(BPT) - As the country is opening back up, maintaining health and wellness is top of mind for many. Getting up and moving your body regularly is an important aspect of healthy living, but it can be challenging to muster up the energy to kick off a new exercise plan. Fortunately, there are a variety of wholesome, nutritious foods that provide essential vitamins and nutrients to fuel any fitness routine, no matter the skill level.
Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist and Founder of MPM Nutrition Marissa Meshulam provides her expert recommendation on which foods to work into your meal plan to support a healthier, more active lifestyle:
“Many pantry and refrigerator staples provide ample nutrition while giving your body what it craves,” said Meshulam. “Before restocking your pantry with the latest wellness trend, consider turning to wholesome ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen.”
Dried or canned beans are found in cupboards across the country but may not be the first item you reach for when you’re hungry. Consider making them a regular part of your meal planning, because this underrated food is packed with nutrients to support health and wellness. In addition to being an excellent source of plant-based protein, they are loaded with fiber — helping you feel full longer so you can make it through your workout without any pesky hunger pangs. When buying canned beans, keep in mind purchasing a low-sodium option and rinsing to manage salt intake. From dips and spreads to soups and stews, beans are versatile and great for snacks and meals.
Eggs are known as a good source of protein, but they offer so much more than that. However, it’s important to recognize that not all eggs are equal. Eggland’s Best eggs are the only egg with superior taste and nutrition such as 25% less saturated fat, more than double the Omega-3s and Vitamin B12 and more compared to ordinary eggs. Omega-3s along with protein can help reduce soreness and aid in recovery after a strenuous exercise and Vitamin B12 provides a natural energy boost, making these eggs a versatile food to enjoy before or after a workout.
Potatoes are a bit of a misunderstood vegetable. While French fries and chips are not the healthiest choice due to how they’re processed, fresh potato options are nutrient-packed, tasty and easy to make. In fact, one medium 5.3-ounce potato with skin-on provides 26 grams of carbohydrates, which can help boost energy. They’re also an excellent source of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that supports the immune system, and fiber, which prevents blood sugar highs and lows for consistent energy throughout the day.
4) Leafy greens
Fresh leafy greens are a must-have to keep in your fridge or even grow in your own garden. Some of the most nutrient-dense options include spinach, kale, collard and chard. Don't worry if you're not a salad person; there are so many ways you can still enjoy leafy greens and reap the nutritional benefits. Add greens to a wrap or sandwich or top your soup or pizza with a handful of greens for a crunchy twist. You can also blend into smoothies or juices or add to an egg frittata or omelet. Get creative and you'll be surprised how many ways you can enjoy your greens.
Liven up pantry staples with new recipes
Try new recipes like this Spanish-inspired dish that combines some of these powerful ingredients:
6 Eggland’s Best eggs, large
3 medium yellow potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
Salt to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon)
2-3 chopped scallions for topping
Optional: plain Greek yogurt for topping
Preheat the oven to 425 F.
While the oven preheats, use a mandolin to thinly slice potatoes. Lay potatoes on a baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until they are coated evenly. Spread the potatoes out and place in the oven to roast. After about 20 minutes, flip the potatoes and allow them to continue cooking until browned on both sides (an extra 5-10 minutes).
While the potatoes are cooking, beat the 6 eggs and salt in a large bowl. Once the potatoes are done, let cool for a few minutes. Then add the slightly cooled potatoes to the egg mixture and toss together.
Place the rest of the olive oil (2 tablespoons) in a cast iron skillet (or any pan that is oven safe) and turn the stove on medium. Add in the egg mixture and cover it with a lid. Let it cook for 5 minutes or until the edges of the frittata start to pull away from the sides of the skillet.
Next, remove the lid and place the skillet in the oven (already set to 425 F). Let it bake for another 5-10 minutes or until the top is brown.
Enjoy immediately or place in the fridge to serve cold later. Top with some scallions or Greek yogurt for extra flavor.