Keep these 6 superfood staples in your kitchen to make it easy to throw together a wide variety of healthy meals at a moment’s notice.
It’s no surprise that if your kitchen is full of junk food, your diet will also be full of junk food. You eat what is there and convenient, so if you open the pantry to find a bag of potato chips, that’s probably what you will end up snacking on.
The good news is, you have the power to set yourself up for making healthy choices more often than not! There are far more than 6 superfoods that I use regularly, but these give you a great starting point! Fill your kitchen with these foods for an unlimited number of snack and meal options that not only taste good but will also nourish your body.
My Top 6 Superfood Staples
#1 – Baby Spinach
Everyone seems to have strong opinions on baby spinach. Some people hate it cooked but love eating it raw in salads and wraps. Others feel just the opposite. I lean slightly more into the cooked spinach camp, but I love a good spinach salad with just the right toppings (almonds, dried cranberries, and goat cheese with a sweet onion dressing is my favorite!).
What I love most about baby spinach is there is no washing or chopping involved. It’s ready to eat as-is! I get one of the big plastic containers of baby spinach from the store and all it takes is me opening the fridge and pulling out what I need throughout the week.
#2 – Apples
This is my go-to fruit. Again, mostly because they are ready to grab and eat! It takes two seconds to give them a quick wash and then you can bite right into them. They don’t go bad quickly, so it’s easy to keep them on hand all the time. I usually keep a few in the fridge and a few in a fruit basket on my counter – I much prefer my apples at room temperature!
It’s the perfect snack to grab to keep in your purse, work bag, or lunch box. I think they taste amazing on their own, but I also love having an apple with a spoon full of peanut butter for an extra protein boost.
Honeycrisps are my favorite variety of all, but I also love Galas!
#3 – Oats
This superfood really packs a powerful nutritional punch. They help to lower cholesterol and reduce high blood pressure and heart attacks. Oats stabilize your blood sugar, lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, and all kinds of other things!
They are shelf-stable, so it’s easy to keep them around all the time! I like to keep a big canister of old fashioned oats in my pantry.
And don’t think they are just for oatmeal! I do love traditional oatmeal and overnight oats, but I also use them in my favorite Oatmeal Breakfast Bars, baked oatmeal, homemade granola & granola bars, meatloaf (they make a great gluten free binder!), energy bites, and even oatmeal raisin cookies.
#4 – Quinoa
It’s no secret that I love quinoa. I received a gift from a friend a year or two ago that was addressed to “The Quinoa Queen”. I go crazy for this superfood!
Quinoa is packed full of everything that is wonderful for your body – fiber, protein, iron, lysine, magnesium, riboflavin, manganese, and more. If this food is not currently a part of your diet, change that today!
It’s easy to prepare, essentially cooking it like you would cook rice. You can make it sweet or savory. I like to make a big batch of quinoa on Sunday and use it with different flavors throughout the week.
There are a million and one different ways you can use quinoa. It makes a great salad topper, a wonderful stuffing for peppers and zucchini, one-skillet meals, and a great base for a taco bowl. My favorite use of all is in quinoa bites (easy to make and beloved by both kids and adults!) and this past winter I fell in love with breakfast quinoa cooked in almond milk.
#5 – Salmon
I didn’t like any fish at all as a kid and now as an adult, I am kicking myself for missing so many opportunities to eat salmon! It has become one of my favorite foods.
It is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which lower inflammation and blood pressure and decrease risk factors for disease. It’s full of high-quality protein to keep you feeling full and energetic. It’s high in B vitamins, potassium, selenium, and antioxidants.
I absolutely love salmon filets and I buy them often, but because they can get a little pricey, I keep Trident salmon burgers in my freezer (I get them from Costco!) and canned salmon in my pantry. I use them to top green salads, make salmon cakes, whip up salmon salad (instead of tuna), and eat alongside roasted vegetables.
#6 – Black Beans
Black beans are another superfood full of protein and fiber. They also bring in a ton of calcium, promoting healthy bones. They ward off heart disease, lower blood pressure and inflammation, and promote healthy digestion, all of which also helps with weight loss.
You can use canned black beans (I recommend the lower sodium varieties), but I prefer making a big batch of dried black beans in my slow cooker and storing them in 2-cup containers in my freezer.
I use black beans in just about everything! They are a great protein choice for meatless meals. They make a wonderful addition to breakfast skillets, enchiladas, sweet potato nachos, rice dishes, chicken salad, barley, soups, and so much more. You can even use them in black bean brownies (don’t knock it until you try it)!
It takes time to change your diet and teach yourself to reach for healthier foods. The more you can fill your kitchen and pantry with better choices, the sooner you will automatically be reaching for healthier snacks and meals (and actually enjoying them!). Slowly replacing junk for nutrient-rich foods was a very important part of my weight loss journey, so don’t put it off any longer. Start adding these superfoods into your regular diet today!