These are my grocery store staples. No matter what I am making that week, these 12 things always find their way into my cart and I am showing you what meals I make with them. For some reason, I find these 12 items to be incredibly versatile.
As much as I like to meal plan, I think a key to sustainable healthy eating is eating nutritious meals you’re craving in the moment. You know what I mean by that? I know that I’ve had a delicious meal prepped and I go to reheat it… the meal itself is great but I’m in the mood for something totally different. I’ll eat it and after it’s as if I’m still 100% hungry. Has that happened to you too?
My point is that these 12 items can make their way into so many kinds of meals, so even if I plan on making X with the bananas, if I’m craving Y that works too!
Okay, onto the 12 items…
I buy ripe bananas and I immediately divide it…. half goes in my fruit basket while the other half gets chopped up and frozen. Frozen bananas provide the absolute best smoothie consistency over ice.
How I eat bananas throughout the week:
- smoothies (the PB Banana Smoothie from my Meal Plan is something a make a minimum of 3 days per week)
- banana bread/muffins
- banana as an on the go option
- banana slices in cereal
Fuji apples are my favorite and it’s funny because for the past 5+ years, they’re the only kind I buy. Apples are one of my go-to afternoon snacks (part of my meal 3). In fact, for almost an entire year, my M3 was apple + PB, hard boiled eggs and sugar snap peas because I ate it in my car between school and work. That’s a good on the go meal if you need one!
How I eat apples throughout the week:
- apple as an on the go option
- apple slices + PB
- juiced apple
- apple in hot oatmeal
3. ROTISSERIE CHICKEN
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are almost always in my grocery cart too but ROTISSERIE CHICKEN is where it’s at. My grocery store sells a natural version which I get. Because this chicken is obviously precooked, I cannot tell you how much time is saves me with making meals. I add this to so many meals where I would otherwise have to cook up chicken.
How I eat rotisserie chicken throughout the week:
- sandwich Ezekiel bread with veggies & hummus
- in a wrap
- as is with BBQ sauce
- mixed into meals that call for cooked chicken
- added into my “plan B” meals like Amy’s brand microwaveable bowls
4. ALL NATURAL DELI MEAT
For the same reason that I grab rotisserie chicken, I also go for an all natural deli meat. My grocery store has a few uncured, all natural off the bone options which I buy. Don’t get me wrong… I try to select the most nutritious items but I also know that my life functions more smoothly when I set up a healthy plan B. Deli meat for me is a plan B I’m proud of… no cooking involved!
How I eat deli meat throughout the week:
- on lettuce wraps for a low-carb sandwich
- rolled up with cheese as a cold cuts wrap
- on Ezekiel bread or in a wrap
- sliced up and added to eggs
5. NATURAL PEANUT BUTTER
A healthy source of fat is something I include at every meal. An all natural peanut butter is so satisfying to me. I get a variety of kinds: the 1 ingredient ground peanuts that you can do yourself at the grocery store, Justines with honey is a yummy brand, the Jif/Skippy Natural is one we pretty much always have on hand and I love the Trader Joes options too.
How I eat PB throughout the week:
- in smoothies
- on toast that I use Ezekiel/sprouted grain bread for
- with apples and banana slices
- in my Cookie Dough recipe (recipe in my Meal Plan – Eat Your Way Lean Cookbook)
6. EZEKIEL BREAD
Ezekiel bread is just a brand of sprouted grain bread. If you read through the items above, you probably noticed that I included Ezekiel bread in how I enjoyed those food items. So, what is sprouted grain bread?
It’s bread that is created from whole grains that have been allowed to sprout (soaked in water) and germinate before being milled into flour. You may have heard this bread being referred to as Ezekiel bread as made popular by the Food For Life brand but there are many types of sprouted grain breads available. Now why is it healthier? The sprouting process kills off the phytic acid found in wheat, which allows the nutrients in the bread to be absorbed by the body. The sprouting process also pre-digests gluten in the bread as well as protein, making it easier digested by the body (I am sensitive to gluten but I do great with sprouted grain bread!). Finally, flip over to the nutrition label and you’ll see the short ingredient list consists of mostly great whole grains and not much else! It’s a winner in my opinion for many reasons!
How I eat Ezekiel bread throughout the week:
- garlic bread
- French Toast (check out that recipe in the Meal Plan’s Eat Your Way Lean Cookbook too!)
- French Toast Bake (recipe HERE)
This may not be one you would have expected on this list but I find salsa to be a very versatile yet healthy “sauce” in a lot of meals.
How I eat salsa throughout the week:
- on salads as a dressing
- in homemade tacos (have you tried the Taco Lasagna recipe in the meal plan? OMG!)
- over chicken
- mixed in with rotisserie chicken, beans, avocado, etc.
- chips + salsa, duh!
8. RED SAUCE
Another sauce that I use in so many meals. Red sauce never goes unused in my home!
How I use red sauce throughout the week:
- simple spaghetti (recipe in the LG Meal Plan)
- over pasta
- dipping for homemade garlic bread
- pizza (recipe in the LG Meal Plan)
I think I have some sort of egg meal almost every day. Eggs seem to be a bit polarizing… either you eat and enjoy them almost daily or not so much at all. I am definitely in the first group but my husband is a “cant do eggs” type of guy so I get that too. I think I like eggs so much because they’re a super quick meal!
How I eat eggs throughout the week:
- egg scramble
- egg + avocado toast
- hard boiled eggs
- hard boiled eggs in a cobb salad
- egg salad
If you’ve been with me for awhile you know that my nutrition approach is big on food combinations in terms of macronutrients being included at every meal. For example, I won’t eat a meal of just carbohydrates (ie: oatmeal and fruit). Even if they’re nutritious items, I still make sure to include a variety of macro and micro nutrients at each meal. Rice is one of my favorite carbohydrate option! It’s filling and fits well with so many meals.
How I eat rice throughout the week:
- as a side on just about any and every meal you could think of
Another side that I’m all about! Pasta is one of those things that many people think, “oh I couldn’t eat that because I’m eating healthy” BUT it’s 2018 and there are so many awesome types of pasta available. I’m sure you know the many ways you can include pasta into meals, so in this list, I’ll share the types of pastas I buy.
Types of pasta I like:
- brown rice pasta (tastes most like regular pasta to me)
- red lentil pasta (I LOVE the taste of this especially with red sauce)
- black bean pasta (a great switch up and nutritious option)
- garbanzo bean pasta (available in lots of grocery stores)