The hardest part of the whole fitness thing is the diet. We can all rev up the motivation to go to the gym for a couple of hours, but monitoring what you put in your body day in day out and not giving in to cravings or offers of BUY 1 CHOCOLATE BAR GET 10,0000 FREE is no easy feat, and it all starts in the supermarket. If you can ignore advertisements and walk out with what you intended to get and nothing more, you will stay on track. If you don’t have it in the house, you won’t eat it. Simple. I mix up my shopping week-in week-out but there are some foods which I always buy. So here’s my list of 10 foods I ALWAYS have in my fridge:
Yep, I hate to be a cliche but I always, always have chicken in my fridge. Or frozen in my freezer. Or in its less tasty turkey form. Its high-protein, low-fat profile makes it a perfect base for most meals, and I eat chicken almost every day. Try and source good, natural, free-range chicken meat rather than the cheapest pack you can find. You might think “protein’s protein” but please take into consideration the farming methods used in the growth of the cheaper meat. We’ve got a responsibility here to protect our earth and our animals. Spend a bit more, do some good.
Someone asked me recently what food I eat every single day and it turned out to be this. I actually cannot remember the last time I went a day without eating spinach, kale or another of the leafy greens. Not because I love it so much but because it’s quick, it’s easy, it goes well with EVERYTHING and it’s high in vitamins, fibre and IRON (ladies!!). I always have a couple of packs in it in my fridge – I eat it in smoothies, with eggs, mixed in with other vegetables, with meat, with rice, in salads, ANYTHING.
3. Greek yogurt/Quark
This is actually a bit of a lie as I’ve massively cut back on dairy recently (comment if you’d like a post on why) so I don’t have this in my fridge at all now, but I did up until very recently. A lot of dairy is high in fat and not what we should be eating at all, but there are some great health benefits to eating full-fat Greek yoghurt. If you’re trying to cut back on fat, there are also some fantastic natural low-fat options including brands like Skyr and Fage and any supermarket brand Quark (it’s a naturally low-fat soft cheese/yogurt). Having a bit of this in the fridge is great: you can mix it in your porridge for a natural protein boost, in your smoothies, eat it with fruit, use it as a cream alternative in sauces, have it sweet or savoury… That being said, try not to have dairy products making up a large percentage of your diet. The majority of your diet should be plant-based sources.
4. Non-dairy milk
For the last 2 or 3 years I’ve barely touched cows milk and have drank milk alternatives instead, and there are SO MANY options. Almond milk, cashew milk, oat milk, rice milk, coconut milk… the list goes on. I find them all really tasty and much prefer them to normal milk. It’s a little more expensive but this just means you use it a bit more carefully (i.e. don’t pour half a litre of it over your cereal every day). Also just watch to buy the unsweetened versions, as some of them have sugar.
Are we supposed to keep eggs in the fridge? I have no idea. Anyway, I always have some eggs kicking around somewhere. There was a huge debate about eggs a few years ago when everyone freaked out that the yolk is high in cholesterol and therefore raises our cholesterol, but that all blew over and we decided eggs are actually not so bad. I don’t eat them every day but I always have them in the house. You can stuff an omelette full of meat and vegetables for a great low-carb meal, or you can add eggs into dishes for an extra protein kick. I quite regularly fry up vegetables, chicken, rice/potatoes and chuck an egg or two in for some added protein. And remember, you can separate the yolk from the white to get the protein without the fat.
In Scotland, this tends to be a pack of frozen berries in the freezer, but now I’m out here in Spain I always have a pack of fresh Spanish strawberries in my fridge. Berries are fantastic: they’re aesthetically pleasing which is a great trick on the mind that you’re eating something really yummy. They’re also super low in calories which means you can eat a lot of them without doing any damage. They’re fun, they’re delicious, they go with almost everything, and they’re full of vitamins.
7. In-season vegetables
Sorry to sound like a knob, but this is quite an important point for me. There is far too much convenience in our society today. While it might be fantastic that you can buy whatever you want, whenever you want, all year round, it doesn’t quite seem right to me that you can buy pineapples in December in Scotland, which only grow thousands of miles away on the other side of the planet. Think air miles, think pesticides to keep that produce fresh, know what I’m saying? With that in mind, I tend to go for long stints eating the same kind of vegetables because they’re the only ones in season of the country I am at in the time. Yes of course, there are some things I buy which have been shipped from the other side of the world (bananas, I’m sorry) but MOSTLY, I try to eat most of my fruits and vegetables from a local source. If the option for your weekly vegetable source is green beans from Kenya, or broccoli from your own country, go for the broccoli yeah?
8. Sun-dried tomatoes
This might seem a bit random but go with me. Sun-dried tomatoes are divine. I always keep a pot in the fridge because they are so delicious to chop up and put in ANYTHING: omelettes, salads, chicken dishes, vegetable dishes. They’re a complete game-changer, without adding a heap of calories. You only need one or two so don’t freak out about them being expensive. Give them a good drain to shake off most of the oil, and start chucking them in your food. Thank me later.
When you’re trying to “eat clean” all the time, things can get a little dull. All of the stuff that restaurants add to make your food taste UHMAZING (oil, cream, butter) is super high in calories and not what you wanna be cooking with everyday. So take some time to browse the condiment section of your supermarket. There’s a lot of low-calorie hot sauces which are good to spice things up (oi oi) and low-fat mayonnaise is one of my favourites. (Also unsure if sauces are to be kept in the fridge or not.)
Okay this isn’t food, but it’s some top advice for you. We’re all being told to drink more and more water and some people find it really hard. Let’s be honest, water by itself doesn’t taste great. It can seem like a chore to get your 500 litres in a day. (This is a joke, do not consume 500 litres of water). So what I find really helps is to have a big glass bottle (maybe 1.5 litre size) full of water and keep that in the fridge. At home, in the office, wherever. That way, your water is always cold, which instantly makes it more pleasant to drink. Then, chuck some chopped fruit in there. It doesn’t magically turn it into the fruit juice you’re longing for, but it does just give it a hint of something a little more exciting. My favourite water combo’s are: berries and mint, apple and mint, lemon and lime. Try it out.
I hope that helps some of you who are struggling with the basics of dieting and what to buy. Remember to follow my blog and my Instagram page to keep up to date with further dieting, fitness and lifestyle posts.