My Dear Reader,
There are so many discussions about how fresh food is the only option in order to have a healthy diet. Well, it’s true that fresh food is the best choice you can make, especially fresh and seasonal food. But our lives today are completely different than that of our ancestors, and it’s sometimes impossible to have fresh seasonal food straight from the farm.
We need to be honest with ourselves and understand that we are busy. We have many priorities and commitments, and we often don’t have time to cook or even buy fresh food. So, can we have a healthy diet if we don’t choose fresh food all the time? Yes, we can.
I am the first to say that I am very practical in the kitchen due to my work and I cannot go to the market every day, even if I am very close to it.
Let’s start by defining what food is.
Food is energy. You want the freshest food that traveled less to get onto your plate. As we cannot shop for fresh food every day, there are other great options, like frozen, canned, and dried food. The most important thing is to buy whole food, not processed food.
Top tips for using frozen and canned foods.
1. Green vegetables are the best choice for frozen foods.
When you buy frozen food, I recommend choosing frozen vegetables, especially green vegetables. You don’t want to run out of green vegetables as they are the ones that should always be on your plate. Incorporating green vegetables in our diet is essential to establishing a healthy body and immune system.
Nutritionally, greens are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. They’re loaded with fiber and many other micronutrients.
Although choosing fresh and organic is recommended, eating frozen green vegetables is perfectly fine as they can retain the same amount of nutrients and minerals. Plus, a fridge stocked with frozen vegetables is helpful for busy days.
The best to buy frozen among green vegetables are broccoli, spinach, courgettes, and green beans. These are best when steamed or sautéed. You can add a simple dressing like extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of sea salt, a bit of fresh crushed garlic, and chili flakes. Voilà: you have a nutritious, light, green vegetable side dish.
2. The Best Healthy Canned Foods.
Legumes (in particular beans, lentils, and chickpeas) are not easy to cook every day, but they’re very healthy for us. They are excellent plant-based proteins that, when accompanied with animal proteins like fish, meat, or eggs, can make up a portion of good carbohydrates.
My tip is to have a stock of canned chickpeas, beans, and lentils in your kitchen pantry.
Be careful when you buy canned legumes. Read the label and make sure there are only two ingredients. For example, if you buy canned beans, the label should say that it contains 100% beans and a bit of salt. Before you eat them, rinse them very well so you can get rid of excess salt.
3. Don’t forget about herbs & spices.
It’s also essential to have a variety of herbs and spices. Basil, rosemary, sage, black pepper, turmeric, and cinnamon are excellent. These can add flavor to any of your dishes and soups.
They have potent anti-inflammatory effects and help support your gut.
For other powerful herbs and spices, you can check them here.
Fresh foods that are worth having always in the fridge.
There are some fresh foods that I always have in my fridge. They are excellent sources of nutrients and are very practical to use.
The most important ones are:
- sweet potatoes
- cherry tomatoes
These vegetables can really add something special to your dishes and are great additions to salad, stews, and soups. Carrots, fennel, and celery can be a perfect snack or aperitif accompanied by hummus or guacamole. Sweet potatoes with avocado and chili flakes are easy-to-make, sweet snacks for combating sugar cravings.
I would like to share with you my favorite recipe that includes frozen, canned, and dry ingredients.
It is a complete meal packed with dark greens, good proteins, and healthy carbohydrates.
Mediterranean Plant-Based Bowl
- Frozen broccoli
- Canned chickpeas (or canned beans)
- Brown rice or Basmati rice
- Fresh garlic
- Dry basil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Sauté the frozen broccoli first on the pan with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of sea salt, half teaspoon of dry basil, and a clove of fresh garlic. Remove the fresh garlic when it starts to become golden in color.
- Boil brown rice or brown pasta on a different pan.
- Rinse chickpeas and add them into the pan with the broccoli and mix it all together until the broccoli becomes soft and almost creamy.
- When the pasta or rice is cooked, add it to the pan with broccoli and chickpeas. Mix it all together and add some black pepper.
- Serve the dish hot on a plate or in a bowl.
If you try my recipe, I’d love to hear how it turns out!
Comment below or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for any specific questions you might have.
Happy cooking and buon appetito!