The holiday season is upon us, and we can barely contain our excitement! Snow, scarves, hot chocolate, and big family dinners – we love it all! What we don’t love, however, is realizing halfway through January that we can no longer button our skinny jeans. It can be really tough to stay on track with healthy eating between the countless social gatherings, all-day shopping benders, and leftovers that seem to hang around for weeks. Luckily, the Huffington Post Canada brings us a list of pantry staples to help you and your family beat the holiday bloat and ring in the new year happy and healthy. The bonus? These foods are both nutritious and satisfying, so continue enjoying them even after the first thaw.
1. Eggs – Eggs are affordable, versatile, and filled with nutrients. They can be cooked quickly for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and are packed with filling protein to keep you from overdoing it on that bowl of spiced nuts. Try making a quiche or frittata on Sunday and reheating slices whenever you need a quick meal.
2. Yogurt – Plain or Greek yogurt can be mixed with fresh herbs to make a healthy party dip, or combined with fruit and granola for a nutrient-packed breakfast. To make it through the shopping frenzy without crashing, go for the Greek – it has the most protein per serving and will keep you feeling energized and alert.
3. Canned beans – These little gems are staples for simple lunches and dinners. Combine them with frozen vegetables, brown rice, and your seasonings of choice for a cheap and nutritious meal that will satisfy the whole family. (Tip: Canned beans are often high in sodium for preservation purposes, so be sure to rinse and drain them prior to using!)
4. Cheese – Low-fat cheeses are perfect for holiday snacking when paired with crackers or fruit, and make a tasty addition to pastas, sandwiches, and salads. To get the most bang for your buck, go for the more pungent cheeses like parmesan, feta, and goronzola. To cut costs, buy bigger blocks of cheese and shred or crumble it yourself.
5, Frozen fruits and vegetables – Frozen varieties are just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts, are often on sale, and can be frozen for months to ensure less waste. The fruits are perfect for desserts like apple crisp or smoothies and the vegetables can be added to virtually anything. Even better, frozen produce tends to come already chopped, so you’ll have more time to mingle.
6. Canned tuna – Tuna is another shelf-stable and affordable topping for sandwiches and salads. A spruced up tuna salad with dried cranberries or celery served alongside whole grain crackers makes for a fun and healthy snack for kids or a casual appetizer at office gatherings.
7. Root vegetables – Not only are root vegetables such as potatoes and parsnips nutrient-dense, but the options are endless. Scour the web for a root vegetable soup or stew and make a big batch to warm up your in-laws or freeze for a quick and satisfying future meal.
8. Oatmeal – We all know that a warm bowl of oatmeal makes for a comforting breakfast on a frigid morning, but how about using it in baked goods to up the nutrition and add a heartier texture? Give that dynamite cobbler recipe a makeover – sub the oats for the typical crumb topping, and watch how fast it disappears!
9. Rice – Rice is a staple in many cultures, so it can be used in a variety of dishes for themed potlucks or parties. It can serve as a main or side dish, or can be incorporated into a casserole to feed a crowd. Make a large batch of brown rice and freeze in smaller portions, and you’ll never be far away from a quick bite.
10. Deli meats – Lean cuts like chicken or turkey are great for make-ahead sandwiches or appetizer platters. Try chopping them up with some low-fat cheese to top a salad for a healthy lunch. Be picky about which brand you choose, however, as some can be loaded with sodium and harmful nitrates.
For more tips on staying healthy through the holidays, check out the ADA website at www.eatright.org.
Source: www.huffingtonpost.ca "Fridge and Pantry Foods: 10 Things to Keep This Season"