Time and planning are the two biggest saboteurs of good nutrition. So what should you do when your week gets over scheduled and out of control? Always make sure your house is stocked with essential non-perishables. Having these healthy staples on hand will offer an on-the-go meal and can be the difference between a quick run through the grocery store or an hour long extravaganza!
(Quick note: If you are wondering about the shelf/freezer life of these items, check out this article.)
Stock Your Pantry
- Cold Cereal – Look for options with equal amount of sugar and fiber.
- Hot Cereal – Slow cooked oatmeal is the best option.
- Canned Tuna – Make sure it’s packed in water and not oil.
- Brown Rice – A quick, healthy staple that accommodates most dishes.
- Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) – This is a rice alternative that is high in protein.
- 100% Whole Wheat Pasta
- 100% Whole Wheat Bread/Tortillas – If you don’t eat these very often, keep them in the freezer.
- Raw Nuts – Walnuts and almonds are my favorite. Watch the serving size!
- Canned Beans & Lentils – Remember to rinse before you eat them to reduce the sodium.
- Low Sodium Soups
- Low Sodium Pasta Sauce
- Low Sodium Soy Sauce – This still has quite a bit of sodium so combine it with an oil or vinegar. A little will go a long way.
- Almond Butter
- Fresh Ground Pepper
- Olive Oil
Stock Your Freezer
- Frozen Chicken – Either individually frozen or separate them into freezer bags.
- Frozen Fish – Again, separate into freezer bags before freezing.
- Frozen Veggies – These are perfect to throw in a quick stir-fry and much healthier than canned.
- Frozen Fruit – Great for a quick smoothie or a sweet snack.
- Veggie Burgers
- Turkey Burgers – These are great as a burger or you can break them up and mix them with sauce and pasta.
Remember, FRESH produce should be the foundation of every athlete’s diet. If you have these above staples on hand, you will always have something to combine with your fruits & vegetables for a quick and healthy meal!
Tara Coleman is a Clinical Nutritionist in San Diego, CA. She blogs twice a month with “Tara’s Friday Bite.” Leave us your comments with ideas for future topics or email Tara directly firstname.lastname@example.org.