The world of food and nutrition is such an expansive one. I’ve been learning so much over the past couple of years, and it still seems like I’m only just scratching the surface. After Kevin and I had been dating for a bit, I decided to start cooking without grains, in an effort to accommodate him. That first step opened up an entirely new arena for me. Removing grains from meals initially gave me this great void – how was I supposed to fill it? Bread, pasta, rice, chips, oats, flour, cereal – everything! I’ve come a very long way since then, and while it’s not always easy, I find it much more rewarding.
So aside from the fact that I’m doing a Whole 30 right now and have eliminated much more than just grains, there are certain foods that we almost always stock up on. In order for a food to make itself into my regular routine, it must be nutrient dense, somewhat palatable, and cost effective. I will also only be mentioning products that are year round, for convenience sake. I do encourage everyone to eat seasonally, though! It’s healthier and cheaper!
Spaghetti Squash // this delightful piece of produce is one of my absolute favorite foods. Kevin and I have no need or desire to ever eat pasta after eating this. It’s relatively inexpensive and is a food that you can base an entire meal around. Examples of how I’ve cooked it up: a universal pasta replacement, as a large casserole, as a pizza crust replacement. It’s versatile, filling, and has good forms of carbohydrates and fiber (which many people do not get enough of!).
Avocadoes // this all year round treat has served me well. With only eating a few food groups, I need to make sure I’m filling myself with healthy fats. This is sort of my go to. To be honest, I can avoid a dairy craving (like cheese or sour cream) if I have an avocado with my eggs, chili, burger, etc. It’s nutrition stats are off the charts too – Vitamin K, Potassium, Folate, Vitamin C. The benefits of this “fruit” are just incomparable.
Grass-fed Beef // this is a relatively new one for me, but I am all on board. While sometimes a bit more pricey than I’d like, the benefits over regular beef are too many to ignore. Instead of filling us with loads of bad fats, this beef provides those special Omega-3’s. Grass-fed meat is naturally much leaner than other cuts as well. I’m still learning to incorporate this into my budget, so we probably consume 1-2 pounds of this a week, spread out over multiple meals.
Pastured & Organic Eggs // First things first: eggs are so much a part of my diet. Protein, Omega-3’s, Vitamins A-B-D-E-K. I include eggs in as many meals as possible. I switch it up in the mornings: poached, baked, scrambled, over easy. I add them to soups for extra protein. I cook them with spaghetti squash as a type of “sauce.” They are and have been for years one of my primary staples for a good day.
Sweet Potatoes // I have to have at least five sweet potatoes on hand at a time or else I feel like our kitchen is empty. Every week I peel and cut up several of these vegetables to have ready to go for various meals. Not only is this perhaps my favorite tasting health food that goes with everything, but it’s just got so much good stuff packed in it that a lot of our diets seem to lack. Beta-carotene, Vitamin C, fiber, and so much more.
This is just a very short list of what I consider to be essential. There are a number of other great fruits and vegetables, some that are season-dependent. But the further along in my Whole 30 I get, the more of a firm believer I become that nutrient dense is the way to go. While there are so many foods I love and crave often, I really only need a handful of powerful proteins, carbs, and fats to get me through the day feeling great.
What are your staples for staying full and keeping healthy? 🙂