Let’s go out to the kitchen…
That classic theatre intermission song is playing in my head, so let me take you out to what fills my tummy!
Per the request of Pretty Fitster Lynn’s comment on my very first Pretty Fit post – my intro – I’m sharing with you my photos of my pantry – as well as refrigerator, freezer, kitchen counter table and dining room table – to show you what I eat on the daily. Also, I’m adhering to Pretty Fitster Drina’s suggestions from my Wednesday Workout about healthy breakfast, along with on-the-go snacks and meals… Speaking of comments and suggestions, TODAY is the last day to enter in the Quest Bar Sample BOX Giveaway simply by posting what you want to see on our Pretty Fit app and blog!
Before I take y’all to my kitchen, I must inform you that my favorite foods are my own personal preference. While I don’t lead a completely gluten-free or vegan diet, I do advocate gluten-free and vegan products, as well as incorporate some gluten-free and vegan recipes into my menus. My main philosophy when it comes to eating – since I admittedly am a self-proclaimed foodie – is that I refuse to sacrifice/compromise or deprive myself of healthy, tasty food; it just a matter of eating in moderation and giving ourselves the occasional opportunity to splurge with those YOLOs (You Only Live Once).
Today, I stocked my kitcken with groceries that I picked up from my local Natural Grocers and Albertson’s. While I don’t have a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods nearby – since I don’t live in a substantially large market – I’m grateful to “Ate” Roxy for pointing out Natural Grocers, plus we have our local Farmer’s Market. I also am fortunate to have parents with green thumbs; thus, I can pick fruit and vegetables from their gardens! Perks about my Albertsons include the customer service rewards, including Rachael Ray incentives and Dallas Cowboys discounts when we sport our team gear on game day!
Now without further ado… Welcome/Mabuhay/¡Biénvenidos!
Thank you for this bountiful bread that we break and share…
First, take a tour of my little pantry…
Since I don’t go gluten-free, I enjoy my grains. Oats are a staple source of my diet because I could create countless recipes from oatmeal (a couple of them appear below under healthy breakfast items), and the soluble fiber may help reduce heart disease risk. I like wholesome grain products, including whole wheat breads and pastas – plus, when veggies and fruit are added to the mix, such as spinach-, zucchini-, carrot-, tomato- or sweet potato-based pasta, we reap even more flavor. Pita and flatbread provide foundations for easy pizza crusts when you sift and pour your desired toppings. Chips can be made out of anything under the sun nowadays, so I dip and dig on the ones that are made out of fruit and veggies.
One of my comfort cravings of all-time is chili , so I like to cook my own as time permits for a protein-punch and fiber-fulfillment. I like to add different types of beans and peppers plus tomato, spices and lean ground turkey to reduce fat, calories, cholesterol and sodium. However, if time is of the essence or I don’t have fresh ingredients on hand, I’ll turn to my supply of canned variations and jarred spices and seasonings.
Natural Grocers, among other health food stores, offers fresh Almond Butter, which “Ate” Roxy introduced to me and got me hooked! Since it’s not as commonly commercialized as peanut butter, I had to make a special trip to Natural Grocers for it. Again, as it’s my choice, I do prefer Almond Butter vs. PB. Aside from the nutrients, I appreciate the taste and crunchy texture on toast.
Almonds provide protein and fiber, healthy fats from monounsaturated fat, along with vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.
As you also can see above, I love Nutella – another healthy fat source from the hazelnuts, and another tasty option with the skim milk and cocoa – which could eat with just about anything: crepes, fruit, as long as I limit myself to up to a tablespoon at a time. Sometimes, I come across jars of other preserves, like this one with jalapeño and pineapple, as interesting flavor combinations. My fave snacks consist of nuts and fruit (like the Philippine pineapple from my native country?), which I sometimes combine into trail mix to tide me over on long work or workout days.
My other indulgences are tea, coffee and hot chocolate. For the sake of the holidays, I have ginger tea and peppermint cocoa. From my Man Day Monday, I mentioned how Dr. Oz pointed out that ginger tea helps with digestion. Peppermint also soothes the senses, which may relieve stress and other symptoms that may arise (i.e., allergies). Another find from Natural Grocers that I swear by are these gluten-free and vegan Hail Merry Choco Macaroons, which are available in other flavors. I’m a coconut-nut, so I reap the benefits of the extra virgin coconut oil (EVCO) that contains healthy fat without the cholesterol.
Speaking of coconut oil, I use it for pretty much anything, from healthy cooking to my own beauty regimen. It makes a great alternative in lieu of more fattening oils, and I use it to condition my color-treated hair and moisturize my skin.
“Ate” Roxy, who’s much more coconut-happy than I am, got me acquainted with coconut-based coffee creamers with all the taste and without the additives, so we can drink our healthy morning joe!
Freezer and Fridge
Next, here are a few items that I keep stored in the freezer and refrigerator. When I’m busy working and don’t have enough time energy (which I like to reserve for exercise) to cook, I’ll pop one of these bad boy Lean Cuisines into the nooker. They still are delicious and nutritious, plus you could earn points by entering codes onto LC’s Delicious Rewards website. During off-season for certain fruit and veggie harvests, I’ll freeze my crops, so I still can eat them later.
Of course, H2O is my #1 drink, as I was explicit about in my Thursday Tips post. Yet the coconut water and fruit juice in my fridge are chock full of nutrients. Coconut water is a tasty form of hydration that has electrolytes to replenish us after we train hard. My go-to juices – orange juice and any cocktail of cranberry, blueberry and/or pomegranate – not only quench my thirst but nourish me in other ways. OJ’s vitamin C boosts the immune system and helps combat allergies. Cranberry juice prevents urinary tract infection, the pomegranate is heart-healthy and contains antioxidants, plus think of these Bs in terms of blueberries: brain power, among other bonus benefits! (As a matter of fact, I served blueberry-pomegranate juice to my young nephew to aid in his brain development.)
These staples satisfy my hunger as treats to tide me over: Neufchâtel cheese, Greek yogurt and light whipped cream. Neufchâtel cheese is an alternative to cream cheese; it has flavor without being full of fat. Plain Greek yogurt has low-carb and high-protein content, and it is versatile enough to eat as a snack topped with berries, fruit or nuts, or to add in side dishes or entrées to replace fatty sour cream. Light whip can top desserts or be a fun dip for fruit and berries.
Other little goodies that I keep stashed in one of the fridge compartments are those that I eat sparingly. As an Asian who does not frequent the Oriental markets enough, I enjoy these mini jelly cups that can be chilled or frozen. I also have coconut, chocolate or butterscotch morsels when I have a craving. During those sweet tooth aches, I’ll top them on yogurt or add them to trail mix.
Again, when I lack time and energy to cut a head of lettuce, I’ll just use bagged salad greens! In fact, in the midst of being wiped out of energy from work and working out today, salads got me through my lunch and dinner!
Lemons and limes are like nickels and dimes. We can’t have enough! These citrus fruits enhance flavor in salad, soups, cocktails, beer, pretty much anything we eat and drink!
Kitchen and Dining Room Tables
Now on to my kitchen and dining room tables for more fruit and prep for Thanksgiving arrangements…
Finally, here are some of my recipes that have resulted from some of my favorite foods.
Make breakfast a happy and healthy time!
My own creations with veggies, full of flavor, fiber and protein!
Pasta dishes can be enhanced with vegetable goodness and seasonings, plus lean poultry, like grilled chicken or ground turkey.
Wine and Dine
Last but not least, I recommend red wine spirits for our health, as it contains antioxidants and is heart-healthy, when consumed in moderation. My bottles of choice are Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. Not only are they good for pairing with meals, but also including in recipes, like sauces or marinades! UB40‘s Red Red Wine now lingers on the brain. Cheers!
✌ Peace Joy Health ☼ Wealth & Love ♥ Elaine