When it comes to eating healthy, you need to set yourself up for success. A kitchen filled with cookies and chips, for example, won't help you reach for that piece of fruit instead. Be smart by stocking up on healthy items that keep for a while and help you whip up a healthy meal no matter how time-pressed you are. Read on for 10 of our favorite healthy foods every kitchen should have.
Apple Cider Vinegar: While the merits of drinking apple cider vinegar to lose weight may be debatable, what is true is that the unfiltered vinegar can help relieve digestion or congestion-related woes and is a popular ingredient in energy-boosting detoxes. Keep a bottle in your cupboard to whip up tasty, health-boosting recipes like this honey apple cider vinegar dressing.
- Baby Spinach: You can toss a handful or two of nutrient-rich leaves into almost any meal, from smoothies to soups to pastas. You won't really notice the taste, but since the leafy green is packed with iron, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin K, and more, your body will thank you.
- Chia Seeds: Add a tablespoon of these tiny black seeds to your breakfast smoothie or bowl of oatmeal for an energizing start to your day. When mixed with liquid, the tiny black seeds swell up, which helps you feel fuller longer, as does the fact that chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber and protein.
- Fruit: Easy-to-eat fruits make for a convenient snack when you're ravenous and ready to reach for anything. Keep fruits like apples, bananas, pears, and oranges stocked in your kitchen so you can reach for a healthy and portable snack whenever hunger strikes.
- Greek Yogurt: Whether you're enjoying it with a few fresh toppings or using it as a cooking substitute to cut calories (try it instead of sour cream, butter, mayonnaise, and more), nonfat or low-fat Greek yogurt is a healthy fridge essential (unless, of course, you are vegan or lactose intolerant).
- Lemon: Squeeze it in your water, on top of your salad, or into your tea: having a lemon or two on hand is an easy way to add dimension (as well as detoxifying properties) to your home-cooked meals.
- Nuts: While they may be high in calories, a handful of nuts helps keep you full while giving you a much-needed dose of heart-healthy omega-3s. Make sure your nut habit is a healthy one with this chart of nut serving sizes and nutrition.
- Protein Powder: If you're trying to lose weight, getting enough protein to build strong muscles should be just as important as the time you spend in the gym. Adding a scoop of protein powder to smoothies, baked goods, and more will help you up your protein intake for the day without overthinking it. Whether you're gluten-free, vegan, or lactose intolerant, here are protein powder picks for every diet.
- Quinoa: A healthy diet includes many types of whole grains, but keeping a bag of quinoa in your cupboard is always smart. The versatile grain cooks up quickly for a hot dinner, while leftover quinoa blends well with almost any salad to keep you satisfied during lunch. These quinoa recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner show just how indispensable the grain will be to your healthy-eating routine.
Spices: A well-stocked spice rack can cut your dependence on salt and sugar to flavor your food. Add immune-boosting, blood-sugar-regulating cinnamon to your coffee, for example, or a sprinkle a teaspoon of anti-inflammatory turmeric into your hearty dinners.