Grocery shopping is hard work. Do you ever wander around the aisles for hours comparing and contrasting products? Do you ever read about the latest food trend, go to the store, and end up trying to aimlessly find it? It is a dreaded trip that should really not be that complicated. To make your shopping experience take less time and be more enjoyable, follow these two pieces of advice regarding shopping. One, don’t ever go hungry! You will end up with a cart full of items you’re craving at the moment but your wallet and body don’t really need. Two, come ready with a “permanent grocery list” of foods that should always be in your kitchen. These 12 items—that made the cut for Team Get Healthy U’s list—are nutritious, delicious, and a must-have for every healthy home cook.
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is magic. Its health benefits are endless. It is a staple item that you should always keep in your kitchen cabinet. You can use it as a swap for other fatty oils, put it in cookies or smoothies, and even use it on your skin and hair. It is an incredible source of fatty acids and has positive effects on your body such as weight loss, improve blood cholesterol, and protect and moisturize skin.
2. Frozen Fruit
Everyone loves fresh fruit, but sometimes it doesn’t get eaten fast enough or sadly, it goes bad. Buying already frozen fruit or freezing your fresh fruit on your own is key to making super easy breakfast smoothies. Frozen fruit gets a bad rap for being processed and not containing the same nutrients as fresh fruit, but this is a myth. Frozen fruit is incredibly nutrient-filled and saves a ton of time and preparation when making your own juices or smoothies.
Whether you consider avocado a fruit or vegetable, it should be a must-have on your grocery list. Like coconut oil, avocados contain healthy fat. It is full of almost 20 different vitamins and minerals and even contains more potassium than bananas. Avocados are wonderful on top of salads, eaten plain, made into guacamole (everyone loves guacamole), and even put in your smoothies as a substitute for yogurt to make it creamier. Moral of the story: eat more avocados!
4. Steel Cut Oats
Oats are fibrous, full of protein, and keep you full and energized throughout the day. Steel cut oats have more positive benefits than rolled oats because they have a lower glycemic index, less sugar, and fewer calories. It is an amazing option for an easy breakfast for both kids and adults. Keeping this product in your kitchen cuts temptation for eating other breakfast options such as sugary cereals.
5. Nuts and Seeds
Go nuts with nuts! Nuts are jam packed with heart healthy fats and protein and make a powerful addition to your diet. Almonds, cashews, and pistachios are perfect for snacking and on-the-go meals. These three nuts contain the lowest amount of calories and are satiated with vitamin E, iron, and antioxidants. Just remember to avoid nuts packaged or roasted in lots of oil, sugar, or salt!
Seeds, such as chia, pomegranate, hemp, and flax, are vital ingredients for every grocery shopper to own. Chia seeds are necessary for bone health and can be put into any baking item or smoothie. Pomegranate seeds are low-cal and packed with antioxidants. Hemp seeds are key to toned muscle and are perfect for a post-workout smoothie component. Finally, flax seeds have cancer-fighting compounds and contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
6. Green Tea
It’s tea time! Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages for your body. Besides being loaded with antioxidants, green tea may increase your metabolism by intensifying levels of fat oxidations. The tea makes a great substitute for coffee or soda and is an amazing way to energize and start your day. Matcha green tea contains the highest amount of antioxidants and is delicious served hot or cold.
Related: 8 Awesome Health Benefits of Tea
7. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish loaded with unsaturated fatty acids and omega-3s is good for the heart. But out of all the fish in the sea, salmon, sardines, and tuna contain the most bang for your buck. Buying these three varieties of fish and eating two servings a week on sandwiches, salads, or roasted with vegetables will do your heart some loving.
Never heard of kefir? Neither have a lot of people! Like yogurt, kefir is a cultured milk product that is the easiest way to add probiotics into your everyday diet. Probiotics are live organisms (don’t freak out), which are naturally found in our digestive system. If you have problems digesting food or have IBS, kefir is something that you should add into your daily meal and onto your grocery list.
Leafy greens are essential. Whether you sneak them into your smoothie or have them on the side at dinner, greens provide the body with vitamin K that helps fuel your body with healthy energy and boosts bone health. A salad a day does indeed keep the doctor away. Whether you prefer collard greens, kale, spinach, or swiss chard, keep one in your fridge at all times.
10. Dark Chocolate
Say what? Dark chocolate has health benefits? This forbidden food has been reintroduced into the diet as something that has major positive affects. It is one of the best sources of antioxidants, and unlike other kinds of chocolate, dark chocolate can lower the risk of heart disease. Having a square of dark chocolate after dinner to fulfill your sugar cravings is a healthy and smart option.
In addition to relieving motion sickness, boosting the immune system, and reducing inflammation, ginger is a powerful tool for stomach and digestive system issues. Steep fresh ginger into hot water with lemon to begin your day and your stomach will digest trouble-free. Fresh ginger is also great in smoothies, stir-fries, and baked goods!
12. Almond Butter
Full of muscle building protein, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and nutrients such as vitamin E, almond butter is a grocery list staple that you always need in the pantry. Kids love it on rice cakes, celery, or whatever they choose to snack on. You can even make your own with this easy nut butter recipe. Compared to peanut butter, it has less sugar and fat and more things like vitamin E and iron. Just remember to choose almond butter that’s free of preservatives or additives. PS: Check out our easy recipe for making your own almond butter!