Whenever I go shopping, I usually have an idea of what I'm going to get; I buy the same things over and over again, but sometimes, just getting the basics is not enough. To have a truly well-rounded meal, there are other healthy foods you always should keep in your fridge at all times just for good measure. Once I realized this, I made a point to change up my shopping habits every now and then.
You've probably been here before, if you're anything like me: The first few days of a full fridge, I would feel my cooking options were endless, but as time went on, I would have to go shopping because I needed one more ingredient to help make a meal. While this may be considered normal, I was trying to think of a solution to prevent wasting time by going out again almost every single day after having already done my usual grocery shopping. During my last routine grocery trip, I made sure I got healthy ingredients that would help me create hearty meals/snacks that could last longer than a week and make my shopping (and wallet) stretch. If you feel like you've been in the same boat as me, here are a few items you should always have in your fridge at all times to help make your food taste delicious and last just a bit longer.
Eggs are amazing. Period. If there's one item you need to have in your fridge, it's eggs. A lot of people tend to worry about the yolk due to it's high cholesterol, but egg yolks are actually healthy for you. According to The Huffington Post, egg yolks have some of the richest dietary sources of the B-complex vitamin choline, which can help with fetal brain development and reduce inflammation. Next time, don't even think about throwing away that egg yolk when you're making breakfast in the morning.
I'm talking the real type of butter here. Even if you don't want to use butter every single day your cooking, it's a super versatile ingredient for cooking other foods in a frying pan. Plus, it can help stop the pot from boiling over. You learn something new every day.
What's not to love when it comes to blueberries? They make pancakes even more awesome, and they are crazy good for you. While I have nothing against strawberries and raspberries, they nearly don't have the same nutritional value as these. According to Health, blueberries in particular are known to attack cancer-causing free radicals and can even help block the growth of cancer cells. Plus, they are essentially food for your brain because they can reverse age-related memory loss, too. To include more blueberries in your diet, use them in your smoothies or add them to your Greek yogurt for a sweet bite. Either way, they are great way to add a little sweetness for the day without including a butt load of artificial sugar.
4. Lean Protein
Whether you're a vegan, vegetarian, or a proud carnivore, you usually have a limitless supply of proteins readily available to you. Proteins, especially lean proteins, are exceptionally good for you because they are packed with nutrients without being too hard on your digestive system. According to The Food Network, proteins like beans and lentils are a great because they usually have nine grams of protein per half cup and they are also filled with fiber, folate, and iron.
If there's one fruit you should always have in your fridge, it's the lemon. It's perfect to dress up a boring meal by giving it some much-needed zest. According to Yahoo! Food, lemon is also great to help prevent sticky pasta, protect poached fish, and perk up stews and soups. Not only is lemon amazing to add to your meals, but it's even better to drink. Before you start the day, wake up and have a room temperature glass of water with lemon in it. It can help settle your digestion and gives your immune system a boost. Can you think of a better way to start your morning? Yeah, I don't think so.
6. Greek Yogurt
This little guy became trendy over the past couple of years — but rightfully so. It's usually packed with a high amount of protein. But even though this stuff is good for you, you may be wondering how else you can use it in your cooking. Well, according to Time, Melissa Wieczorek, co-owner and chef of A la Maison Personal Chef Service in Newtown, Penn, said to use Greek yogurt as a substitute for recipes that involve mayo or sour cream.
Yes, I am talking about those green leaves that Popeye ate to get big and strong. Spinach is an amazing type of lettuce that has a slight nutty aftertaste that can used for almost anything. Just like kale, it's high in nutrients to help make your immune system strong. According to LIVESTRONG, one cup of this leafy green stuff has more than your daily requirement for vitamin K and vitamin A, with an abundant amount of fiber, calcium and protein. Use spinach to make a hearty salad or sauté the leaves with a little bit of butter or olive oil to create the perfect side dish to your dinner meal.
Even though vampires might not be a huge fan of this stuff, it's a must to help add a bit of flavor to a meal. I love to use this ingredient with literally everything and anything. Mix it into your pasta sauces or add a bit of garlic to a roasted chicken dish. Even though garlic is not really date-night approved, it's has plenty of health benefits that you can't really ignore. According to Reader's Digest, garlic can prevent and treat colds, and clear your acne, too. Just rub a bit of garlic on the problem area and the antioxidants in the garlic can help clear your skin.
Wine, you'll always be there for me in my times of need, and you're so damn delicious when I add you to a pot of spaghetti sauce. Not only is wine great to drink with, but it's a tasty ingredient to cook with. According to WebMD, wine can be use in a multitude of things; it can help cook and simmer foods, it can be used in a marinade, or it can even be used in a baking recipe. Always make sure to play up the flavor of the wine by pairing it with complementary ingredients. And never use a wine you would never drink. If you don't like the taste of it directly from the bottle, you sure won't like it mixed with your food.
While wine and cheese are a great pairing in itself, cheese can almost always cure the most horribly-made dish. Sprinkle a little bit of it on your meal to turn it from boring to amazing in seconds. I personally love to have a few different types of cheeses in my fridge: parmesan, mixed shredded cheese, and a sliced cheese for sandwiches and burgers. But if you're thinking of trying something a little different, Danny Mena, owner and chef from Hencho en Dumbo, uses Queso Chihuahua for all his cheese needs. Essentially it's a soft white cheese that's similar to cheddar but a little bit more buttery. Yeah, that sounds good.
Sometimes it can be hard to have a fridge full of food at all times; life gets in the way, and it can be easier to go to Chipotle to get yourself a hearty, mean burrito instead. While that does sound amazing, there are at least a few things you should have in your fridge. If you only have a limited amount of time per week to go grocery shopping, make sure you grab these items on this list so you can have a well-rounded meal when you come home after a long day of work.
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