Keeping basics on hand for quick and easy meals is key to healthy living and a stress free meal prep environment. Here are five basics I believe no fridge should be without!
1 – Cold Brew Tea
Craving a yummy, hydrating beverage? Cold brew tea is such an easy, affordable, delicious beverage to make, and it is an excellent way to enhance your diet with an antioxidant rich beverage that has less tannins than hot brewed tea. Tannins are known to block the absorption of iron in our diets. Since cold brew has less tannins, it lends to a smoother, sweeter, less bitter taste.
2 – Fresh & Frozen Produce
Since half of our plates should be produce, I keep a variety of fresh and frozen fruits and veggies in my fridge at all times: broccoli, spinach, bell peppers, carrots, apples, berries, and other fun items that pack in even more nutrition like micro-greens and ginger.
There are many myths about frozen produce, but this is one of my secret weapons of always having veggies and fruits available when I run low on fresh produce. They are very affordable, have a longer shelf life, and are great when you have a busy week and can’t get to the grocery store multiple times. Frozen produce is harvested at a time when their freshness and nutritional value are optimal, so they often have more nutrition than some fresh produce.
3 – Vitamin C Spiked Hummus
Keeping hummus on hand is great to use for a quick and easy snack, or to thin out into a salad dressing by adding oil and vinegar. The recipe for Vitamin C Spiked Hummus is up on my blog, but even if you are time crunched and purchase store bought hummus, you can always enhance this fiber rich dip with vitamin C (and flavor) by squeezing and mixing in fresh lemon juice. We could all use a little extra vitamin C this time of year for our immune systems plus vitamin C helps build collagen.
4 – Organic Tempeh
Tempeh is a lean, heart healthy, antioxidant rich, fermented protein. I love tempeh for many reasons, but here are my top two reasons. Organic tempeh is made from organic soybeans which are full of saponins and isoflavones which are both protective and powerful antioxidants. And secondly, tempeh is fermented which provides a lot of healthy bacteria for the digestive system. In a single serving of tempeh you can pack in 20g of protein! You can use tempeh for so many dishes including tacos, kabobs, chilis, salads, barbecue, stir fry, or curries.
5 – Leftovers
Being a dietitian, people tend to think I cook and prepare food ALL THE TIME, but the truth is, I live by the food philosophy of “cook once, eat twice.”…or eat three or four times! My not-so-secret secret is that I cook maybe 2 or 3 times a week, because it’s not a secret that I LOVE leftovers.
For my household, I tend to prepare recipes that serve 4, but for larger households, you may want to look for recipes that create 6-8 servings. Pastas, soups, chilis, roasted root vegetables, taco fixings, brown rice bowls, stir fried quinoa, hard boiled eggs are just a few of the leftover items you might find in my fridge on any given day.