As essential as regular grocery runs are to a fighter’s quest for optimal nutrition, they’re kind of a pain. Between trying to go on your lunch break when you’re pressed for time or after an evening workout when you’re starving and exhausted, it’s time and energy out of your already busy day. To make things a little easier while navigating the aisles, get into the habit of stocking up on nutrient-dense, sports nutrition staples. With your fridge, freezer, and pantry stocked, you should always be able to make a tasty, nutrient-rich meal or snack.
Eggs are the perfect breakfast protein, but they also make a quick, healthy snack. Hard boil eggs to slice over salads or have breakfast for dinner every once in a while with a mixed veggie omelet.
Pre Cut/Pre Washed Veggies
From bag salads to baby carrots and sugar snap peas, there are many cleaned, chopped, and ready-to-eat veggies available these days, making it nearly impossible to find excuses not to eat fresh vegetables.
Made traditionally with chickpeas, tahini (paste of ground sesame seeds), olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic, this delicious spread boasts veggie-based protein, fiber, and healthy fat, making it perfect as a dip for raw vegetables.
Plain Greek Style Yogurt
With its dessert-like taste and texture, you almost forget it’s low in sugar and high in protein. Add some fresh berries and stevia to taste as needed.
Organic Chocolate Milk
Your childhood favorite has gotten a second chance to shine as some recent research has shown chocolate milk to be just as effective as traditional carb/protein-based recovery sports drinks. Reach for organic milk to avoid consuming hormones and antibiotics possibly found in the conventional versions.
Natural Peanut Butter or Almond Butter
Natural nut butters are free of preservatives and must be kept in the fridge. They’re a great combination of plant-based protein and healthy fat to spread on whole grain toast or crackers for a quick, balanced snack.
Fruits such as apples, pears, oranges, and grapefruits have a lower glycemic index to keep blood sugar stabilized, while providing the health benefits of naturally occurring vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber.
Individually Frozen Organic Chicken Breasts
Organic chicken has fewer toxins and less fat, and individual chicken breasts are easier to defrost for a fast, low-fat protein addition to any meal.
Get your protein and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids in fish such as wild salmon, Atlantic mackerel, and trout. Defrost and season with lemon, sea salt, pepper, and herbs of choice.
Grass-Fed Bison Patties
Leaner than beef, bison cooks faster while providing protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is touted as immune enhancing and metabolic boosting.
For a quick steam or stir fry, you can’t beat a bag of frozen veggies, which contain many more nutrients than their canned counterparts. Frozen veggies can be seasoned with lemon juice, a little olive oil, garlic, or any fresh herbs of choice.
From raspberries to blueberries and blackberries, these antioxidant-rich staples are perfect blended in your protein smoothies or topped on your favorite low-fat yogurt.
Soy-Free Veggie Burgers
Wanna go meatless every now and then, but worried about the negative effects of soy on thyroid and hormones? Check out Amy’s Organic Sonoma Burger (quinoa, walnut, and veggie based).
Processed just hours after harvesting to better retain flavor and nutrients, frozen herbs aren’t quite on par with the fresh stuff, but they are far better than the dried versions that have been sitting in your cabinets for years.
Healthy Frozen Meals
Instead of a frozen pizza, check out Organic Bistro Whole Life Meals. Sporting ingredients such as all natural chicken, wild salmon, organic brown rice, and organic veggies and herbs, these higher protein and lower sodium meals are a huge upgrade compared to traditional frozen dinners.
Oats are perfect as part of a fast, filling breakfast. Avoid the overly processed instant oats, and take the 20 minutes to prepare the real stuff, which has a lower glycemic index.
The ultimate staple of most athletes, whey protein is smooth in texture, fast ingesting, and has the perfect amino blend for muscle building, strength, and recovery.
Brown Rice and Quinoa
These two pantry favorites supply complex carbs, with quinoa also having a little extra protein. Quinoa cooks faster than brown rice, but investing in a rice cooker makes the process a little easier.
Canned Black Beans
These inexpensive and versatile beans can be quickly rinsed and added to soups, salads, and salsas for an extra punch of protein, complex carbs, and fiber.
Tomatoes can add flavor to rice and bean dishes or any main entrée. They’re also chocked full of lycopene, a carotenoid with antioxidant benefits.
Shelf Stable Milk Alternatives
Products such as Blue Diamond’s unsweetened Almond Breeze and Turtle Mountain’s So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk beverages are tasty low calorie (40-50 calories) and low carb (1-2 grams) milk alternatives.
With healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant flavonoids, this immune enhancing and cardiovascular protective nut is a great grab and-go snack.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This monounsaturated healthy fat with myriad cardiovascular and antioxidant benefits is great for light sautéing, drizzling over veggies, or as part of homemade salad dressings.