Making the choice to eat healthy is easier if your fridge is filled with good foods instead of junk.
There are a lot of foods that are good for you and tasty also, but you have to have them handy.
To make it easier, try cutting up your fruits and veggies ahead of time so you're more likely to snack on them because they're quick.
Whole wheat bread and wraps, and dips such as guacamole and hummus are great foods to keep on hand when you feel like snacking.
Jim White, RD, discusses the top 10 things to keep in your fridge to help ensure you eat as healthy as possible.
RadioMD Presents:Train Your Body | Original Air Date: March 17, 2015
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest: Jim White, RD
Your trainer, Melanie Cole, is here to motivate and help you perform. It's time now for Train Your Body.
MELANIE: Okay. We're talking about the top ten things you want in your fridge, and we will get through all top ten today.
My guest is Jim White, registered dietician and national spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Jim, we've got to make it through ten, so start with one.
JIM: My gosh, a lot of pressure here.
JIM: Great, well, hey, who doesn't raid their refrigerator? Do you raid your refrigerator, Melanie?
MELANIE: I do. Yes.
JIM: You know, it's funny, I raid and I think things are just going to pop out. Some of these things. But, I tell you, by having a lot of unhealthy foods in your refrigerator like sodas, cakes, leftover pizza, you're more likely to pack on the pounds. So, I suggest start organizing your fridge to keep a fit and healthy lifestyle. Let's start off with my top ten best picks for best food in the refrigerator.
JIM: Well, number one, I definitely say cut up raw fruits and vegetables. I know we're on a busy lifestyle. I know, especially with kids, when they're cut up, when they're right in sight, when they're looking flavorful, they're more likely to eat them. So, put the color of the rainbow. You know, blues for blueberries, high antioxidants. Greens such as salad and spinach for cancer fighting. Broccoli. A lot of reds, strawberries for high Vitamin C. Oranges for Vitamin C. Carrots for high Vitamin A. So, definitely cut up your vegetables.
MELANIE: Make them cut up and ready to grab so when you reach in, you can just grab.
JIM: Absolutely. Also, number two. Dips with substance. You know, there are so many dips out there that have high calories, but dips can definitely be a vehicle to help get in fruits and vegetables. So, I recommend definitely hummus—high in protein, iron and fiber. Guacamole, which is great. I know you heard on the last show about the avocado's benefits. But, it's a good source of Vitamin E and essential fats. I love salsa, especially fresh salsa. You can dip blue corn chips in there on top of egg whites. Low in calories, flavorful. High in Vitamin C. So, great dips with substance.
Also, dairy sources, number three. This is very important. When it comes to milk, Greek yogurt, low-fat cheeses, the white cheese such as mozzarella, parmesan, provolone and even cottage cheese. Just high in protein, calcium, Vitamin D. Studies showed that it can improve cardiovascular disease. So, definitely keep dairy in the refrigerator. Very important.
MELANIE: Now, I know we are going to get through these, but, not all cheese is created equal. So, you say the white cheeses: goat cheese, sheep cheese, these are lower in fat and calories than, say, Brie cheese and Camembert and things like that.
JIM: Yes, and some of the yellow cheeses. So definitely stick to the whiter ones, a little more on the lower calorie range. Very important.
MELANIE: Okay, hit four.
JIM: Condiments, the flavor spice of life. We can't go without them. I recommend spicy mustard. Maybe organic ketchup. Of course, ketchup providing lycopene to help improve decreased risk for prostate cancer. Olive oil and mayonnaise. You get those good, monounsaturated fats. I always recommend a lot of oil-based salad dressings rather than some of the creamy ones. There are a lot of great low-salt marinades out there than can definitely flavor up your foods without having all the added sodium.
MELANIE: Okay. Hit five for us.
JIM: Let's do it. Whole wheat pita pockets. I think these are great. Or, even tortillas. Everyone's afraid of bread now, and carbs, I know, but I tell you what. They're important. Carbs give us energy. High in fiber and B vitamins and the best thing about the pita pockets or tortillas, you can throw a boatload of vegetables in them. You can throw sprouts, avocado, hummus. Great for vegetarians. If you're non-vegetarian, maybe throw in some turkey. Lettuce, tomato, mustard. If you have a problem with gluten, gluten-free options are available.
So, whole wheat pita pockets or tortillas would be a great choice. Another thing that I definitely have in my refrigerator all the time is a jar of low-sodium marinara. I think this is great. You can create your own and put it on top of pizzas that you can make with bagel halves or even, again, with the whole wheat pitas. You can use it on all kinds of whole wheat pasta dishes or even topping for some of your meatloaves. So, having a jar of marinara is very important. Again, it has a lot of antioxidants, Vitamin E, C, beta-carotene, even lycopene, again. So, I think it's very important to have some marinara in your refrigerator.
MELANIE: Jim, was that number six. Is marinara six or is that part of condiments at five?
JIM: No, number six. We're adding it in special--marinara. Seven, never-ending supply of water. I think this is so key. I even like sparkling water. I'm obsessed with sparking water. It gives me that fizz that I'm sometimes looking for that can replace the sodas. Also, you know, people are so dehydrated in this world, 2% of dehydration can affect athletic performance, so by drinking water it can curb the appetite and give us energy. It's so important for us to have that strong supply of water.
Then, number 8. Almond butter. Great. A nut butter. One of the top nut butters. It has a great source of protein fibers and Omega 3s. Again, it can be used for dips for fruit such as apples. It can be great for cooking and it can be spread easily on whole grain toast. So, have almond butter and the reason is, sometimes with the oil on top, you have to mix it in and then you have to flip it over and put it in your refrigerator for it to solidify. So, it would be a great choice to have in your refrigerator.
MELANIE: I mean, is it better than peanut butter if we have almond butter or cashew butter? Is there a reason you chose almond butter?
JIM: Almond butter has a little higher increase of Omega 3s and a better ratio of Omega 3s to Omega 6 fatty acids than peanut butter, but the bottom line is to have nut butters. If you don't like almond butter, then a great choice would be the peanut butter which would be natural. Or, a cashew butter would be another great choice, but I put almond butter at the top of the list.
MELANIE: Great. Now, number nine.
JIM: Salad mixes. Salad mixes are great, whether it's romaine that you can put with chicken for chicken/lettuce wraps or spinach to put on top of your turkey sandwich. Or, even kale. Put kale in the oven with some olive oil and sea salt to make kale chips. I feel that any type of salad mixes are going to be great. Extremely valuable. Rich in antioxidants. Good sources of vitamins to incorporate in your daily life.
Then, eggs. Number ten. Eggs. I say, eat the whole thing. They're loaded with protein, zinc, iron. A lot of nutrients. Another thing is, if you don't want to crack, you can buy the cartoned egg whites or buy Egg Beaters, they have a longer shelf-life. They have just as much protein and you can add it in. If you don't want the extra fat or the cholesterol, drop the yolk, but I suggest eat the whole entire egg.
MELANIE: Well, so we've made it through ten and I have a few questions for you, but before we do, I'm going to recap. He says fruits and veggies all cut up and ready to eat. Dips, hummus, salsa, guacamole, things that are healthy, low calories, low fat, but really, really good. Add some good spice to those vegetables and fruits. Dairy, cheeses--white cheeses--yogurts, milk. Things like almond milk—very good. Condiments: mustards, olive oil, salad dressings, ketchup, really good. Pita pockets—whole wheat pita pockets. You can throw anything in them and make a great sandwich or a great side to a side to a salad really very quickly. Marinara-- he gave its own little number there for marinara because it's got lycopene. Water—lots of different waters because we are all dehydrated. Almond butter being top, but nut butters for sure. Salad mixes so that you don't have to putz around with cutting up all these things, you can just dump them and eat them, right the way they are, with kale for sure. And, eggs. One of my favorite foods and something we feed our kids almost every day.
So, Jim, we only have a minute left.
Now, eggs have gotten a bad rep over the years, but you said "eat the whole egg" not just necessarily the egg white. So, a little recap on the whole thing. Wrap it up for us, but also touch on eggs.
JIM: That was impressive. You listened. I was about to do the drum roll. I couldn’t even believe it.
MELANIE: Thank you.
JIM: But, yes. Here's the deal. I said, "the whole egg" not "many eggs". Of course, they are still high in cholesterol and saturated fat so, everything in moderation. If we do 3-4 eggs, that can be up to 1200mg of cholesterol a day and, of course, we're shooting for under 300. So, yes, one egg. Throw it in, maybe in a mix of egg whites so I think that's very important to get those added benefits that the egg whites don't offer.
MELANIE: Those are your top ten things that you should keep in your refrigerator for a good healthy lifestyle so that when you open up your refrigerator, as Jim said, to go kind of just mow down on something, that you see all of these choices and so that the choices that you make are not as damaging.
So, you open it up, you see some hard-boiled eggs. You see some yogurt. You see some cut up vegetables. That's what you're going to grab instead of the leftover pizza or, you know, some of the other things that you might grab that are just not so good.
So, write that list down. We'll put it up on RadioMD.
You're listening to Train Your Body – Motivate and Perform with the American College of Sports Medicine right here on RadioMD.
This is Melanie Cole. Thanks for listening and stay well.