Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Must-Have Food Staples for an Energetic Life

Through hard-earned experience, I have learned that if I am going to succeed at consistently eating healthier, I need to keep my fridge and pantry stocked with nutritious foods I enjoy, whether for a snack or a meal. They must be foods that take zero to 90 seconds of prep-time, preferably zero. Here's my list of some of my favorites, and I hope you will share some of your favorites as well. I could use the inspiration. 
  1. Low Sodium V8 - The first time I tasted this low sodium drink, I wasn't impressed, but my taste buds quickly adjusted and now I love it. I don't have it every day, but find it is especially handy when I'm running short on time and low on vegetables. It helps me to stay on track. 
  2. Romaine Lettuce - This is going to sound silly to some, but a few years ago, when I was short on time and desperate for a salad, I started taking two to three romaine lettuce leaves, rinsing them, and eating them just like that, treating them as if they were a carrot or celery stick. I often invite my 12-year-old son to have a leaf or two with me and he actually loves it. Romaine leaves are crisper than other lettuce leaves and so quite enjoyable this way. I feel full without feeling overstuffed.  
  3. Colorful Bell Peppers - This is another vegetable I like for a quick snack. I cut out the top (I actually just punch it in and then pull it out...takes less time than a knife), rinse out the seeds and cut it into strips to eat myself or share with my kids or husband. I love the red, yellow and orange peppers (actually they are all the same pepper in various stages of ripening; they go from green to yellow to orange to read). And again, I feel satisfied after eating this. A great way to sneak in a vegetable on the run with minimal effort. 
  4. Bananas - Takes way less than 30 seconds to peel. The easiest possible snack. 
  5. Any Fruit - Though bananas are probably my first choice of fruit when in a hurry, I like to stake stocked up on others as well. It doesn't take much to peel a tangerine or rinse a small bunch of grapes. Less than a minute and I can have a power-packed snack. I do find that my blood sugar levels benefit from just a bit of protein when I eat some fruit.
  6. Almond Butter - A tablespoon of this provides just the protein kick I sometimes need mid-afternoon to maintain my blood sugar and energy levels. With a little more time, I will eat it with a banana or cut up an apple and put a bit on each slice. I like the Maple Almond Butter best. Yum.
  7. Natural Peanut Butter - I use this the same way I use the almond butter. Provides that mid-afternoon blood sugar stabilizer I need. 
  8. Protein Powder - If I have a minute or a little longer, I like to throw a scoop of protein powder, a banana, and a 8 oz. of milk in the blender and let it whir. this is a food combo that fills me up and stabilizes my blood sugar. 
  9. Yogurt and Oatmeal - I like to take about a half-cup of oatmeal and add a couple tablespoons or more of raw oatmeal, mix and eat. Very satisfying. 
  10. Canned Beans - If I have a can of beans in the pantry, I'm set for making a filling snack or main dish when I'm in a rush. Instructions: Open a can of black beans or other beans of your choice, rinse sodium off, add some frozen corn, a little salsa, microwave for a minute and then enjoy. 
Now that I've written this list, I can see that I need to add a couple of items to my grocery list, namely protein powder and bananas. I'm on my way.

This smoothie may take more than 90 seconds to make but not much longer. Recipe: 1 large handful of kale, 1 sliced banana, 1/3 to 1/2 cup of frozen strawberries, 1 tablespoon of orange juice concentrate, 1/3 cup of favorite yogurt, 1 cup water (approx.). Whir in the blender until smooth. Drink and Enjoy.
With a few Chia seeds sprinkled on top, this smoothie was delicious and satisfying!

 Sneak Peek at Tomorrow's Post: Favorite Non-Food Treats and Indulgences

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