Setting the Stage for a Nutritionally Healthy Off-Season
I know it seems to be a luxury these days to have the time to turn on great music, utilize flavorful herbs and spices and cook a fabulous meal while enjoying the company of friends and a glass of wine. As nice as this sounds, it seems to be a rarity amongst us. We have busy lives and yet want to feel our best. I would like to share some quick and easy ways to have healthy food on hand that is also convenient.
First, commit to one day a week to do your grocery shopping. This may be about an hour-long event (as long as you’ve prepared a list) even if you have kids. Stock up on things that are “staples” and will last for a while. These things include the following:
- Canned beans
- Frozen vegetables and fruit
- Whole grains; quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain bread, pasta, or crackers
- Quality Soups; low in sodium vegetable soups
- Imagine makes Butternut Squash and Broccoli soups
- Pacific makes a great Creamy Tomato soup, or Amy’s makes a great low sodium lentil soup
- Dried fruit, unsweetened applesauce
- Olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil to your preference
- Various spices; ginger, basil, parsley, garlic, cayenne, pepper, turmeric, cumin, thyme
- Low-fat dairy (if tolerated); cottage cheese, plain yogurt, low-fat cheese, soymilk, goat milk
- Frozen meats, seafood, or poultry
Even though it’s best to buy organic produce, it’s more important to eat your fruits and vegetables than not to. Especially with meats, the hormones and pesticides deposit primarily in the fatty tissue so it becomes even more important to consume quality meats.
Once you get the basics in your cabinet, then you are able to add to this with some fresh ingredients each week in addition to the basics. Buy only enough that will last until your next weeks’ shopping time. Fresh fruit, vegetables, and fish would be great choices for the first few days of meals.
Using your “staples” you can now mix and match your foods to get balanced meals throughout the week. For example, put some beans into your fresh steamed vegetables for your snacks, add walnuts to your applesauce, and use your frozen chicken and fresh kale with your favorite peanut dressing. Nowadays you can buy frozen cooked brown rice or quinoa as well which pairs well with your protein and veggie of choice.
Going into the cooler months, don’t be afraid to buy frozen vegetables, proteins, or grains, they are typically flash-frozen at their ripest point and preserve most of their nutrients. It’s also a convenient way to avoid wasting food.
Here are a few meal ideas:
- frozen chicken breast with brown rice, tamari sauce, and steamed broccoli
- grilled fish and asparagus with sweet potato and salad
- egg omelet with various veggies and quinoa
- rice, black beans, spinach, tomato, avocado with cauliflower rice
In a nutshell, as you go into the cooler months, think about soup options, crock pots, and frozen food items that can keep you on track for eating healthy and staying hydrated.
Our Team D3 Nutritionist, Megan Dopp has over 14 years of experience in the nutrition field and has adapted to all of its changes with research and education. She is passionate about learning what is best for each person and focuses on finding the root cause of problems. Nutrition is a lifestyle and passion that Megan has grasped throughout her life. Her knowledge and experience are great assets to include in your quest toward reaching your goals. Our nutrition services can be found here.