Hey Y’all! Lately, my blog content has been slacking in the nutrition department, so in today’s post, I’m going to share with you some grocery shopping secrets!
If you’ve ever tried to count macros before, you know it can be difficult trying to meal plan, prep, and shop for all the potential foods you can eat. Since IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) doesn’t eliminate any specific foods in your diet, you have a lot of freedom. **If you have no idea what I’m talking about at this point, feel free to check out this post on macros.**
I don’t know about y’all, but I found that freedom to be a delightful mix of excitement and fear of the unknown when I first started counting macros. If you can eat anything, how are you supposed to make all of these number work together?!
If you are counting macros, it is most likely that you are in a cutting phase (aka-trying to lose weight/lean out). Since I’m a relatively small female, I don’t have a ton of macros to work with when I’m in a cut, especially since I have never done a reverse diet. So, I’m constantly on the search for nutritionally dense, low carb/fat macro, but filling ingredients.
I like to keep these ingredients on hand at all times, because you can generally whip up a meal using one or more of these without blowing your macros for the day.
Without further ado, here are the 7 food items my fridge will never be without:
This probably sounds like a no-brainer, but egg whites are low in fat and carbs, but pack a protein punch that’s hard to ignore. I personally don’t mind swapping whole eggs for egg whites, although I know it isn’t everyone’s favorite.
You can easily throw together an omelette with whatever veggies/lean meats you have around for breakfast. If you don’t care for the taste, you can sneak them into a fruit smoothie (make sure they are pasteurized if you are drinking them raw!!!). My personal favorite way to use egg whites is in Egg White Oats(pictured above).
2) Spaghetti Squash
This super-filling veggie is probably the easiest way to transform your less-than-healthy favorite casserole into a macro-friendly meal. Spaghetti squash can be cooked quickly in the microwave, then “fluffed” into noodles with a fork.
If you’re craving pasta, but don’t have the carb macros for it, you can easily swap the pasta for spaghetti squash noodles. If you love a carb-laden casserole, you can swap the pasta/rice/etc for spaghetti squash. Its a great volume food- it fills you up and keeps you satisfied for a mere 7g carbs/100g squash.
You probably groaned as soon as you saw this one. But seriously, spinach is packed with all kinds of good-for-you vitamins, and helps keep your carb macros low in a meal.
The most obvious use for spinach (to me, at least) is in a salad. This is my go-to lunch option- throw whatever veggies/fruits i have on hand into a big bowl of spinach, add a lean protein, and I’ve got a filling, low-carb lunch in a few minutes.
If you aren’t a salad person, spinach can easily be used to bulk up anything else you are making. Its great for throwing into those omelettes or smoothies for breakfast. Spinach also pairs well with sauteed onions, garlic, and mushrooms as a side dish. Another favorite way to use spinach is in stuffed chicken breasts!
If you are starting to notice the pattern, you probably already guessed why I keep my fridge stocked with zucchini- its low-carb and high-volume! Zucchini is easily spiralized into noodles, or scooped out to make little “zucchini boats” to be filled with your favorite ingredients. I love making pizza zucchini boats, or buffalo chicken zucchini boats.
If you’re a grill-master, zucchini, asparagus and yellow squash are excellent companions to grilled chicken. My fiance, Chris, loves dicing up the veggies, adding a little soy sauce, salt and pepper, and grilling the veggies in a foil packet.
5) Protein bars/Protein powder
These two should be pretty self-explanatory. When all else fails, these are a total life-saver. I keep protein bars at my desk, and in my backpack in case of a hangry emergency. Protein powder is a necessity for a quick smoothie when I’m short on time and starving.
6) Chicken Breasts
This is an affordable, accessible protein that can be cooked more ways than I can even count. Throw some in a crock pot with salsa and veggies for fajitas awaiting your return after a long work day. Grill a bunch of chicken at the beginning of your week, and use them for salads, sandwiches, or with a veggie side later that week. A simple pinterest search can always revive a bored macro-counters appreciation for chicken breasts.
7) Lean Ground Turkey (I like 97-99%)
I prefer the leanest types of ground turkey because I like to save my fat macros for delicious things like cheese and avocado. These delicious fats also happen to go great on bunless turkey burgers- another staple meal at my house.
You’ll notice that most of these foods are either high-protein, or low-carb options. Everyone is different, but I like to save my carb/fat macros to satisfy my sweet tooth. I’m allllllll about the ice cream/baked goods 😉
As I wrote this, it also occurred to me that I am being quite selfish by not sharing some of my favorite recipes on the blog. I hope to remedy this tragedy with future posts on macro-friendly (and easy!) recipes using these ingredients.
If you have other favorite staple foods, or recipe suggestions, send them my way!
Until next time,