Your Healthy Kitchen: Cooking Essentials

By Dr. Caroline Cederquist and Joy Lynn Post, Dietitian –

Healthy KitchenWe took a poll of the most important things our specialists and dietary staff have on their shelves. These are the items we use the most at home in our own kitchens. We’ve dubbed them ‘Cooking Essentials’ because we use them all the time at home, at the office, and even while traveling. In fact, we feel we can’t do without them.

Turn your kitchen into a healthy one with these cooking essentials. These are mainstay items that help you stay on track, lose weight, and add lots of flavor to your meals and snacks. A lot of these items can also be used to substitute higher calorie foods for healthier ones.

For Your Healthy Kitchen: Cooking Essentials
In the Fridge
Baby Carrots – for when you have the ‘crunchies’, or need something to dip in place of a chip
Frozen vegetables – for easy microwave side dish
Lemon Juice – Add zest to salads, squeeze lemon atop your tuna or shrimp
Greek Yogurt – use in place of heavy cream, or sour cream, or as a protein source
Salsa – this adds zing to salads, soups, and entrées like baked chicken
Edamame – pop into the microwave, sprinkle a little salt and Voila! A filling protein snack
Frozen Shrimp – you don’t have to defrost these, so stir-fry is a snap

In the Spice Cupboard
Hot Sauce – use to give foods a kick of flavor
Olive Oil – for cooking, salad dressings, and marinades
Spice Rack – spin this baby around like Russian roulette
Crushed Red Pepper – jazzes up the most boring meal
Stevia – sweetener to use in place of sugar in lemonade, sweet tea, or coffee
Sea Salt – this is rich in trace minerals, and doesn’t have any added free-flowing agents.
Vinegars – like balsamic, red or white wine, tarragon, apple cider, and rice vinegars all make a great base for homemade marinades and salad dressings

In the Pantry
Protein Powder – for a quick snack or meal
Vegetable Broth – use to cook meat instead of oil and steam your veggies in broth to add extra flavor
Canned Tuna – for a fast dose of protein (squirt some lemon juice on top)
Tomato Paste – for adding concentrated tomato flavor in place of ketchup
Almond Milk – this has a longer shelf life than regular milk, and helpful for those avoiding dairy.
Nuts – for a quick snack on the go
Peanut butter or Almond butter – for a ‘spoon snack’
Artichoke hearts – or any other canned veggie that you can throw in as a quick side dish
Garlic Cloves – these stay fresh for a while in your cupboard, and boost flavor in soups and sides

Tools of the Trade
Mini-Electric Vegetable Chopper for slicing things quickly without a knife and cutting board
Sharp Chef’s Knife – for those veggies you need to slice
Easy-to-clean cutting board – to keep your kitchen counter safe, and to cut chicken or steak into chunks or strips
Blender Bottle – no electricity, no- mess way to blend your protein powder and blast lumps. Use it to make dressings and marinades as well. Travel without your blender!

Top 10 Best Foods for Your Weight Loss Shopping List
Get ready to pack your cart, without packing on pounds. We took a poll of the most important things our specialists and dietary staff have on their shopping list.  These are the items we use the most at home in our own kitchens, and we have dubbed them ‘Shopping Essentials’, because we use them all the time at home, at the office, and even while traveling.  In fact, we feel we can’t do without them.

These are mainstay items that help you stay on track, lose weight, and add lots of flavor to your meals and snacks. A lot of these items can also be used to substitute higher calorie foods for healthier ones.

Here are the top 10 best things to have on your shopping list if you’re trying to lose weight.

  • Greek Yogurt – the plain version can be used in place of heavy cream in cooking, and replaces sour cream perfectly. Packed with protein, top it with sugar free jelly for a satisfyingly-sweet snack.
  • Edamame – Asians are on to something. Microwave frozen edamame (soybeans) for about 5 minutes, put on a pinch of sea salt, and you’ve got a great hand-to-mouth snack which can serve as popcorn replacement. If the Far East flavor doesn’t suit you, try munching on nuts – like 24 oven roasted almonds.
  • Olive Oil – Your best bet for easy salad dressing, cooking, and marinating, EVOO tops the list. Buy in the dark bottle, and keep on a room temperature shelf for the most potency.
  • Vinegar – Be it balsamic, red or white wine, tarragon, apple cider, or rice vinegar – they all make a great base for quick homemade marinades and salad dressings. Try rice vinegar, dill and peeled cucumber to make a delicious cucumber salad.
  • Canned Tuna or Chicken – Grab and go items, just don’t forget the can opener. Squeeze on a little lemon juice with salt and pepper for a tasty tuna dish.
  • Protein Powder – versatile, easy, filling and yum. Does it get much better than that? Try using protein powder in place of half your flour in your favorite baked goods recipes.
  • Chicken Broth – Use chicken broth to steam veggies to beef up flavor, and try sautéing chicken and onions in veggie broth to avoid heavy oils.
  • Frozen fish or shrimp – No defrosting necessary, Wok up frozen shrimp, or bake fish straight from frozen. Spoon some salsa on top for a nice tomato twist.
  • Salsa – The uses for salsa just keep coming. Mix with greek yogurt for a yummy low-fat dip. Make chicken southwest style by marinating with chipotle salsa. Spoon atop salads and you’ll never miss the dressing.
  • Bagged Salads – cut your chopping time, and buy salads that are already washed, fresh, and ready to dress. Stuff inside wraps, or grab a bag with some deli meat and lowfat dressing for a ready-fast lunch.

Cederquist Medical Wellness Center
239.593.0663
www.DrCederquist.com

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