With the new year finally here, lots of people are beginning diets and making decisions to remove things from their diets. Taking foods away can be beneficial to your health, but it can also be disappointing and feel a lot more like a loss/failure if those foods make it back onto your plate. Removing things can feel negative and overwhelming. So instead, try adding things to your diet/life and slowly you will find that you don’t crave the “bad” foods as much! I love the concept of adding foods, rather than removing because adding is much more positive and you’ll be getting those nutrients from the good foods you add regardless of the other foods you’re eating. So here are 10 foods I think you should add to your grocery list and incorporate into your menus in the new year.
Avocado is one thing I can’t go a day without. It is creamy, delicious, and so satisfying. Not only does avocado have an amazing taste but it’s very versatile and has tons of good fats. I love making guacamole with a mashed avocado, salt,
pepper, and a little lime juice. This is a perfect dip for fresh veggies or to even put onto salads, a stirfry, chili, soup, or a piece of toast. Also, throwing a few slices into a green smoothie is excellent as well!
Almond milk is another essential item for me. I use it in smoothies, oatmeal, sometimes in coffee, and even just warmed up with some cinnamon is a great nighttime drink. The Silk brand of almond milk is my favorite because the ingredients are simple and it doesn’t have a lot of preservatives (like carrageenan, which can cause digestion problems). Silk’s Unsweetened Vanilla is my favorite. In just one cup of almond milk you’re getting almost 50% of your daily value of calcium, which is awesome! Dairy milk can often cause digestion problems, as well as draw out calcium in your bones because of the acidity, but almond milk doesn’t cause a pH imbalance like dairy milk does. I definitely recommend trying out almond milk. Sometimes, I even make my own. Check out my recipe for homemade almond milk here !
Lots of people forget about oats and how great they are! They are a staple in my diet, and they should definitely make their way into yours as well. Oats are packed full of fiber, and are so filling and satisfying for breakfast. Oats also help to lower cholesterol, so not only are they delicious but definitely nutritious. They can be used for so many different things; not just oatmeal. By blending some oats in a blender you have a quick and simple flour to use in baking recipes. Throwing some oats into a smoothie adds whole grains and fiber. Oats are very inexpensive as well, so there is really no reason not to add them to your grocery list!
I discovered flaxseed about three years ago, and am so glad that I did. Milled flaxseeds are very inexpensive and filled with nutrients including fiber, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. So throw out your fish oil supplements and instead, EAT your omega-3s with flaxseeds. Milled flaxseeds don’t have a very strong flavor, so they can be put in almost anything. My favorite ways to use flaxseed are to add a Tbsp. into oatmeal, smoothies, on top of salads, and incorporate them into baked goods. Also, they make a great egg replacer for all my fellow vegans out there! Just one Tbsp. flaxseed combined with 3 Tbsp. of water can be used to replace an egg in almost any baking recipe!
5. Apple Cider Vinegar (raw)
If you don’t have raw apple cider vinegar in your refrigerator right now, go add it to your shopping list . . . right now, go do it. Apple cider vinegar is one of the best “foods” you could possibly have on hand. ACV can be used for tons of different things, from cleaning to drinking. Check out some ways to use it here. It’s fairly inexpensive and seems to last forever! ACV is the best vinegar to use because it is the only non-acidic vinegar, so it is gentle on your stomach’s pH levels. ACV actually alkalizes your stomach rather then causing it to become acidic like white, red, or balsamic vinegars.
Not sure if you’re getting enough vitamin A? Well just eat a sweet potato a day and you’ll never have to worry about vitamin A again. Just one sweet potato has well over the recommended daily value of vitamin A, along with lots of other vitamins and minerals. Sweet potatoes are inexpensive and super easy/versatile to incorporate into your diet. Roasted, mashed, steamed, pureed, curried, spiced, sweetened — the possibilities are endless!
Although quinoa tends to be a little more expensive than some other grains, it’s definitely well worth it. Quinoa truly is a superfood, packed with lots of nutrients and is so delicious. It’s probably my favorite grain, because it makes such a great base for tons of flavors and dishes. It’s a great plant based protein and is so easy to prepare to have on hand all week long. Quinoa can be a great base for a stir fry, a yummy addition to a salad, the main part of a soup, stew or chili, and can also just be eaten on it’s own with different spices and/or dressings. Check out my Asian-inspired quinoa and kale recipe here!
Eating fresh greens can be a challenge for me because I always seem to forget about them, and eat other foods instead. This year I’m really going to try to make an effort to always have fresh greens on hand, and eat them everyday. My favorite way to eat my greens is in a smoothie, because it’s so easy to prepare and doesn’t take much thought. I just blend up some frozen fruit with a few handfuls of greens (kale and spinach are my favorites) and some cold water or almond milk. Incorporating greens into a stir fry is another way I try to get in my daily greens because wilted greens are much easier for me to eat. My number one tip for buying greens is to remember that “the darker the green, the better.” By buying darker greens, you’re guaranteed for more nutrients as well as phytochemicals. Kale, spinach, and romaine lettuce are my three favorite greens.
9. Dates/dried fruit
Dried fruit is probably one of the best snacks to have on hand. It’s perfect for anyone who is on the go, or is a snacker like me. Dates, dried figs, and raisins are my three favorite dried fruits to keep in my pantry because they are all three super sweet and satisfying. Dried fruit is a great source of energy and is so portable as well as affordable. If you’ve never tried a date before, do it today! Medjool dates are my favorite and are basically equivalent to eating candy. Yum! You can usually find dates in the produce section of grocery stores and they are often sold in bulk as well.
Green tea isn’t necessarily a food, but I wanted to include this in my list because it is something I think everyone should be incorporating into their diet. A few years ago, I made a conscious effort to start drinking a cup every day. Although it doesn’t happen every single day, I try to at least have a box of green tea in my tea “collection” so it’s easier for me to remember and actually drink it. Drinking a warm mug of green tea is not just good for your body, but I think it is so good for your soul. There is something about the process of making a cup of tea, drinking it, and feeling so great afterwards. My all-time favorite green tea is Bigelow’s Green Tea with lemon or peach — definitely the best in my opinion. There are so many health benefits that come with drinking green tea, so there is really no reason not to add it to your grocery list!