1) Quinoa- If you haven't noticed yet I LOVE quinoa! It's become such a versatile staple in our home. I like to cook some up over the weekend and use it all week long. I usually will throw it in a cold salad, add it to chili, toast a little and use it for a yogurt topping, add it to a casserole, etc...I think you get my drift. Quinoa is high in protein and gluten free which makes it an accessible food for all!
2) Beans, Beans, and more Beans- I seriously have an entire shelf in our kitchen dedicated to beans. Black beans, pinto beans, chili beans, vegetarian re-fried beans, canned beans, dried beans...okay, okay you get the idea, we eat a lot of beans in this house! Beans have become a major staple after giving up meat. When I'm feeling a little lazy I'll often times just dump a washed can of black beans into a bowl with some lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion and avocado and go to town. When I'm feeling slightly more ambitious I'll pull out the slow cooker to cook my dried beans overnight.
3) Sweet Potatoes- I'm a little sad that I waited until I was 25 to start eating sweet potatoes, what I was thinking?!?! These guys are delicious! Like beans, we eat sweet potatoes like their going out of style. I'll add them to chili, salads, or just mix em' up with some honey, olive oil, and rosemary and throw them in the oven. They add such great texture and taste to all sorts of meals, plus they're good for you!
4) Lemons and Limes- When you get a chance walk over to your fridge, pull out your salad dressing and read the ingredient list, you might be surprised. I like to use lemons and limes with a little bit of cumin or cayenne pepper to season my salads (both hot and cold). This way I know exactly what I'm putting on my salad and can avoid funky ingredients and empty calories. I also have a cup of warm water with lemon first thing the morning and I can't do that without a lemon now can I.
5) Veggie Broth- I've learned that veggie broth can make almost anything taste just a little bit better. I like to keep it around to make soups, stews, and to cook quinoa and rice in. As long as I have a box of veggie broth, fresh veggies, and beans around I can always make a soup!
6) Almond & Coconut Milk- We use to keep a lot of low-fat milk on hand at home. We used in it cereal oatmeal, baking, etc.. Today we never buy dairy milk, we've opted for almond milk instead. If you've never had almond milk you're seriously missing out, it's amazing! Oatmeal with vanilla almond milk might be one of my most favorite things to eat ever, it's delicious! I also love to keep a little coconut milk on hand for thai dishes and for deserts, coconut milk mouse anyone?
7) Canned Tomatoes- I'll admit it, I HATE tomatoes...like a lot. I've been trying for the last three years to overcome my dislike for tomatoes, but it just isn't working as well as I'd like. The good news is I'll eat them as long as they're mixed into something, enter canned tomatoes.
8) Cucumbers- This one might seem super weird but it's not I swear! Besides being my fav juicing base, they're also one of my fav snacks. Every morning before I leave for work I slice up one of these bad boys and throw it in my bag. I keep a small container of hummus at work so when I start to get hungry around 10am I pull out my cucumber slices and hummus and get crunching. Because cucumbers contain so much water and are low in calories they make a great healthy snack!
9) Hummus- Making hummus at home is on my current to-do list. Until then I keep store bought hummus at home and at the office. Hummus tastes great on wraps, as a veggie dip, in salad, as an alternative to mayo on sandwiches,etc...
10) Garlic- So, I use to buy those small clear jars of pre-diced garlic. I thought this made sense, it was easier than cutting up a clove of garlic and it lasted longer, plus I thought it would produce the same taste as fresh garlic...so wrong...so very wrong. Fresh garlic tastes (and smells) so much better! Today we use garlic in soups, salads, pastas, sauces, with sauteed with veggies and olive oil. After cooking with fresh garlic I'll never go back, you just can beat the taste! Plus garlic is such an easy way to add flavor and health benefits to any meal.
11) Coconut Oil- Coconut oil is a wonderful cooking oil and healthy fat. And believe it or not it does not actually make your foods taste like coconut. I use coconut oil when making granola, sauteing up some veggies, and throw a spoonful of it into my morning green smoothies.
12) Frozen Spinach- For the most part I prefer to keep fresh not frozen foods on hand, but spinach is one exception. I've discovered spinach is one of those random veggies that I love so much I'll just sort of throw it into anything, eggs, pasta, grilled cheese, or even just eat it with a little garlic and olive oil. You can buy a giant bag of this stuff for fairly cheap and it's a great way to fit a few extra veggies into your regular meals.
13) Tea- I love sweets and there are days when all I want is a giant piece of cake or a chocolate bar the size of my face. These type of cravings usually hit me in the evening and I'v learned that a cup of tea is a great way to combat cravings. I keep several types of tea at home and at the office so I'm prepared when cravings strike, or if I need a pick me up but I've already had a cup of coffee.