While I blog about exercise and fitness most of the time, I still know a thing or two about food. I really enjoy cooking, growing fruits and vegetables in my backyard, and eating healthy foods. After all, food is fuel. It gets me through my workouts (and my long workdays), helping me stay focused and energetic. I thought that some of you might be interested to see what I like to eat, so I took some photos of my refrigerator to share!
In the photos and lists here, you'll probably notice how most of the foods I eat are minimally processed, natural and organic. I feel like I'm investing in my health and my future when I spend money on fresh, high-quality foods, and I believe in the health and environmental benefits of organics. You won't find many mainstream food products with long ingredients lists in my kitchen. But you will find foods that are naturally healthy and delicious!
(Yes, it's always this organized!)
Drinks: Soymilk (for baking and cereal), whole milk from a local dairy (notice the returnable glass jars), and a Brita water filter (my beverage of choice). It may seem crazy to some people, but I do not drink juice, soda, tea or any other beverages simply because I don't like them. Just plain water for me!
Butter/Margarine: I use both! I like real butter for baking. I like Earth Balance (a trans-fat-free margarine) for toast, homemade popcorn, etc.
Breads and grains: Sprouted grain bread is my favorite (I buy Food for Life Ezekiel 4:9). I also use whole grain pita and tortillas from Trader Joe's (for quick wraps and burritos), and ready-made pizza dough from Trader Joe's (I make a veggie-loaded homemade pizza once a week).
Dairy and protein: Extra firm tofu (for main dishes, smoothies and even baked goods), mozzarella (for pizza), cheddar (for sandwiches and burritos), and goat cheese (I could have a love affair with goat cheese. It is THAT good on salads.), eggs (an excellent protein source, I'll eat these for breakfast, lunch and dinner!), cooked beans (I buy canned black, garbanzo and refried beans and use them throughout the week in salads, wraps, pastas, homemade veggie burgers and more), and natural peanut butter (for toast, paired with apples, and baked goods). I keep large tubs of yogurt on hand from time to time, but to be honest, I'm not a yogurt person. I buy the full-fat variety (it tastes so much better!) and mostly use it in smoothies or baked goods. I also store nuts like raw almonds, pine nuts, and walnuts (for cereal, granola, salads and more) in the fridge--exposing their oils to light and air can make the go rancid, but keeping them in the fridge will extend their shelf life.
Fruits and vegetables: The selection in my refrigerator varies with the season. Right now, I've got pears, apples (I will only eat Pink Ladies) and oranges, which I eat as snacks during the day. I always have bagged/washed spinach and salad greens on hand for quick lunches and additions to soups, wraps, pizzas, and more. I also prepare things like red onions, cucumbers, carrots, celery and other fresh veggies by chopping and storing them in the fridge for quicker meal preparation during the week.
Dressings, condiments and extras: I always keep fresh salsa (Pico de Gallo) in the fridge because it is one of my ultimate favorite foods. I add it to salads, burritos, breakfast wraps, frittatas—everything! It adds a lot of flavor and saves me time. Salad dressings are another staple—anything by Seeds for Change is good in my book. I also use blackstrap molasses (an iron-rich sweetener for baked goods), lemon juice (instead of juicing lemons), vegetable broth (to cook soups and grains), and Trader Joe's dark chocolate syrup (so good!) on a regular basis. Like nuts, I store extra olive oil in the fridge to keep the oil away from light, heat and air.
I know I should eat more fresh produce, but in truth, I rely on frozen most of the time. It's just easier and it saves me a lot of prep time. Here are my staples, along with what I use them for.
Veggies: I always stock up on broccoli (my favorite vegetable), corn, peas, green beans, edamame (shelled and in the pod), artichokes (also a favorite, I add it to pizza and pasta), and occasionally, spinach (for soups). I also make pumpkin and butternut squash puree from scratch and freeze it so that I can make yummy pies, waffles and muffins year-round.
Fruit: Frozen fruit is great for smoothies and baked goods. I always keep wild blueberries, strawberries, pineapple chunks, and raspberries in my freezer.
Grains: I love Trader Joe's frozen brown rice. It is a major time saver (ready in 3 minutes!) and it's relatively inexpensive. I also stock up extra bread, whole grain pie crusts (I love pie!), and Trader Joe's frozen naan (to pair with my Indian dinners at home).
Convenience foods: I don't buy many frozen convenience foods, but when I do, I choose Amy's or Trader Joe's single-serving burritos and lasagnas for quick lunches at work. I'll usually add a quick salad or additional frozen veggies to meals like this to boost their nutrition (and filling power). If I took this photo a week earlier, you would have seen some ice cream in here, too…but that's long gone!
This list may seem boring, but all of these foods come together to create delicious meals all week long, from vegetable-filled frittatas and homemade sweet potato pie to spicy veggie-tofu skewers in peanut sauce and the most delicious breakfast burritos ever. I never deprive myself of what I really want to eat, but I do find that when I keep healthy foods around, I eat more of them. When you stock your kitchen with healthy choices, you have to learn how to prepare them—otherwise there'd be no dinner!
Consider the fact that every cell in your body is made from the food you eat; that every bodily process—from exercising to thinking—is counting on the foods you eat for fuel. I'd rather be made out of oranges, fresh eggs and beans than burgers, chips and processed pudding any day. Wouldn't you?
Do you think it's helpful to see how the "experts" really eat and exercise? Would you like to see more stories like this one (if so, share your ideas below), or am I just flattering myself?
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