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The 10 Most Versatile Health Foods to Keep in your Kitchen

Peanut Butter

NUTRITION:

Peanut butter is 85% unsaturated fats (good fats), and 52% of that is oleic acid (monounsaturated). It contains protein, B vitamins, fibre, magnesium, Vitamin E and iron. Choose a natural peanut butter without added fats or sugar and little or no salt.

VERSATILITY:

Spread it on bread or toast in the morning. Add it to Oatmeal or a toasted waffle for a source of protein. Stir it into sauces to add an Asian flavour or spoon some into your smoothie with milk and banana for a recovery snack post workout.

Berries

NUTRITION:

Fresh or frozen, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries are chock full of nutrients. Raspberries have 4g of fibre per ½ cup.  The blue/black berries are rich in the antioxidant anthocyanin, which make them great cancer fighters. All berries are rich in potassium which can help lower blood pressure. Not to mention they are low in calories and taste delicious.

VERSATILITY:

Use fresh berries in fruit salad, topped with yogurt, on a green salad or simply just to eat as they are. Frozen berries, which contain just as much nutrition, are perfect to use in smoothies, in pancakes and muffins, cooked into sauces and coulis to pour over meat or poultry or to bake into a crumble.

Eggs

NUTRITION:

Eggs contain 90 calories, 8 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat and only 2 of them are saturated fat. They have 0g of carbohydrates and are a source of iron providing 6% of your DV. They do contain 240mg cholesterol but we now know that it is not the cholesterol in food that has the greatest effect on our blood cholesterol it is the total amount of saturated fats. If you choose you can skip the yolk and just go for the protein in the white at only 32 calories.

VERSATILITY:

Eggs can be poached and eaten on toast for breakfast, they can be hardboiled and used as a filling in a sandwich or baked with vegetables into a frittata for dinner. You can use eggs on a pizza, in fried rice, on a salad, in a wrap or to make French Toast. 

Walnuts

NUTRITION:

Walnuts are high in omega 3 fats which are known to help lower cholesterol and reduce your risk for stroke, high blood pressure and possibly cancer. 14 walnut halves gives you 4 g of fibre, 18g of fat and 185 calories. Walnuts can go rancid quickly due to their high omega 3 content so they should be stored in the fridge or freezer.

VERSATILITY:

Walnuts are delicious lightly toasted and sprinkled on salad or hot cereal. They can be used in muffins and cakes and as a topping for fruit crumbles. Chopped walnuts make an excellent crust for baked fish or chicken or sprinkled on soft goat cheese. Puree walnuts with garlic, arugula and basil for a delicious pesto. Walnuts can even be ground into a walnut butter.

Quinoa

NUTRITION:

Quinoa is the new super-grain if there ever was one. It is an excellent source of protein and unlike other plant proteins is not missing the amino acid Lysine. It is low in fat and high in fibre. It also contains iron, potassium, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, copper and manganese.  ½ cup cooked quinoa contains 127 calories, 2 g dietary fibre and 4.5g protein.

VERSATILITY:

Quinoa can be eaten hot or cold. It cooks in under 20 minutes and can be used in a variety of dishes. It is delicious as a hot breakfast cereal with raisins and cinnamon, in can be served as a side dish in place of rice under a stir fry. Quinoa can also be tossed with roasted vegetables or eaten cold as a salad with chopped cucumber, tomato and onion. 

Salsa

NUTRITION:

Fresh tomato salsa is a low calorie vegetable based dip or topping full of beta carotene, lycopene, fibre and vitamin C.

VERSATILITY: 

Use it as a dip for raw vegetables or with tortilla chips, add it as a topping for eggs, on top of fish or veggie burgers, in a fajita or fish taco. Salsa adds flavour to salads, it can be tossed with pasta or added to a baked potato or cottage cheese.


Shredded Cheddar Cheese

NUTRITION:

Cheese is an excellent source of calcium and protein. It is high in calories and fat so using grated cheese means you can use less but still get great flavour in every bite.

VERSATILITY:

Use grated cheese in omelets or breakfast burritos, sprinkled onto chili or steamed broccolini. Sprinkle some on a baked potato or melt it on tortilla chips or pizza. Make your favorite comfort food such as chicken and cheese quesadillas, grilled cheese sandwiches or macaroni and cheese.

Arugula

NUTRITION:

Arugula is a good source of fibre, vitamins C, A and K, folate, calcium, potassium and phytochemicals such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, all involved in reducing the risk of many chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. The fibre and water content in lettuce help improve digestion and bowel health while also filling you up. 1 cup of salad greens (1 serving of vegetables) contains only 10 calories so if you are watching your waistline, consider cutting back on your starch and protein portion and loading up on salad. The antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are known to help prevent macular degeneration. 

VERSATILITY:

Use arugula as a salad base or mix it with other greens. Toss it in a soup or stir fry or blend it in a smoothie for a peppery flavour. It makes for a nutritious sandwich filler and can also be stuffed in an onion and feta egg white omelet. This is one salad green I always have on hand.

Plain Fat Free Greek Yogurt

NUTRITION:

Fat Free Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein with 21g per 175ml in Krema brand. Protein helps improve satiety and helps maintain a healthy body weight. Yogurt is a great source of calcium which is essential for our bones. Yogurt also contains potassium and magnesium which along with calcium help lower blood pressure.

VERSATILITY:

Use it in smoothies or on top of fruit. Use it in place of sour cream for mashed potatoes, fajitas, nachos or on chili with green onions and cheddar. Greek yogurt is great for making vegetable dips, you can use it in baking, stir it into hot cereal or mix it with honey for a delicious fruit dip.

Chickpeas

NUTRITION:

Chickpeas are an excellent source of protein, with 7g of protein per ½ cup they are a great vegetarian protein food. In ½ cup there are 134 calories, 6 g of fibre as well as 2 mg iron, 40 mg calcium, magnesium, B vitamins and folate. 

VERSATILITY:

Chickpeas can be cooked from dry or from a tin just rinse and they are ready to eat. Try roasting them in olive oil with cayenne pepper and cumin or blending them with sesame tahini and garlic to make hummus. Chickpeas are a quick protein to add to any meal in place of meat. Add them to Greek salad, use them in place of kidney beans in chili or try blending them into Indian spiced cauliflower soup. They are delicious in soup or just tossed with herbs, oil and vinegar for a quick snack.

The 10 Most Versatile Health Foods to Keep in your Kitchen The 10 Most Versatile Health Foods to Keep in your Kitchen The 10 Most Versatile Health Foods to Keep in your Kitchen The 10 Most Versatile Health Foods to Keep in your Kitchen