What’s in my fridge? I’ll give you a hint. It’s not an assortment of ready-made meals geared up for training and focused on fitness competition. Chicken, broccoli, white fish, broccoli, boring. In a past life – this is all you would have found. These days, you will still find chicken, white fish and broccoli, but you’ll also find an assortment of much more fun foods.
Being fit and healthy is far different then going to diet extremes to get shredded and built, but that’s not saying that what I eat now is not good for you! Being a boss babe, means I have far less time to spend on prepping every meal and care far less about being ripped 24/7 then still fitting into a size 4 and being lean and trim.
Here are seven foods you’ll find in my healthy fridge that will help you keep your figure, help with workout recovery, keep your metabolism popping and give you a little enjoyment too.
Healthy Fridge Essential #1 – Green Veggies:
Maybe not a surprise but let’s be real, vegetables are the best source of natural vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. These power-packed superfoods deliver the nutrients we need to keep our metabolism firing, balance hormones and help digest our food.
Vegetables are also a great source of soluble fibers that help slow down digestion, reduce appetite and keep our hunger in check. If you’re not eating vegetables – let me ask why not?
Open my fridge you’ll find plenty of hydrating cucumber, cherry tomatoes, organic mixed greens, spinach, kale, capsicum, asparagus and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. These babies rock; rich in the phytochemical indole, that can help reduce toxic estrogen overload and help keep my hormones balanced. Eating plenty of vegetables keeps your antioxidant levels high in the body – why is this important? Antioxidants help fight cellular damage, combat the signs of aging, and help with workout recovery too!
Healthy Fridge Essential #2 – Red Wine:
Sure my whole life revolves around eating healthy, and following a healthy lifestyle and part of that life for me includes an occasional glass of red wine. Why, well for one anything in balance is just fine by me and is a healthy lifestyle. Anything in excess – like extreme deprivation diets, no carb, and extremely low calorie diets are just as unhealthy as drinking in excess. Balance is critical.
Need more convincing? A recent study completed at the University of Alberta showed that the active compound in red wine called resveratrol was shown to improve physical performance, heart function and muscle strength in the same way as after a workout!
Say what? Drinking wine mimics exercise performance? Other research has shown that those who drink one glass of red wine a day age better, are less likely to have heart disease, cancer and have better blood glucose regulation.
You’ll find a chilled bottle of Cabernet or Shiraz in my fridge any day of the week. Ok, so it’s not a food, but it pairs with most food nicely!
Healthy Fridge Essential #3 – Dark Chocolate:
Eating sweets constantly will not get you the body you want, but eating an occasional square or two of dark chocolate will not seriously impact your chances of that either. In fact it may improve it.
Dark chocolate that has a high cocoa content (70 to 85%) is rich in antioxidants including polyphenols, catechins, flavanols and other active compounds that have numerous health benefits.
For one, flavanols in dark chocolate can improve blood flow, by stimulating nitric oxide, when nitric oxide is increased blood vessels dilate and stimulate the flow of nutrients throughout the body including to your muscles. This means the muscles have more nutrients to help energize and prolong a workout but also more to help facilitate recovery faster.
In addition to this benefit, dark chocolate also has an anti-aging effect. Dark chocolate’s antioxidant content can help protect against sun-damage by improving nutrient delivery to the skin, as well as improving structural integrity and hydration. Living in Dubai, I’m exposed to the sun everyday – just another reason to have dark chocolate! And why is it in the fridge you may ask?
Healthy Fridge Essential #4 – Olives:
Olives are delicious due to their high fat content of monounsaturated fats, but they’re also a rich source of the active thermogenic compound oleuropein. This active ingredient has been shown to have a direct effect on uncoupling protein, increasing thermogenesis in adipose tissue or fat tissue by stimulating norepinephrine and epinephrine release – key fat burning hormones.
Eating a diet rich in good for you fats is essential for good health. Fats help balance hormones, immunity and are necessary for brain and heart health. A moderate fat diet of 40% fat has also been shown to help reduce waistlines, overall body fat and improve hormone balance.
Any olives will do, but if you’re not an olive fan use olive oil on your salads, paired with lemon or balsamic vinegar.
Healthy Fridge Essential #5 – Hummus:
Living in Middle East, I seem to have picked up a few foods that I perhaps wouldn’t eat so much in Canada. Hummus is definitely one of them. Hummus is made from chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. These good ingredients combined deliver a delicious high protein dip that can be combined with almost any food.
Chickpeas are legumes that are low in fat, high in fiber and protein. Legumes are also a slow digesting carb, which means they slow down digestion and can keep hunger reduced. Making hummus a great snack item. A tablespoon provides 1.4 g fat, 2.1 g of carbs and 1.2 g of protein.
Have hummus with green veggies, cucumber, baby carrots, or even with meat. You can make different yummy varieties of hummus too – blend with roasted red peppers, basil, beets or sundried tomato for a healthy, high protein side.
Healthy Fridge Essential #6 – Greek Yoghurt:
Greek yoghurt is a form of yoghurt that is strained leaving a thicker consistency of yoghurt from mostly the whey portion of dairy milk. This process makes Greek yoghurt not only creamy and delicious but also very high in protein.
In a 170 g serving you get just 100 calories and 17 g of protein, and just 6 g of carbs from milk sugars. I personally buy the plain, low fat version, but higher fat versions are not so bad for you either. Avoid the varieties that have added fruits and sugars.
Have Greek yoghurt with fresh berries, chia seeds and gluten-free muesli made with nuts and seeds. Make a sexy smoothie bowl by blending the yoghurt with fruit or an acai or pataiya powder. Top with your favorite toppings. You can also add yoghurt to a smoothie, make a healthy dip or have on its own.
Healthy Fridge Essential #7 – Eggs:
Eggs are the richest sources of available protein, meaning that it is highly digestible and utilized by the body. Eggs deliver all of the essential amino acids needed for muscle growth and recovery. But they’re also a great source of energizing b-vitamins too. B-vitamins help us to utilize and metabolize the food we eat. Lastly, eggs also deliver a source of saturated and monounsaturated fat. Saturated fats are essential for hormone development, and also for cellular function.
Eggs are also an easy go to protein. I always have a 12-pack of eggs in my fridge for breakfast – pan fried or scrambled or I will add them to a protein pancake, but they’re also great for quick lunches or dinners. Boiled eggs are great on salad, and omelettes can make a great dinner paired with sautéed spinach and wholegrain gluten free bread.
Healthy Fridge Essential #8 – Green Apples:
Fruit maybe high in sugar, but it’s also very high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and soluble fibre. When food is high in fiber it means it gets digested slowly, even if it does have sugar, that sugar will be released slowly into the blood stream, unlike eating straight table sugar!
One medium apple delivers just 95 calories, 25 g of carbs including 5 g of fiber. Plus, you’ll also get 14% of your daily intake of vitamin C, 5% of your daily intake B-6 and 2% of your daily intake of magnesium.
Apples are a great snack item paired with nut butter, but are also great added to salads, when chopped.
Until Next Time…
Be Fierce & Rule the World,
- W. Dolinsky, K. E. Jones, R. S. Sidhu, M. Haykowsky, M. P. Czubryt, T. Gordon, J. R. B. Dyck. Improvements in skeletal muscle strength and cardiac function induced by resveratrol during exercise training contribute to enhanced exercise performance in rats. The Journal of Physiology, 2012; 590 (11): 2783