I’ve built my list of 7 healthy ingredients I always keep on hand over the past several years since living on my own. I’ve found that by making certain choices when it comes to the ingredients I put into my meals and snacks, I have been able to not only reach a weight I’m happy with, but also pretty easily maintain it.
I never thought that I’d feel the best I’ve ever felt about my body once I had kids. But the truth is that I’ve never felt as good about myself as I have in the past four years. A major factor in my weight loss has been nursing my babies, but things started turning around for me even before having my first baby, and that’s thanks to the way I prepare my food.
I actually don’t mind substitutions most of the time, which is lucky for me. If I don’t like something, though, I’m not going to stick with it just because it’s better for me. For that reason, I’m always looking for ways to make healthy food taste good. You know what? It’s not that hard! Because food naturally tastes good. Unfortunately, I think we have spoiled our taste buds so badly that we may not enjoy the natural flavors of food anymore.
I used to go to pinterest looking for “healthy” snacks. Often times the ingredients would be things I never had on hand, so I’d dismiss the recipe and give up. Finally, I decided to try out some of the ingredients I never would have bought otherwise. Once I had the ingredients, I found tons of recipes to try. I easily used the ingredients up! Now, I always keep these things on hand so I can easily whip up a batch of energy bars or healthy pancakes or my favorite muffins.
One more thing: I’m not in any position to stay stocked up on expensive specialty foods, so notice, most of these ingredients are from Sam’s Club or Aldi, or they’re store brand. The protein powder and the sunbutter I usually get on Amazon.
This protein powder is the best! I used to be freaked out about the ingredients in protein powder, so I never wanted to buy it. A friend introduced me to this and I was sold. I like that it’s plant based and soy free. It also adds a great flavor to baked goods. I personally don’t like protein shakes, but my husband will occasionally make one and seems to like it, if you’re into that. I either order it on Amazon or get it on sale at my local natural food store.
I’m allergic to nuts- actually, I need to be re-tested. But since my experience on Liberty Island (which you can read about here), I’ve steered clear of them. This is a great substitute for peanut butter. For a while I was eating a tasty soy butter, but then I changed my tune on eating soy, so I switched to this and I honestly prefer it!
I think it works for everything you’d use peanut butter for: sandwiches, celery, peanut butter balls covered in chocolate (mmm a Christmas favorite!), etc. I often use this to make energy balls and energy bars, which my kids love! It also comes in handy to have around in case I need an easy lunch everyone will enjoy. You can get this at any grocery store, but I actually have a subscription for it through Amazon because I use so much of it!
OK, here is something I would have thought, in the past, was too out there to keep on hand. Chia seeds seemed like the kind of thing only the rich and famous would keep around (I’m a simple woman, people). Anyway, you may recognize the bag. I get these from Aldi- that incredible, inexpensive, farthest-thing-from-fancy grocery store there is. I love it! And, like the protein powder, I throw these into all my breakfast baked goods, healthy snacks, and overnight oats. Easy to add but packed with healthy benefits like omega-3s, antioxidants, and fiber.
For someone who really doesn’t like yogurt, I’m a little obsessed with plain Greek yogurt. First of all, I always get the store brand. I go through so much of this stuff I probably single handedly keep store brand Greek yogurt in business. What do I use it for? Sour cream!
If you aren’t substituting sour cream with plain greek yogurt, jump. On. This. Train.
Seriously, not only does it taste incredibly similar, but by substituting, you are trading in something with virtually no health benefits that’s actually pretty bad for you, for something that’s packed with protein and healthy bacteria! I put it on all my Mexican dishes, baked potatoes, in soup, just about everywhere. Obsessed.
Don’t worry, I’ve recently re-stocked on my honey. As you can see, I was running low. That’s because I so frequently replace sugar in recipes with honey. It’s a better option (although I wouldn’t exactly call it a health food). This is another one that goes into my breakfasts and snacks, along with any drinks I want to sweeten. I usually get honey at Sam’s Club. And I definitely need the bulk size, with the amount I go through!
I’m very attached to my oats. This is probably one of my all-time favorite ingredients that exists (after chocolate). I just love throwing oats into anything I can- muffins, cookies, snacks, breakfasts- seeing a trend? Anyway, I get my oats at Sam’s Club. They come in two huge bags, which I just pour into this reused tub I got once at Hannaford. Then I just store the bags away in the pantry until I need a refill. I find that to be a very economical way to keep stocked on oats.
Listen, I’ve seen the articles about the AHA’s recent findings that coconut oil isn’t actually good for you. I’ve also seen some other articles pointing out why that information can be misleading. I still feel that the benefits outweigh the harm. I’ve also noticed that coconut oil has worked great for me, so I stick by it! I’m also not against butter. We’ve all got to do what we’re comfortable with!
What are some healthy ingredients you always keep on hand? Let me know in the comments!