Achieving your Health and Fitness goals depend so much more on your diet choices than your exercise regimen. This is not to disregard the power of a good workout to help keep your body in shape, however. It just becomes so much easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle if you always keep your pantry and fridge stocked with wholesome options.
Here are some must-have food items that you should keep in your pantry and refrigerator.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Mediterranean dishes are not only delicious, they’re also among the healthiest in the world. Why? You have extra virgin olive oil (EVOO as it is fondly called) to thank. One tablespoon (about 13.5 grams) of olive oil contains 1.9 mg of vitamin E and 8.1 µg of vitamin K, which is already 10 percent of the recommended daily values of these vitamins. Where EVOO really shines, however, is its fat content, which hovers at around 13.5 to 14 grams, up to 83 percent of which is oleic acid, a heart-healthy fatty acid. Just keep in mind that olive oil also has high amounts of calories — about 120 calories per tablespoon.
There are many reasons why you should keep milk alternatives in your fridge, among them health conditions such as allergies or celiac disease. Milk alternatives like nut or grain milks also have unique flavors that make your meals more interesting. For those used to the richness of dairy, opt for cold-milled plant milks, like Milked Almonds From Elmhurst. The cold-milling process not only results in a smooth, creamy texture, it also preserves the nutrients that the nuts and grains contain. Other good options are soy milk, which has the highest amount of protein among plant-based milks, peanut milk, hazelnut milk, oat milk, and rice milk.
Fruits and Vegetables
It’s obvious why you should always have some fruits and veggies in stock — they’re filled with vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber — yet not everyone does. There’s obviously freshness to contend with, but this is easily solved by keeping frozen vegetables and dried fruits handy. They contain almost the same, if not more, amount of nutrients as fresh produce. Most fruits and vegetables are available year-round, but if you want something that’s both affordable and easy to eat or incorporate in recipes, bananas are the answer. Just separate each piece from the bunch to slow down the ripening.
One large boiled egg (about 50 grams) packs 6 grams of protein for under 80 calories. Studies have also found that eating a protein-laden breakfast that include eggs helps with weight loss. One such research showed that women who consumed egg breakfasts lost about 1.4 to twice the amount of weight than their sandwich- or bagel-eating counterparts. Eggs are also flexible as ingredients; you can incorporate them in a variety of dishes like omelets, fried rice, salads, and even pasta.
This condiment not only adds some zest to your meals for very few calories (about 5 per teaspoon), it’s also good for the heart since it helps dilate blood vessels, improving one’s circulation. For those who aren’t keen on the sourness, there are various flavors and variants available nowadays including blackberry, strawberry balsamic, the ever popular apple cider, coconut, and various herded concoctions.
Whole Grain Everything
Most of the nutrients in grains like wheat are contained in the bran and germ, which gets removed during the refining process. This is why whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals are healthier than their refined counterparts. Whole grain is a good source of dietary fiber, B vitamins including folic acid, and minerals like iron, magnesium, and selenium. If you’re not used to the taste and texture of whole grain, start with something small, say crackers, to help your palate “acclimatize” so to speak.
There’s a belief that weight loss and health management is “80 percent nutrition and 20 percent exercise.” Both are important components to achieving long-term health benefits, but remember: no matter how good your exercise regimen is, it won’t work if you’re eating poorly, especially when you’re at home.
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