If you were to take a peek into my refrigerator, these are some of the foods you would find. I consider these foods not only staples of a nutritious diet, but also good for easy snacks and meals. (Most of these foods are store-brand, unless otherwise specified.)
- Skim milk: It’s my favorite beverage at breakfast and I also use it throughout the week in cooking.
- 2% milk sharp cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, lite feta cheese, and parmesan cheese. I use it in some of our favorite meals: homemade pizza, pasta salad, tacos, and grilled cheese sandwiches for a super-quick meal.
- No-sugar-added, fat-free yogurt: An excellent source of calcium, carbs, and protein, which makes for a great snack. Yogurt is also good for smoothies (blend yogurt and frozen fruit together until smooth).
- Eggs: Eggs are good for any meal! I like scrambled eggs for breakfast with whole wheat toast and fruit or for dinner when I need a quick meal. Don’t forget about hard-boiled eggs which make great snacks.
- Plain, low-fat yogurt: My children love plain yogurt and with the healthy probiotics it contains, it makes an A+ choice for snacks. As a plus, it is less-expensive than the other yogurts that are marketed to kids. If you don’t like plain yogurt, try adding honey, jelly, or a little sugar. Plain yogurt can be substituted for sour cream in recipes.
- Greek cream cheese: This cheese is a naturally lower-fat version of cream cheese. I use it in recipes in place of regular cream cheese.
- Condiments such as ketchup, mustard, spicy mustard, light Ranch, low-fat mayonnaise, low-sodium soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, pickles, balsamic vinaigrette (my favorite marinade for chicken), barbecue sauce, A1 sauce, jam, lemon juice, and lime juice. Most of these are store-brands to save money. The exception is the light Ranch.
- Hershey’s lite chocolate syrup for mixing with skim milk for a sweet snack.
- Maple Grove Farms sugar-free maple syrup as a low-calorie topping for pancakes and waffles.
- 100% fruit juice: If you are taking a multivitamin or iron supplement, consider taking it with juice—the vitamin C will help maximize the absorption of iron.
- Hormel natural choice deli meat: This lunch meat is nitrate/nitrite free and is a good choice for sandwiches or wraps. I like it wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla with mustard and a slice of cheese.
- No-sugar-added applesauce: Always a quick side for lunch or use as a substitute for oil/butter in baking.
- Fresh fruit and fresh vegetables: It varies by the season, but during the winter, I always have clementines.
- Lite butter (stick): For baking and cooking.
- Butter (stick): There are times when pure butter is the only way to go!
What’s your “must-have” in your refrigerator?