1. Extra virgin olive-oil. Extra virgin olive oil may be the healthiest forms of olive oil and its nutritional value and benefits in overall health cannot be emphasized enough. Extra virgin olive oil reduces heart disease and damage from free radicals and acts preventatively against breast and colon cancer. The main type of fat found in olive oil is monounsaturated fat (MUFA). MUFAs have been found to lower your total cholesterol and LDL (the bad) cholesterol levels, and may also help normalize blood clotting.
Antioxidants found in extra virgin olive oil may help to protect the heart by reducing damage from free radicals and plaque build-up in the arteries, acting as an anti-inflammatory. Extra virgin olive oil also contains vitamins E and K in which are both important for cardiovascular health. Vitamin E is necessary to form red blood cells, and vitamin K is essential for normal blood clotting.
2. Nut butters From sesame to sunflower, almond to walnut, seed and nut butters have become popular products that nutrition professionals continue to recommend and that clients enjoy, all for good reasons. Seed and nut butters contain healthful nutrients, come in several varieties, and can be used as a smooth, nutritious sandwich spread. Seed and nut butters naturally contain healthful fats that benefit heart health, reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and even lower the risk of obesity despite their high fat content. Do make sure that they contain 100% nuts (with NO added anything!)
3. Organic eggs Eggs are so widely enjoyed and used because they provide an excellent source of nutrients inside their tiny package. Eggs are rich in protein and contain numerous vitamins including vitamin A, B, D, E as well as key organic compounds such as omega 3-fatty acids and anti-oxidants. Cage-free eggs aid in weight loss, supply energy, beneficial in improving cognitive health and cardiovascular health and maintains normal function of the thyroid.
4. Greek yogurt Greek yogurt is a great source of protein and essential amino acids, which are a great source of energy and also aid in oxygen transfer across cell membranes. Greek yogurt is also packed with numerous other nutrients essential for wellness: probiotics (a healthy bacteria that can help decrease stomach issues and boost your immune system), calcium for organ function and bone health, vitamin B-12 vital for red blood cell production, and potassium which lowers blood pressure. Greek yogurt’s thicker consistency lends itself to adaptations, such as chia seed puddings, smoothies, and popsicles. You could also make popsicles at home by freezing Greek yogurt with fresh fruit. Greek yogurt can also be a healthy and satisfying treat after a tough workout. Not only will it tide you over until your next meal, but it contains protein that can repair damage done by your workout!
5. Dried Lentils. Unlike most beans, lentils are super quick and easy to make from scratch! I typically have kidney, green, and yellow lentils on hand and love using them in soups, stews, and other entrees as a meat replacement. They are packed with plant-based protein and add a great texture to a lot of dishes. I also always make sure I have chickpeas on hand and easily boil them and include them in salads, and Mediterranean inspired dinners for my family!