As a dietitian I get asked a lot of food related questions, both by patients and family/friends. Some are so super specific that I don’t know the answer like when people ask about drinking some obscure tea while pregnant or if turnips are high in potassium. Others are more fun to answer such as “What’s your favorite food?” Some are a little weird like “What’s your favorite grocery store?” <—- usually wherever has what I need the cheapest.
So today I thought I’d list 5 foods that are almost always in my kitchen. Most are pretty healthy, but also super tasty. So without further ado…
This is somewhat cliche because I’m pretty sure 95% of dietitians worship oatmeal, but there is a reason for it! Not only is it soooooo good, it’s chock full of fiber, protein, vitamin A, iron, calcium, B6, and magnesium. It’s a great breakfast because the fiber and protein gives it great staying power while the carbs fuel you up after a night of fasting. I’m a huge fan of overnight oats in the summer and hot oats topped with melty coconut butter in the winter. And if you don’t care for the texture of oatmeal blend it up into a breakfast smoothie or a protein pancake (<— my personal favorite pancake recipe). Steel cut, rolled, quick, even instant oats are all great choices depending on how long you have to cook them. Just look out for flavored instant packets, which typically have a lot of unnecessary added sugar. I start nearly every morning with oatmeal in some form plus my #2 item on my list.
I eat 1/2 a banana 6-7 mornings a week. I looooove nanners. The reason I usually only eat 1/2 is because most of the bananas in our grocery store are gigantic so 1/2 is a perfect amount. As everyone who has ever seen Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves bananas are a good source of potassium. They’re also full of healthy sugars to give our bodies a quick boost of energy in the mornings, filling fiber, and are a good source of vitamin C, and B6. I like to top oatmeal or some Ezekiel raisin bread with peanut butter with sliced bananas and cinnamon. Bananas are also great for sweetening green smoothies naturally.
True story I hated eggs growing up and never had them on their own until November 2012 on that fateful day where I experienced one of my first terrible mid-20s hangovers. I’m pretty sure the only reason I even tried eggs that morning was because I was still slightly drunk, but it’s all good because it opened my eyes to the wonder of eggs. Eggs are a great source of protein with about 6 grams/eggs and also one of the only foods that naturally contains vitamin D, something most of us in northern climates are lacking. Don’t worry about the cholesterol content of eggs. We now know that dietary cholesterol doesn’t raise blood cholesterol as long as you don’t go hog wild eating 5 whole eggs a day. Moderation always. Eggs are one of the most versatile foods I can think of. Scramble them, poach them, fry them, bake them, hard boil them, microwave them. You can pretty much cook them any way with good results. As I’ve mentioned before I’m a huge fan of scrambled eggs and avocado, but breakfast sandwiches are also clutch weekend eats.
Carrots are a great vegetable to have on hand. If I’m stressed and want something crunchy to mindlessly snack on I try to turn to carrots in lieu of other options like chips. I love dipping them in everything from hummus (roasted red pepper, yeah!), to ranch dressing (not so healthy, but whatevs), almond butter, peanut butter, really any nut butter. I also add them to smoothies now that I have the all powerful Vitamix. They also can be grated and hidden in foods such as pasta sauce or mashed sweet potatoes if you have a picky eater who might not be getting enough veggies. Carrots are most known for being high in vitamin A. Some people stay away from carrots due to their “high sugar content,” but leave that myth behind. A cup of carrots only has 6 grams of naturally occurring sugar. Trust me, that’s not a lot. So indulge in one of nature’s sweeter veggies.
5. Ice Cream
Ahhh ice cream. My favorite food, no joke. Obviously ice cream has little to no nutritional benefit, but I like to have a treat or two around and ice cream is almost always one of them. I’m more into really rich ice creams such as Jeni’s or Graeter’s (Ohio brands FTW), because I’m way more satisfied with a small portion. Just a few small scoops of their super creamy flavors satisfies my sweet tooth and just makes me so happy. Nothing upsets/offends me as much as fat free or sugar free ice cream. Ice cream is supposed to be fat and high and sugar, that’s what makes it so great! Fat free/sugar free just screams “chemicals” to me so I avoid them for that reason, if not for their lackluster flavor. Honestly if I could only eat one food for the rest of my life I would probably pick ice cream. So many delicious flavors to choose from. My favorite flavors of all time would probably be a tie between Jeni’s Brown Butter Almond Brittle and Edy’s Girl Scout Thin Mint.
This list of foods mimics my approach to food and eating in general. Pick nutritious (but also delicious) items most of the time, but don’t forget about your absolute favorite treats.