Foods I Always Keep in the House As a Nutritionist-Mama
Eating as a busy parent is all about efficiency.
Every day I try to make an effort to eat mindfully, deliberately and in a manner that meets my personal needs. Some days are better than others, but even on those days when I'm not feeling motivated or very mindful, I always have a few foods in my house to fall back on.
These foods that I keep well-stocked at home are, for the most part, nutrient-dense, supportive of my health goals and enjoyed by the rest of the family.
Without further adieu, here is the list:
Blueberries are one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there so I keep a large bag in my freezer year-round. I always make sure to buy Canadian WILD blueberries so that we're getting the best quality and highest nutrient value. These delicious berries are a great source of antioxidants (including Vitamin C), potassium and fibre.
I add these daily to my kids' oatmeal, a bowl of yoghurt or I use them in my weekend baking
This fruit is cheap, versatile and packed full of vitamins, minerals, fibre & carbohydrates. I keep them on-hand for daily smoothies, healthy baking + quick snacking.
It's important to note that as bananas ripen, the starch turns to sugar. Unripe (green) bananas are high in resistant starch and act as prebiotics, feeding the good bacteria in our gut. Ripe (yellow) bananas make for a tasty, energetic snack, while yellow-brown bananas are a great natural sweetener for baked products like muffins. Once they get too ripe for your liking, pop them into the freezer to keep for smoothies.
BROWN BEANS (CANNED)
Beans are a fantastic source of plant-based protein + fibre. I keep these for a quick lunch, to use as a side at brunch or even as an easy dinner for the kids. This pantry item is surprisingly a good source of iron & calcium!
The vitamins & minerals found in beans are beneficial to our health and provide several benefits including blood sugar control, cholesterol management & improved heart health.
Eggs are one of my favourite superfoods! They're quick & easy to cook anytime of day and they're packed with vital nutrients like Vitamin D, omega-3, iron, selenium, plus all the essential amino acids that our bodies need (= a complete source of protein!)
My family relies on eggs for different meals throughout the week because there are so many different ways of cooking them and they can bring a meal together in a pinch.
Another amazing source of complete protein, tofu offers many health benefits (it's a good source of fat & minerals) along with being inexpensive and easy to store. I use this as an ingredient in my daily smoothies, so it's always on-hand. If I am not using it quickly, I put it into a Ziploc bag, squish it down flat and freeze it.
I also enjoy soft tofu blended into pasta sauce for a quick & easy family meal.
Crackers are rarely the star of the show, but they're still important because they're frequently consumed in my house. Typically, I use crackers as a vehicle for dips or other foods (like cheese or tuna). One of the best ways to improve your diet is by increasing the quality of the foods you eat most, so this is one area I try to focus on for better balance.
Seedy crackers offer tons of fibre and more protein than similar products out there. They increase satiation, support blood sugar control, help to improve cholesterol levels and support digestion & a healthy gut.
My favourites: Mary's Gone Crackers and Oh My Yummies.
Lots more to come on the topic of functional foods - stayed tuned!
As both a nutritionist & busy mama, I believe that setting yourself up for better health starts with keeping the right foods at home.
Yes, continue to buy the foods that spark joy for you, but remember to include more colour, fibre & protein into the mix.
Ciara Morin, R.H.N.