Healthy eaters always have healthy kitchens. One of the best ways to get started with this journey is to eliminate the temptations of foods that hinder your goals. Obvious junk foods, that have little to no nutritional value, dangerous ingredients, and addictive qualities should be removed from your kitchen and (other than possible special occassions–if that!) never brought into your home. If they are in your cupboard they will be eaten! Once you eliminate the non-nutritional foods, you’ve eliminated the temptation!
What a Healthy Kitchen Should Look Like
Step One: Set up your kitchen for success!
Cooking and Storing Must Haves
Once you’ve purged the chips and processed crap from the cubbards, you’ll need a few tools and gadgets to help you renovate your health. Here’s a great list to help get you started:
- A great set of knives, pots, and pans
- A few different sized spatulas
- A powerful blender and some shaker bottles
- Sealable BPA-free containers and a scale for measuring out your food
Pantry Must Haves
If you keep wholesome foods in your pantry, you won’t be tempted by processed junk! Stock up on these items:
- Whole Oats, Quinoa, Canned or Bagged Beans
- Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, and Apple Cider Vinegar
- Natural Nut Butters and Mixed Nuts
- Vitamins and supplements like protein powders, greens supplements, and Vitamin E, D, B-complex
Fridge and Freezer Must Haves
When you go to the store, make a list (see below!) and then food prep for the week! Cook your meats, add veggies and starches, and package them so that you don’t have a choice but to eat your healthy, already prepared lunch and dinner. It’s hard to stop for fast food when you’ve already got your meals made ahead of time! Here’s what you need to stock your fridge and freezer with in order to keep your meals healthy, fresh, and tasty:
- Lean beef, chicken breasts, salmon, ground turkey
- Eggs, egg whites, cheese, real cottage cheese (not the low fat kind)*
- Sweet potatoes, fruits, berries, and a wide variety of veggies
* I say “real” cottage cheese (or any cheese/dairy) for that matter because these foods contain natural fats. Natural is GOOD. When foods that contain natural fats are turned into “low-fat” foods, the natural (good) fat is stripped from the food and manufacturers replace the fat with sugar. NOT COOL!
Step Two: You know what you need–now it’s time to go shopping!
If you have our Total Health and Fitness Workbook, we have put together some shopping checklists for you. (See Shopping List Guide on page 13)
Food Prep Starts With Making Your Grocery List!
A sure fire way to prepare you for nutritional success is to prepare your food. Food prepping once or twice a week all of your meals helps you to assure you are meeting your daily caloric and macronutrient requirements, keeps you from splurging on junk foods, and helps promote higher nutrient dense eating.
Shopping for your weekly food can be both fun and challenging. To help you on your mission to choose better foods we have put together some helpful strategies and sample grocery lists to guide you to making better choices.
- Most grocery stores have the fresh and therefore healthy food located around the perimeter of the store. In such grocery stores, it is best to stay on the outside to do all of your shopping.
- Food that expires is typically much healthier for you than food that will last for years.
- There are two to three aisles in every grocery store (chips, candy, and sugary drinks) that should always be avoided.
- Shop for color. Fresh foods, with a variety of color, equal a variety of nutrients!
- Don’t shop hungry (or thirsty). We often make the worst decisions about food when we are hungry or thirsty.
- Whenever possible buy organic, free range, and local. These foods are almost always healthier options and they usually taste considerably better.
- If you do buy processed foods, look for minimal ingredients that you can pronounce.
- Minimal packaging usually signals less processing.
Your Shopping List Guide
As we stated in The Total Health and Fitness Makeover book, one key to proper nutrition is to eat a variety of food – especially a variety of vegetables. With that in mind, we have created a shopping guide in this work book to help you better accomplish meeting those nutrient needs:
Depending on your caloric needs, you will need to determine how much protein is needed.
Our top suggestions include (organic and hormone free):
- Chicken (whole chickens are best)
- Eggs and egg whites
- Beef (lean ground beef, roasts, steaks)
Plant Based Proteins:
- Lentils, beans, peas
Choose quality fats to balance out your daily macronutrient requirements.
- Coconut oil
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Flax seeds and oils
- Nuts (varieties) and nut butters (varieties)
- Seeds (varieties)
Veggies and Fruit
Fruit should be selected sparingly and most people will need around 35 servings of vegetables a week. Remember a variety of color means a variety of nutrients.
Green (most of your servings from this list and choose organic):
- Beet greens, collard greens, mustard greens, mixed greens, turnip greens
- Broccoli (spears)
- Brussels sprouts
- Green beans
- Green peppers
- Lettuce (all forms)
- Peas (snap and snow preferred)
- Red apples
- Red grapes
- Red peppers
- Red plums
White (organic when possible):
- Mushrooms (varieties)
- Onions (varieties)
- Potatoes (sweet, red and russet)
If you are following a strenuous training program the body will need wholefood carbohydrates to fuel these workouts and avoid metabolic slowing. Sweet potatoes, red and russet potatoes, and yams should be a part of your carbohydrate plan for meeting your macronutrients.
Whole grains are other suitable options:
- Brown rice
- Oats (steel cut preferred)
- Wild rice
For a COMPLETE and downloadable shopping list, check out our Total Health and Fitness Makeover book and workbook, in either print or PDF formats!
Good luck with your 2016 kitchen makeover ! Tell us in the comments below, what’s your biggest kitchen/food goal for 2016?
Your Strong Figure Conditioning Workouts for the week: