Grocery shopping can be overwhelming — so many aisles, endless products, and thousands of brands to choose from. As a registered dietitian, I’m always asked what’s on my go-to grocery list.
Part of my job is to help clients figure out how to navigate the grocery store and stock a healthy, delicious fridge. Well… here’s a sneak peek into my fridge and the food you’ll always find.
1. Baby spinach
This nutrient-dense leafy green is packed with vitamins, minerals, tons of phytonutrients — carotenoids and flavonoids which provide protection against damaging free radicals — and fiber. Fiber helps with weight regulation by keeping us full.
Spinach is also one of my favorite beauty foods. It’s high in vitamin C, which is needed for the creation of collagen and vitamin A, which promotes youthful skin and gorgeous hair. And just when you thought that was enough, spinach still has:
- vitamin K, which is beneficial for strong bones and digestive health
- magnesium, which is essential for chemical reactions in the body
- plant-based non-heme iron
How to eat it: I eat tons of both raw and cooked spinach. I use raw spinach in my smoothies, juices, and as a base for salads. I sauté spinach in olive oil and garlic as a side dish, or incorporate it into a variety of pasta sauces. One of my favorite recipes highlighting this superfood is my kale, spinach, and warm beet tahini salad.
All fats are not created equal! Avocados — which are loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats — boost brain and heart health. These beneficial fats, along with avocado’s natural high-fiber content, help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar levels, and support weight management. And thanks to the vitamins K, C, E, and A, a variety of B vitamins, and potassium, eating avocados regularly can improve skin health, immune function, and reproductive hormone balance.
I recommend that the majority of us eat an avocado daily, especially anyone working on hormone balance or looking to enhance fertility. Avocados house the fats we need to make sex hormones, as well as the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and essential amino acids that our body cannot produce, making them a great source of protein for strong muscle tissues. Avo-awesome.
How to eat it: They’re so easy to incorporate into my recipes, I could eat them with any meal. I add avocado to smoothies for a creamy consistency. I throw avocado chunks in all my salads or pair it with eggs or smashed on toast to boost satiety. It even works in a chocolate mousse, or as a key ingredient in pesto sauce — check out my avocado pesto zoodles with chicken recipe for an example.
3. Almond milk
As a healthy source of fat, protein, and nutrients, almonds do wonders to promote smooth, vibrant, stress-free skin. It’s high in anti-stress magnesium, which helps to relax muscles, calm the nervous system, and support digestive health. Eating almonds encourages the body to protect itself from harmful free radicals that can lead to inflammation and disease.
When making almond milk, be sure to pre-soak the nuts to enhance the availability of the nutrients and make the digestion process easier. If you don’t have time to make almond milk, try whole raw almonds. They’re a perfectly satisfying snack for in between meals!
How I drink it: I always have a homemade version in the fridge as a dairy-free, creamy, delicious cow’s milk alternative. It’s a necessary ingredient in my morning coffee. And with raw almonds, I throw chopped ones into my salads or veggies. It’s a great way to add a satisfying crunch of protein to dishes.
I start every morning with hot lemon water to get my digestive process going and kick-start my day with antioxidants, including the immune-boosting vitamin C. Although lemons contain natural acids that aid in digestive support, they’re alkaline-forming. Once these acids enter the digestive process, they act as a cleansing agent to help flush toxins out of the system. Other nutrition benefits of lemons include:
- vitamins (vitamin E and B)
- minerals (magnesium and potassium)
- antioxidants (beta-carotene)
Many of the antioxidants are found in the yellow skin, so whenever you add lemon juice to your water, include the peel. For sauces and soups, grate the skin as a topping.
How I eat it: I use lemons from morning to evening in beverages and salad dressings, and over cooked vegetables, fish, and sauces. I even add it to my favorite immunity bone broth veggie soup.
5. Organic berries
You’ll find every type of berry in my fridge, but blueberries are my favorite! They’re low in sugar and high in fiber, packed with vitamins A, C, and E, and full of anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also one of the highest antioxidant-filled fruits. In fact, the reason it’s so blue is because of the antioxidant anthocyanin, which is responsible for that gorgeous blue color.
It’s important to buy organic because nonorganic berries often contain high amounts of pesticides, and you don’t peel the skin off blueberries. If you’re worried about fruit going bad in the fridge, buy frozen berries — they have the same nutritional value and health benefits.
How I eat it: I consume tons of fresh berries with breakfast, stew them for yogurt parfaits, or add them to chia pudding or smoothie bowls. I love to use a variety of frozen berries in my go-to green protein smoothie.
I use this superfood in everything… and everything. It’s one of my favorite, nutrient-dense detoxifying foods. Kale is loaded with vitamins and minerals that benefit your skin, eyes, immune system, digestion, bones — I could keep going! It’s got amino acids, vitamin A, C, and K, as well as the minerals iron, magnesium, and calcium.
How I eat it: I like to eat all the varieties, raw and cooked, as key ingredients to juices, smoothies, salads, sautés, soups, pastas, and grain and egg bowls. For example, check out my tahini egg bowl, which features sautéed sesame kale.
7. Organic pasture-raised eggs
Eggs are one of my favorite animal protein sources. Just one egg contains 7 grams of high-quality protein. One whole egg can also give you all the essential amino acids, 5 grams of healthy fats, and a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including iron, choline, vitamin B-12, and the rare vitamin D.
One of my egg rules: Always eat the whole egg! The yolk is the most nutritious part, housing the majority of its vitamins and minerals and 40 percent of the total protein.
How I eat it: My favorite way to prepare eggs is soft boiled — if you’re a yolk lover like me, check out my guide on how to make the perfect gooey egg.
So what’s the bottom line? Pack your fridge with healthy, whole foods, focusing on plants. Look for a variety of colors, textures, shapes, and sizes, and always make sure you’ve got some sort of leafy green in there!
Nathalie is a registered dietitian and functional medicine nutritionist with a BA in Psychology from Cornell University and a MS in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She’s the founder of Nutrition by Nathalie LLC, a private nutrition practice in New York City focusing on health and wellness using an integrative approach, and All Good Eats, a social media health and wellness brand focusing on healthy, practical recipes and leading a clean, holistic lifestyle. When she isn’t working with her clients or on media projects, you can find her working out at Tracy Anderson Method, experimenting with new recipes in the All Good Eats kitchen, or traveling with her husband and mini-Aussie, Brady.