When deciding to lose weight, you may think you need to follow a regimented diet and buy lots of new food to help you on your weight loss journey.
As an example, you might be considering a Paleo diet, Atkins Diet, Weight Watchers, etc. – all of which will outline for you specific foods you should eat and not eat (or how to track the “points” for certain foods), which may mean having to get rid of things you already have, or buy ingredients you are lacking.
But while you are certainly free to adhere to certain diets you might like, it’s not actually necessary to completely change what you’re doing. Eliminating fried, fatty foods, heavily processed foods, foods with an excess of simple carbs and sugars, etc. is always a good idea.
However, for many of us, the ingredients we already have in our kitchen can be used in conjunction with other healthy foods and preparations as a way to improve health and lose weight.
Below, we discuss some healthy kitchen ingredients you may already have available, and ways you can use them as either entrees, side dishes, or snacks!
1. Frozen Vegetables, Fruit, and Herbs
Fruits, veggies, and fresh herbs are healthy and essential ingredients to include in nearly any meal.
By keeping a substantial supply of frozen veggies, fruits, and herbs, you don’t have to worry about them spoiling quickly. Even when frozen, they retain their health benefits.
You can get creative, too; if you enjoy green smoothies, freeze up a bag of smoothie mix you can just dump in your blender.
You can also puree spinach and freeze it into ice cubes, then simply grab the “green ice cubes” when you want to make a smoothie!
You can do something similar with herbs by freezing fresh herbs with olive oil in an ice cube tray, then grabbing one or two of those “herb cubes” and plopping them into a hot skillet to cook up a meal anytime!
2. Peanut Butter
This ingredient is incredibly versatile – you can enjoy a spoonful of peanut butter as a midday snack, eat a few tablespoons with some apple slices, spread it on whole wheat crackers, mix it into oatmeal for breakfast, make a banana & peanut butter smoothie, mix into yogurt, or even make a sandwich!
When eaten in moderation, peanut butter is a filling and healthy snack (or meal!) that won’t sabotage your weight loss.
3. Oils and Vinegars
Healthy oils eaten in moderation can be used in a variety of ways, from cooking to baking to salad dressing.
You can even add herbs to oils (add some rosemary to olive oil, for example) to add more flavor, and mixing the oil with vinegar is a healthy alternative to store bought salad dressing (which can sometimes be loaded with artificial and/or fattening ingredients).
Rather than adding mayonnaise to a sandwich, try drizzling some olive oil and vinegar over your bread. This will add much more flavor (especially if combined with fresh herbs) without all the fat and calories.
Beans can be made into side dishes, snacks, or even a main meal. There are many types of beans, so the possibilities are nearly endless.
For a meal or a snack, try roasting chickpeas or making your own hummus. Use lentils and black beans to make delicious veggie burgers!
Combine red beans and brown rice for a healthy side dish alongside pork chops or chicken.