Take a look in your fridge. If you still have that last bit of winter squash taking up space in your veggie drawer or are squeezing out the last bit of vinaigrette dressing, it might be time to spring clean your shopping list—and it goes beyond just your fridge.
When seasons change, it’s not only good to change your staple items, but spruce up your taste buds! Here are six places to start, from the fridge to the pantry.
Here’s where you’ll most likely store big beverage items like milk, juice, and soda. If you do have soda, drop it now. Instead, try flavoring water with cucumber or citrus. Try swapping milk for soymilk or almond milk; both contain vitamin D and calcium, which are important for building strong bones.
Veggie & Fruit Drawer
Two words to get excited about: fresh fruit! You’ve most likely been eating all-season fruit like bananas, or winter fruits like oranges and apples. It’s time to welcome colorful and flavorful varieties, like strawberries, blueberries, kiwi — and soon — watermelon. For quick snacking, wash and pre-cut your fruit and put it in a sealed container. One cup of berries is just 50 calories, so it’s guilt-free, too.
Meat & Cheese Drawer
Swap heavy cheeses like rich Gorgonzola and sharp cheddar for lighter ones, like mozzarella. Deli meat can rack up the amount of sodium in your daily diet. Instead, swap it for low-sodium tuna fish or chicken salad (using low-fat Greek yogurt instead of mayo).
Watch out, many condiments are heavy on both calories and sodium. Reassess your thicker sauces and dressings and swap ’em for homemade varieties: mix oil, vinegar, and spices for a light dressing, or instead of using mayo, try Greek yogurt and herbs for a light dipping sauce. Salsa is a great, low-calorie condiment to keep on hand — and it’s even better when you make it fresh. Plus, spicy foods might increase your metabolism.
Frozen veggies make a great meal addition in a pinch. Yes, you can find fresh corn and snap peas, but you might not always have the time to prep them for a meal. Grab a frozen bag to have on hand to quickly add to a stir-fry, salad, or side.
Pantry items are usually staples that can be incorporated into most every meal in some way — and are a great place to sneak in additional nutritional value. Let’s start with flour. There are so many new varieties popping up, like almond flour, which is protein-rich and great for those with digestive issues, and coconut flour, which is increasingly popular. They cook the same, so it’s a simple swap. Other healthy grains to add to your shopping list: whole-wheat couscous, wheat berries, barley, and quinoa. Sick of the standard peanuts, walnuts, and almonds? Keep the crunch you crave with pumpkin seeds or chopped pistachios. They’ll also add a bit of colorful green to your meal.
Other easy and healthy staples to add to your shopping list:
- Non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
- Chia seeds
- Dark chocolate