What Do Nutritionists Eat? We Toured Inside a Dietitian’s Fridge and Found These 15 Groceries
Not only did a registered dietitian reveal what she and other nutrition pros eat...she also name-drops few of her favorite brands for you to add to your grocery list.
It’s another week. You have lunches to pack, dinners to plan, and bellies to satisfy (including your own). Truth is, trying to cook healthy meals the way some influencers do can feel like trying to style your hair as well as your stylist does it—it’s just never as effortless for us mere mortals. And, drumming up inspo to stock the kitchen with foods that actually excite you? That’s some next-level brainstorming.
Fortunately, we’ve got you. The Healthy @Reader’s Digest spoke with Valerie Agyeman, RD, women’s health dietitian and host of The Flourish Heights Podcast, to get some inside info…that is, the info on what’s inside her refrigerator. “The secret to better health is to start with your fridge,” Agyeman says—adding, no surprise, that simplicity is one main ingredient for any healthy eating goal. “Convenience is a key player of food choice these days,” she says. “Having a well-stocked refrigerator will put you ahead of the game as you create nutrient-dense meals and snacks that will nourish your body throughout the day.”
The items in this dietitian’s refrigerator will make it easy for you to plan ahead and whip together healthy meals all week long.
1. Stonyfield Organic Probiotic Smoothie Low-Fat Yogurt
“This drinkable yogurt is packed with billions of live active cultures, also known as probiotics, which support digestion and keep the bad bacteria from getting out of control,” Agyeman explains. “It has B vitamins, protein and magnesium, which are key nutrients for women.”
This dietitian’s favorite flavors? Wild berry and peach.
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2. Silk Almond & Cashew Milk
“This plant-based milk has 10 grams of protein to support the muscles, skin [and] hair and keeps you feeling full for longer,” Agyeman says. “This is a great option for individuals who are vegan, allergic to dairy or are lactose-intolerant.” She adds that the nutty flavor makes this a fun addition to a lot of recipes.
3. Sunsweet Amaz!n™ Prune Juice
“This prune juice is my absolute favorite, especially for busy mornings when I need an energy fix,” she says. “In just one cup you’ll get four grams of fiber to support healthy digestion and five essential nutrients: potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, copper and niacin—all of which contribute toward optimal health.”
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Berries are packed with antioxidants, fiber and natural sugars, Agyeman says. “When it comes to heart health, research suggests that [berries] may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce oxidative stress in the body keeping you healthy overall.” She loves tossing berries in a smoothie, in oatmeal or grabbing a few as a snack.
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Fall is the season apples tend to be most celebrated…but isn’t any time of year ripe for a good, crunchy apple? “Apples are a source of fiber, which slows down digestion, so you feel fuller after eating,” Agyeman explains. “So many people don’t get enough fiber in their diet, so having apples on hand will help you meet your fiber needs.”
Apples also “contain pectin that supports a healthy gut by feeding the good bacteria in your digestive tract,” she says. Curious how she eats apples? “I love them sliced and paired with nut butter for an easy, filling snack.” (In addition to their almond butter, we are loving Once Again’s all natural cashew butter.)
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6. Baby Spinach & Spring Mix
“Having dark, leafy greens on hand can add more nutrition to your go-to dishes!” she says. “[Greens are] packed with key nutrients like potassium, fiber, calcium and magnesium and can be enjoyed cooked or raw.” This dietitian also reveals she loves to boost the nutrition in soups, stews and rice dishes by tossing in a healthy handful of greens.
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“Mushrooms are versatile and have a similar texture to meat, making [them] a great substitute for the times you want a plant-based meal,” Agyeman says.
Mushrooms contain B vitamins—”and specifically, wild mushrooms or mushrooms treated with UV light, are good sources of vitamin D.” Her favorite way to prepare them is as a side dish—”Sautéed in extra virgin olive oil with garlic, fresh herbs and black pepper.”
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8. Cherry Tomatoes
“Not only are they juicy and sweet, tomatoes are rich in lycopene, as well as vitamin A and vitamin C, to help fight disease and support immunity,” Agyeman says. “Lycopene continues to be studied for its anticancer effects.”
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Craving crunch? Reach for some walnuts. “Walnuts are a source of healthy fats to fight inflammation [and] support your heart and brain health,” Agyeman explains. “My favorite way to enjoy walnuts are toasted as a snack with cinnamon or crushed to use as a coating on fish.”
Why does she store walnuts in the fridge? There, she says, they will remain fresh for up to three months.
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Herbs add not only some beautiful color, flavor, and aroma…turns out, they pack in extra nutrition, too. “Rosemary leaves contain disease-fighting compounds called phytochemicals,” Agyeman says. “I love using fresh or dried rosemary because it adds flavor and boosts nutrition in my meals, from salads to soups, roasted root veggies, and meat dishes, too.”
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“Mozzarella is lower in calories and fat compared to other cheeses, and it’s a great way to pack in protein to your favorite recipes,” she says. “It also contains bacteria that act as probiotics to support the gut.”
She explains that mozzarella is lower in lactose than many other cheeses, so it can be a tummy-friendlier cheese for some people who have a dairy sensitivity. Agyeman adds mozzarella to eggs, salads, and even tomato basil soup.
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She always has eggs on hand because they are a versatile and a nutritious food. “In fact, eggs have protein, healthy fats and nutrients like iron, folate and choline which have many health benefits from supporting brain health to energy and metabolism,” she says. For those who want a quick meal and don’t have much time, she adds, “The best part is that [eggs] don’t take a long time to make.”
13. Cooked Salmon
Agyeman says, “Salmon contains omega-3’s which supports female fertility, heart health and mental wellness.” She points out that “many health organizations recommend eating seafood twice per week for optimal health.” How does she make it? “I love salmon in pasta, pan-seared on a bed of greens or in a warm chowder,” she shares.
14. Cooked Rice
“Rice is a grain that can be a part of a balanced eating routine,” Agyeman says. “It’s enriched with nutrients like B vitamins.”
Cooking with rice can make meal prepping easy, she explains, because, “[rice] pretty much goes with anything and is super filling.” Her favorite meal? “I love rice with vegetables like green peppers, onions, cabbage and paired with a protein source like chicken.”
15. Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
“Vinaigrettes are a nutrient-dense salad dressing option when compared to the creamier kind,” Agyeman says, and her make-at-home vinaigrette is made of balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic, Dijon mustard and honey.
The pre-bottled ones are OK too, Agyeman says—recommending you look for one with “straightforward ingredients, so you know what you’re eating.”
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Editor’s Note: The Healthy @Reader’s Digest’s Medical Review Board member Latoya Julce notes that though prune juice and almond milks are great items to have on hand, readers shold check the label for added sugar. Readers should know that a lot of juice products and milk brands sometimes ruin nutrition by adding tons of sugar for a better taste. Oat and almond milk are amazing but sometimes the nutrition label shows 20 grams of added sugar, which defeats its purpose for fueling the body.