It is a well-known fact that we reach for high carbohydrate/high sugar snacks when we are stressed and time poor (thank you increased cortisol levels!). Due to our continually busy lifestyles, having healthy foods on hand allows us to prepare nutritious meals quickly, or grab a quick and healthy snack when required. With these five simple fridge staples, you will have all you need to be able to put together a quick meal or a yummy, and most importantly, healthy snack in minutes.
Packed with protein, as well as 20 other vitamins and minerals, eggs can easily be incorporated into any meal and prepared in minutes. Whether they are enjoyed for breakfast on wholegrain toast, added to wraps or salads at lunchtime or whipped into a quick frittata, eggs are the number one fridge food by far. We are often asked about the cholesterol content of eggs, as clients are concerned of the affect they have on cholesterol within the body. It is important to remember that you do not always need to eat the whole egg. When cooking for example an omelette, have one whole egg & two extra egg whites. By doing this you are reducing the amount of saturated fat by two thirds (whilst still keeping the protein). A high fibre diet has also been shown to decrease cholesterol levels, so be sure to include whole grains and lots of leafy greens in your food plan.
2. Fresh vegetables
The main thing to remember when choosing vegetables is the brighter the colour of the salad or vegetable; the better it is for you. Each colour on your plate represents a different vitamin, so try and get all of the colours of the rainbow at each meal to get the most benefits. Tomatoes are a fridge super food as they are so versatile - packed with Vitamin C, the antioxidant lycopene and fibre, tomatoes can be used to make sauces, salads, enjoyed with toast, omelettes and crackers and last at least a week. Looking for a healthy, low carbohydrate snack for when that annoying 3.30itis hits? Why not cut up some carrots, celery, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes to keep in the fridge. If you need something more, dip your veggie sticks into some low fat hummus.
3. Greek yoghurt
Greek yoghurt not only contains much less sugar than the average serve of store bought yoghurt but it is much higher in protein which helps to keep your blood glucose levels regulated throughout the day. Enjoy with some oats for breakfast, with fresh fruit, nuts and a sprinkle of cinnamon for morning tea, add to smoothies and protein shakes or even as a dressing option with vegetables for a daily calcium boost.
Let's start with the list of beneficial vitamins & minerals found in this super food: phosphorus, copper, biotin, vitamin B1, magnesium, dietary fibre, chromium, zinc, and protein. A steaming bowl of fresh cooked rolled oats is the perfect way to start off your day, especially if you are trying to prevent or are currently dealing with heart disease or diabetes. Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal contain a specific type of fibre known as beta-glucan. It has been proven that if people suffering from high cholesterol consume just 3 grams of soluble oat fibre per day (an amount found in one bowl of oatmeal) their total cholesterol is lowered by 8-23%.
The benefits continue. Type 2 diabetes patients given foods high in this type of oat fibre experienced much lower rises in blood sugar compared to those who were given white rice or bread. Starting out your day with a blood sugar stabilizing food such as oats may make it easier to keep blood sugar levels under control.
5. Cottage cheese
Often forgotten, cottage cheese is one of the most nutrient dense foods you can enjoy, with minimal calories. With a serve giving more than 16g of protein per 1/2 cup along with calcium, magnesium and Vitamin B12, adding a serve of cottage cheese into your day is a great way to bump your intake of essential nutrients for very few calories. Add to wraps or crackers for a protein rich filling, or use to help add flavour to salads and vegetables.
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.