Healthy Ingredients Nutritionists Always Have on Hand
Registered dietitians share the MVPs of their healthy kitchens.
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Ever wish you could take a peek inside the kitchen of a certified nutrition pro? Now you have an in. We asked registered dietitian nutritionists from across the country to share which healthy ingredients are the MVPs of their kitchens.
Avocado Oil Spray
Chris Mohr, PhD, RD, nutrition consultant at Mohr Results keeps his kitchen stocked with one of the hottest new food trends. "Avocado oil spray is great for sautéing veggies, spraying on popcorn after it's cooked or whatever nonstick cooking options you need. Avocado oil has a high smoke point, so you can cook at higher temps without an issue. It also has a neutral flavor so using it on popcorn, for example, doesn't change flavor. Because it's a spray you also get a lot of coverage but keep the portions of oil in check."
Regan Jones, RD, blogger and podcaster has a healthy attachment to this protein source. "I can't accomplish anything in my kitchen without a carton of eggs. From protein-rich omelets to start my day to my love of healthy baking, they're a staple in so many dishes I make. I love that they're economical and protein- and nutrient-rich too."
Reach into the fridge for some antioxidant-rich fruit recommends Christy Brissette, MS, RD. "I always have fresh blueberries in my fridge and freezer so I can put them in smoothies, yogurt, cereal and oatmeal. I love them as a healthy snack that’s low in calories, or when I want something sweet after dinner. Plus, they give me a burst of vitamin C."
Lemons & Limes
Fresh citrus is a delightful way to add flavor without many calories. "Lemons and limes are always stocked in our fridge" says Jenny Shea Rawn MS, MPH, RD. "I love having citrus on hand to add brightness and acidity to dishes with the juice, and to add flavor and freshness with the zest."
Velvety and satisfying nut butters can be a star ingredient in both sweet and savory recipes. Shannon Garcia, MDS, RD, LD of KISS in the Kitchen adds nut butter to oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies or serve with fruit, like bananas or apples, for a protein boost.
"I always have oats in my pantry because they're an inexpensive, quick-cooking whole grain, and they’re an easy way to add fiber to my family's diet," says Florida-based dietitian Lindsey Janeiro who adds "I use them in oatmeal, granola, overnight oats, savory oatmeal, ground into a flour to use in baking, and have even used them in meatballs as a bread crumb substitute!"
Culinary Nutritionist Robin Plotkin, RDN reaches for fresh and flavorful pesto. "This heart-healthy flavor enhancer is perfect on everything from proteins to veggies, pasta and grains. Make your own or purchase it — a little bit goes a long way."
Nutrition experts know to reach for healthy cooking oils. Culinary nutritionist Rachel Begun’s fave is olive oil. "I use it every single day, many times a day to cook and flavor food — from roasting vegetables to sautéing greens, grilling and baking fish and meat, and using it as the base for salad dressings, pesto and sauces. I even season my iron cast skillet with it!"
Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club opts for protein-packed cottage cheese. "Mix with berries for a protein and fiber-rich snack or with tomatoes, avocado, grains and Sriracha for a filling lunch...It also blends well to create healthier party dips."
Abby Langer’s must-have item is Italian-style tuna in olive oil. "I use it in salads, sandwiches, pasta and grain bowls. It’s a healthy, quick — and most importantly, delicious — source of high-quality protein."