Staples I Live By

Original Image by PROSteve Johnson via Flickr
Original Image by PROSteve Johnson via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

It’s occurred to me that I’m always promoting healthy eating, explaining  the health benefits of certain foods while suggesting what one should limit in one’s diet.  However, I’ve never really shared what I like to eat.  By providing an overview of some of the go-to foods I eat will hopefully give you a better understanding of where my nutritional views derive from and perhaps inspire you to add one or two of my staples into your daily life if you haven’t tried them already.

As a protein person, I opt for protein over carbohydrates every single time.  When dining out, while my friends devour the complimentary bread on the table, I am able to sit there without a flinch.  However, if ice cream was the appetizer, I don’t know if I could hold back.

If you ever looked at my food diary, you’d notice a lot of my foods are rich in protein.  I’ve joked that I might have proteinuria, which is an abnormal amount of protein in one’s urine, but I seriously hope that’s not the case.

So, onto my list!

  1. Peanut butter: while peanut butter is high in fat, with 2 tablespoons, it covers about 25% of your Daily Value (DV) of fat.  It’s so versatile, I actually keep it in my car when I’m running low on protein in my system.   For snacks, I’ll dip my carrot sticks or apple slices in some peanut butter for extra creaminess.  I’ve also been known to be called the PB&J girl because I have the tendency to eat PB&J daily.  It’s so portable and scrumptious, I can’t resist
  2. Bananas: So portable and versatile, bananas are one of my favorite snacks.  It’s packed with vitamin B6, potassium, fiber and natural sugars.  If I’m in a rush, I’ll grab it as my breakfast for the go.  I also love to add bananas to smoothies.
  3. Hard boiled eggs: I often keep several hard boiled eggs in the fridge for future use.  If you haven’t noticed yet, I like easy, quick foods because I often don’t have the time in the morning for a sit down breakfast.  Or, if I’m not terribly hungry in the morning, I’ll still eat a hard boiled egg so I don’t have to wait until lunch time to eat, so I keep upstart my metabolism.  It’s recommended to limit hard boil egg intake to 3 times a week, as they are high in cholesterol, at 187 mg per egg.
  4. Sweet potatoes: Not only do these potatoes satisfy my sweet tooth, but they are a great alternative to regular french fries.  They’re a great side dish.  I recently made sweet potatoes fries dousing with salt, pepper and cinnamon and that really hit the sweet spot for me! These potatoes are packed with 377% of your DV of vitamin, a load of potassium, 4 g of dietary fiber and a good amount of B6.
  5. Brown Rice: I’m hoping to get a rice cooker in the near future so I can have rice on hand at all times.  However, my current system of making rice in the oven now works just as fine.  I love me some chicken and rice.  It definitely took some time for me to get used to the switch from regular white rice to brown, but I don’t mind cause of the added benefits of magnesium and fiber.

    Original Image by Sarah C via Flickr
    Original Image by Sarah C via Flickr
  6. Carrots: I sometimes use carrots as a appetite suppressor.  Do you ever want to have something to chew on?  As stated before, I often snack on carrots and will use them as a delayer to eat other foods.
  7. Greek yogurt:   While in the supermarket, you may be appalled by the price difference of Greek yogurt vs. regular plain yogurt, but if you buy the largest container, you usually pay less per oz. for the larger container than buying individual 6 oz. container.  Also, if brands don’t make a difference, opt for store brand Greek yogurt versus Chobani, Dannon or Fage.  I often eat Greek yogurt in the morning for breakfast with agave and fresh fruit.  A great way to reduce your fat intake during the day is to use Greek yogurt in recipes when it calls for sour cream.  I have used Greek yogurt in substitution for sour cream while making bean dip and you couldn’t taste the difference.  I didn’t feel as guilty eating the delicious dip because I knew I was eating a healthier dairy product.

It’s definitely a marathon, not a sprint.  I’m definitely a sweets person, but I’m confident that consuming these staples on a daily basis keeps my metabolism going and I stay fuller longer. What’re your suggestions on foods I should incorporate into my everyday diet?  What foods do you always have on hand?

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