I don’t feel like cooking but still want a whole-food based meal.
- Seafood: Fresh seafood is pricey and very perishable. I keep a large variety of frozen and individually portioned cod, mahi and salmon on hand.
- Trader Joe’s Broccoli & Kale Pizza Crust: After trying many alternative pizza crusts, this is my absolute favorite. It’s also a great way to get your veggies and fiber without sacrificing pizza consumption.
- Bone Broth: Frozen options help ensure freshness. Great for soups, stews, cooking liquid or just sipping. The nutrient and collagen-rich broths can help keep you satisfied and improve joint health.
- Veggie Burgers: I love Dr. Paeger’s mushroom risotto and kale options and frequently heat one or two up for a plant-based snack.
- Hash Browns: Making these from scratch is exhausting, but I love adding potatoes or other root vegetable hash blends to create full meals.
- Organic Spinach: This is easy to add to cooked dishes or blend into smoothies.
- Nuts and Seeds: These high-fat, highly nutritious ingredients can turn rancid in hot, humid pantries. Keeping them frozen ensures their freshness and quality.
- Produce: From pineapple to corn, frozen produce is as good as fresh and you don’t have to worry about it being seasonal or eating it quickly.
- Ice Cream: There’s no denying that there’s a pint of chocolate chip or mint chip in my freezer at all times. Being healthy and fit is much easier if you aren’t overly restrictive.