The old adage “abs are made in the kitchen” holds a lot of truth. The gym is where you put in the time and energy to get your muscles in great shape, but a lot of hard work comes in the kitchen, structuring your diet to help you achieve your health, fitness and physique goals. There are many factors at play here. One way to take the complication out of your kitchen is to always have some high-quality staple foods on hand.
Things like eggs, greens, nuts and protein should always inhabit your fridge and cupboards. This takes the guesswork out of what you’re going to eat in a pinch and makes sure that you’re always surrounded by healthy options that aren’t going to derail your progress. Read on, make a grocery list and stock your kitchen with the good stuff.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is one of those things you should always have around. It’s handy in just about any cooking situation and its uses are nearly endless. Use it to saute vegetables, drizzle it over a salad as a dressing or put it in a marinade for meats or veggies. Olive oil is good for everything, including your health.
Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats, which are considered healthy fats, according to the Mayo Clinic. Monounsaturated fatty acids, like those in olive oil, can help reduce the risk of heart disease by improving your risk factors and lowering your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. Just don’t go guzzling the stuff. Because of its fat content, olive oil is high in calories.
Whether eggs are good for you or not has been a hotly-debated topic in the health world. To some they’re public enemy number one. They’re considered tiny little cholesterol bombs and agents of salmonella. However, according to one study published in 2013, egg consumption is not associated with cardiovascular disease in the general population, but might be associated with increased incidence of type 2 diabetes. In general, eggs are good for you and a good thing to keep in the kitchen.
According to the BBC, eggs are a good, inexpensive source of high-quality protein. Whites carry more than half of the protein and are super sources of selenium, vitamin D, B2, B6, B12 and minerals like zinc, iron and copper. Yolks are packed with fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and lecithin. Some brands of eggs even contain omega-3 fatty acids – check the box to make sure.
The best thing about eggs? You know, aside from all of the incredible health benefits? They’re so versatile. Hard boil them and put them in salads, fry one up for on top of your avocado toast, you name it. Keep them in the kitchen and you’ll always have the makings of a quick and easy meal.
You’ve got to get your greens, and the easiest way to make sure you do is to keep your fridge fully stocked with lettuce, spinach, kale, collards, chard and all of those leafy green vegetables that your mom always told you to eat. Make a big old salad, toss them in a smoothie, do whatever you have to do to make sure you’re meeting your quota. Packing your diet with leafy green vegetables will help you meet your fitness and physique goals, no matter if you’re trying to lose weight or put on muscle.
According to the Paleo-centric site Mark’s Daily Apple, leafy greens are important for a lot of reasons. Greens sport magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, folate, and betaine in their leaves. Some of them, like spinach and collards, even pack some added protein. Whip up a kale salad with olive oil dressing or a spinach omelet with those eggs and reap the benefits of leafy green veggies.
Nuts And Nut Butters
Nuts are convenient, delicious, inexpensive and they typically have a longer expiration period, so they’re practically perfect for keeping around in your kitchen – provided you don’t have an allergy. According to the Mayo Clinic, working nuts into your balanced diet could be good for the health of your heart. Nuts contain unsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients that could lower levels of “bad cholesterol” known as LDL.
Nuts are sources of unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamin E, plant sterols and l-arginine, too. Nut butters lose a little of the fiber of nuts and can pack a bit more fat, but they’re great for having around the kitchen to make a sandwich, throw in a smoothie or just grab a spoonful for some quick energy. Just be careful not to go too nuts (pun intended). Most nuts are high in calories, so watch your serving size and be sure not to overdo it
High Quality Protein
Keeping some high-quality protein on hand is a solid choice in any kitchen. The right protein can help you lose weight, build muscle, stay full longer, reduce hunger, improve your immune system and bring with it a host of other health benefits. But choosing a protein that’s clean and nutritious is just as important, if not more so, than having it in the first place.
Performance Inspired Nutrition’s protein products are the best quality available and produced under strict guidelines in meticulously maintained facilities. There’s no filler, no subpar ingredients and everything that goes into Performance Inspired products is all natural. Keep a container of Performance Whey Protein or Ripped Whey Protein around to make a quick shake when you need a jolt of protein. Or use it to make pancakes, protein pudding, protein bites or an amped up oatmeal.
Keep your kitchen well stocked and you could save yourself from having to scramble for meal ideas and snacks, which could send you straight for the drive thru. Keep some nuts, protein, eggs, oil and lots of leafy greens at hand. If your kitchen’s in order, your diet’s in order. And if your diet’s in order, you’re one step closer to meeting your fitness, health and physique goals.