It's a new decade, new year, which means a set of new goals and resolutions. The top three new year resolutions everyone wants is to lose weight, eat healthily, and exercise more. To lose weight, you need to eat healthily. Remember abs are made in the kitchen, not at the gym.
To kick off the new decade, I'm sharing my grocery staples, how I use them, along with my favorite recipes. This list is what I eat most of the year; of course, I will get other fresh fruits and veggies when they are in season. I hope this list will inspire you to eat healthier and shop smarter next time you're at the grocery store.
Broccoli - I love broccoli! It's always in my shopping cart because it's delicious, filled with fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and potassium. Broccoli also contains 2.5 grams of protein per 1 cup. There are endless ways to cook broccoli, but my favorite is to stir fry it with other veggies, garlic, and tofu for a delicious buddha bowl.
Favorite Recipe:Broccoli with Asian Garlic Sauce
Potatoes - Sweet, purple, red, brown, I love them all. Potatoes are high in potassium and vitamin C. I like to chop up a variety on a sheet pan, add a little olive oil, salt, and pepper and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. These are great as a side with your veggie burger, cauliflower steak, or as a salad topper.
Favorite Recipe:Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Spinach - Spinach is an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals. Vitamin A, C, K, Folic Acid, Iron, and Calcium. Eating spinach may benefit eye health, reduce oxidative stress, help prevent cancer, and reduce blood pressure levels. I like to add spinach in my smoothie, have a giant leafy spinach salad for lunch, or sauteed with garlic and mushrooms for dinner.
Favorite Recipe:Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip
Kale - Kale is king because it's one of the healthiest and most nutritious plant foods in existence. Plus, it's low in calories! Eating more kale is a great way to increase the nutrient content into your diet. I like to freeze kale and put them in my smoothies, and it's an easy way to eat your greens.
Favorite Recipe:Kale Detox Salad
Carrots - Carrots are a good source of beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. My favorite way to eat carrots is raw with hummus, sautéed with other veggies, and they're delicious in soups!
Favorite Recipe:Vegan Carrot Cake
Brussel Sprouts - Brussels sprouts are rich in vitamin K, which is necessary for blood clotting and bone health and also high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps promote iron absorption and is involved in tissue repair and immune function. I like to cut my Brussel sprouts in half, olive oil, salt and pepper them and bake them for 20 mins at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. These are a great addition in buddha bowls.
Favorite Recipe:Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Brussels
Berries - Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries - are a great source of antioxidants which help keep free radicals under control. I love having a large bowl of mixed berries in the morning since they're also high in fiber; they keep me full longer. Berries are also great in smoothies, on top of oatmeal, and they're perfect mid-day snack.
Pineapple - Pineapples are loaded with a variety of vitamins and minerals. They are especially rich in vitamin C and manganese. I like cutting up pineapple and freezing them for my smoothies, and they're perfect by itself as a snack.
HoneyCrisp Apple - An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Apples are high in fiber, vitamin C, and various antioxidants. They are also very filling but low in calories, which makes this a fantastic weight-loss snack. I like having sliced apples with almond butter as a snack.
Bananas - Bananas are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and a variety of other nutrients. I like to add a banana in my smoothies, sliced on top of oatmeal, and they're great for baking needs.
Favorite Recipe:Vegan Banana Bread
Oranges/Cuties - Oranges are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, thiamine, folate, and antioxidants. I love having an orange or a handful of small cuties after dinner as a dessert.
Avocado - If you don't like avocado, we can't be friends. Just kidding, I'll still sit with you. Avocados are high in fat, potassium, and a wide variety of other nutrients. However, they are calorie-dense, 100g of avocado contains 160 calories. Avocado is so versatile, I love it on toast, in salads, on top of soup, and guacamole!
Favorite Recipe:Mexican Chopped Salad
Dates - Dates are high in fiber and antioxidants. The fiber in dates is beneficial for blood sugar control because it slows digestion and helps prevent blood sugar levels from spiking too high after eating. I like to add a date to my morning smoothie or use them for baking as a sugar replacement.
Favorite Recipe:Flourless Brownies
Cherry tomatoes - Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. I love to add them in a Mexican salad bowl and on top of avocado toast.
Cucumber - Did you know cucumber is a fruit? Cucumbers are low in calories and contain a good amount of water and soluble fiber. I love adding unpeeled cucumbers in my salads, smoothies, or eating them sliced with hummus.
Pasta - whole wheat, lentil, chickpea, and rice pasta are delicious and full of fiber and protein. My favorite pasta sauces are the vegan pesto from trader joes or a basil tomato sauce. I like to add frozen peas into the sauce to add some greens into my dinner. Top off the pasta with my favorite vegan parmesan cheese from Violife
Favorite Recipe:Creamy Mushroom Pasta
Black Beans - Beans are high in protein and fiber but low in calories. They are also inexpensive and simple to prepare. I purchase black beans in the dry bulk area of the grocery store. I soak my beans for more than 24 hours before cooking and keep them in the refrigerator for easy salad toppings or taco night.
Favorite Recipe:Sweet Potato Black Bean Bake
Chickpeas - Chickpeas are high in protein and fiber, which makes them a filling food that may help lower appetite and reduce calorie intake during meals. I purchase chickpeas in the dry bulk area of the grocery store. I soak the chickpeas for 8+ hours. Chickpeas are so versatile; you can make hummus, falafel, soups, curries, or bake them for a crunchy snack or salad topper.
Lentils - Lentils are edible seeds from the legume family and are filled with B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and potassium. Lentils make up over 25% protein, which makes them an excellent meat replacement. Green and red are my favorites for curries and soups.
Favorite Recipe:Lentil Soup with Carrots and Potatoes
Brown rice - Brown rice retains the nutrients that white rice lacks, such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Also, a good source of folate, riboflavin (B2), potassium, and calcium. I love brown rice with curry and for when I make fried rice.
Favorite Recipe:Vegan Fried Rice
Quinoa - Quinoa is considered a superfood and a whole grain. It's also considered a complete protein source, which means that it provides all nine essential amino acids. I love quinoa! I like to have it as my base for my buddha bowls, or I add it to my salads for additional protein.
Favorite Recipe:Spanish Quinoa
Oats - Oats offer more soluble fiber than other grains, leading to slower digestion, increased fullness, and appetite suppression. They are also a good source of protein. I love a warm bowl of oats in the morning with lots of berries and cinnamon on top. I also like to make overnight oats for the mornings I'm on the go. Combine ½ cup of oats with 1 cup of non-dairy milk, 1 tbsp of chia seeds. Shake and leave in the refrigerator overnight and the morning top with your favorite fruit!
Favorite Recipe:Chewy No Bake Oat Bars
Tofu - Tofu is high in protein and contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs. It also provides fats, carbs, and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. I like to fry the tofu in a pan with a little bit of oil to make it crispy and add them to my stir-fries.
Favorite Recipe:Spinach Tofu with Tumeric Rice
Tempeh - Tempeh is high in protein, prebiotics, and a wide array of vitamins and minerals. I love marinating tempeh in a teriyaki sauce and pan-frying it. It makes for a perfect topping to any buddha bowl.
Favorite Recipe:Soba Noodle Bowl
Almond Butter - Almond butter contains protein, healthy fats, and fiber. However, nut butters are considered high in calories, so be mindful of how much you are spreading on your toast. I like to add a tablespoon of almond butter in my smoothie, melted in my warm bowl of oatmeal, or spread on toast with sliced bananas.
Garlic - Garlic is low in calories and rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese. I love adding garlic in my stir fry's, they add so much flavor to any dish!
When I head to the grocery store for the week, these are the main items I'm always grabbing and restocking my refrigerator and pantry. If you're running out of healthy plant-based recipes to try, this list is perfect for you! Let me know if you've tried any of these recipes and if you're trying to be more plant-based in 2020!