You just finished a great workout at the gym. As you finish up your last “rep” you feel great about yourself. You made it to the gym today and everything felt great. You were able to keep up with the rest of the group, with the workout, and you can’t wait to get back to the gym tomorrow.
You have decided that this is the year that you are going to fit into your “skinny jeans” or compete in your first adventure race. You have taken the steps that are necessary to get you off to a good start.
As you drive home you start to think about what you are going to eat for dinner. As you head into your house you open the fridge you notice that all you have is a bottle of hot sauce, a pizza box with two pieces left over from the weekend and three bottles of sugar-filled sports drinks.
Does this sound familiar? I think it is pretty common for people to neglect their nutrition plan when they start a new training program. You have good intentions but you have no idea where to start in terms of your diet. Knowing where and how to start can be confusing. One day you hear from a co-worker that you must follow Paleo. The next day your girlfriend/boyfriend says that you need to become a Vegan. You get my point. It can be frustrating to say the least. I am going to make this very simple for you.
Here are 10 foods that you should always have on hand just in case you come home and you need to make a quick nutritious meal.
These should be in every house unless of course you are allergic to them. Why, because they are packed with vitamins and nutrients and can be eaten with breakfast, lunch or dinner. As we continue to learn fat is vital for optimal health and avocados are at the top of the list in my opinion. Add them to a smoothie or simple eat them solo in order to reap the benefits of this fantastic food.
2. Meat (beef/chicken)
I am not going to get into the difference between corn fed and grass-fed beef in this blog. When I talk about beef however, I am talking about the BEST beef that you can afford. I always recommend grass-fed from a farmer/butcher (I personally do not like store brand grass-fed). Meat offers several nutritional benefits (protein, omega 3 fats, B vitamins, etc.) that are hard to beat.
Kale is packed with Vitamins A and C, offering several benefits to people who consume it on a daily basis. Personally I like to throw kale in a morning smoothie with coconut oil and some fruit because I do not like the bitter taste of kale. With that being said it offers a host of benefits that I recommend you look into. If possible I would always recommend that you buy organic kale.
4. Coconut oil
Coconut oil has been called by many a true superfood. It can have a positive effect on brain function as well as weight loss. It’s a medium chain fat that when taken before a workout can provide a tremendous boost of energy. Also, it is great to cook with since it can be heated to a high temperature.
5. Frozen berries (raspberry/blueberry)
If you like to make smoothies, berries (frozen or regular) are a must. Berries are high in antioxidants and vitamins. They also taste great so make it a point to add these to your plan. If you have frozen blueberries, leave them out and let them defrost for 15-20 minutes to get added nutritional value when thawed out.
6. Sweet potatoes
Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap by many people over the past year. If you are looking for a great way to fuel up after a workout add in a sweet potato with your meal. It will slowly raise your insulin while providing nutritional value. They also provide B6 as well as Vitamin C as well as a host of additional nutrients.
7. Eggs (organic/free range)
Eggs provide 13 essential vitamins. Most people throw away the best part, the yolk. If you want to get lean and feel energized start to add eggs to your weekly plan.
8. Macadamia nuts
When you need a quick snack these work great. They provide Vitamin A, iron as well as zinc and magnesium. They are also easy to digest so they make the perfect snack or an addition to a salad or meal.
I started to implement Kefir into my plan this last year and I love the way I feel after eating this fermented dairy. It helps strengthen the immune system and is a great way to add probiotics to your diet. Make sure that you purchase this from a trusted source and I would recommend that you buy this from a farmer or a reputable health food store. Most store brands have added sugar that you could do without. It’s a great addition to a post workout or breakfast smoothie.
10. Mixed green salad (organic preferred)
A fantastic way for you to eat some raw food is to make a salad every day. It’s simple. Add some mixed greens, peppers, avocado, cucumbers and olive oil. Make sure that when you eat your salad you stay away from fat free dressings. You want the fat because many of the vitamins are fat soluble so this helps with the absorption of these nutrients.
There you have it—10 foods that should ALWAYS be in your house. In a pinch you can make a great meal with these foods. Good luck with your new plan for 2014!
Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.