8 Healthy Ingredients
You Should Always Have
in Your Kitchen
By Luanne Arevalo
How’s the “new year, new me” project going? If you’re still keeping to your health resolutions food-wise, then good on you! Here’s to making it all the way to the end of the year committed to your diet. For those who are struggling to recover from the holiday pig-outs, ah, we feel you! We’re still not over the ham-queso de bola combo, but alas, it is time for us to turn over a new leaf and start (or go back to) eating healthier.
One way to make this happen is by stocking up on healthy ingredients in your kitchen. Having easy access to these types of food would lessen the possibility of you ordering takeout or mindlessly binging on the unhealthy stuff you have in your pantry.
We’ve prepared a quick reference on eight healthy ingredients you should stock up on – apart from the usual fruits and vegetables of course –to help you get a head start on your health goals:
1. Ground chicken
It’s an easy solution to your hunger as it cooks quite fast and needs minimal ingredients to whip up a delicious dish. Saute garlic and onions, add the ground chicken, season with salt, pepper, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Add a sunny side up egg and you’ve got yourself a protein-packed meal. You can also use ground chicken rice bowls, tacos, chicken meatballs and chicken burgers.
A well-flavored dish can satisfy your palate and keep you from craving more food. An ingredient like garlic definitely amps up the flavor of different dishes, and you won’t even have to worry about unhealthy fats. Use it when stir-frying or sautéing, for basic pasta dishes, or for marinades.
Among the many condiments out there, mustard is actually one of the healthier ones because it’s low in calories and carbohydrates, has no added sugar, and is said to have cancer-fighting properties. Use it in sandwiches, for making salad dressings, or for marinating salmon, pork, or chicken. A word of caution though: it’s high in sodium so make sure to watch the serving – not that you would need a lot for the flavor to come out anyway.
Yes, oatmeal. It’s not exactly the most exciting thing to eat, but it’s got so many health benefits that this list won’t be complete without it. It’s known to lower cholesterol, improve intestinal health, and it can keep you feeling full longer, thus contributing to weight loss. To jazz it up a little, add honey, fruits, or some Greek yogurt – which leads us to the next…
5. Greek yogurt
Top it with honey and it’s good as a snack, or use it as a substitute for mayonnaise when making chicken salad sandwiches. Packed with nutrients, Greek yogurt has a higher amount of protein than milk, plus probiotics to boost your immune system.
You can use this as an alternative for sugar in some recipes, you can mix it with other ingredients to make marinades and dressings, and you can even cure some illnesses like cough and throat irritation with it. Honey also has a long shelf life, so you can store it in your pantry for years. Make sure you get pure honey though – don’t be fooled by the honey-flavored syrup you see in supermarkets, as those don’t have the benefits pure honey offers.
7. Peanut butter
Rich source of protein, lowers cholesterol levels, good source of vitamins, and has antioxidant properties – who knew something so yummy could be so healthy too! Spread some on apples or bananas, or just eat it right off the spoon. It helps fight of cravings and keeps you feeling full longer too.
8. Dark chocolate
Hallelujah for dark chocolate and its many benefits! The fact that it improves brain function has us hooked, but it can also protect the skin against the sun’s UV rays (when eaten –don’t go smearing it on your skin before heading out okay), lower blood pressure, and fight tooth decay (if it has more cacao than sugar, that is)! Keep some handy for when you want a treat; but don’t treat it as a meal in itself or a replacement for fruits or veggies.
Got any more suggestions? Share them with us below!