A few people have asked me to share a list of the staple ingredients they should get for meal prep. Honestly, there is no definite answer to this question since everyone’s personal preference, diet, lifestyle and even food access differs. For example, someone following the Mediterranean diet will have a different list of staple ingredients than someone who’s following a raw food diet.
In the second video in the series on getting started with meal prep, I attempt to address this question using four general categories:
These are the categories I use when thinking about my shopping lists and meals.
I think one of the keys to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is enjoying and being excited about the food you cook. Therefore, spices and herbs are very important to me. Salt and black pepper are a great start but there is a whole world of yumminess you can create when you incorporate other spices. Here are some spices and herbs that I always have in my kitchen:
- Black Pepper
- Cayenne Pepper
- Chipotle Powder
- Chili Powder
- Garlic/Garlic Powder
There are so many sources of protein out there. I generally have a mix of plant and animal based proteins. Chicken and fish are my most commonly consumed types of animal protein. But I also incorporate Greek yogurt and eggs into my diet. When it comes to plant-based proteins sources, I really don’t discriminate: I eat all types of beans and nuts.
Here are my most used protein ingredients:
- Black Beans
- Chicken Peas
- Greek Yogurt
- Poultry: chicken (usually drumsticks) and ground turkey
There are four categories of carbohydrates: sugars, starch, fiber and oligosaccharides. In a later post I’ll go into the differences between these types of carbohydrates. I think it is safe to say, however, that almost every diet agrees that the carbohydrates found in green vegetables (mostly fiber) are great for our bodies. I also incorporate of a lot of whole grains into my diet. Learn more about the different categories of carbs by reading “What You Need to Know About Carbs“.
Here are my go-to sources of carbohydrates:
Our bodies need fats! Let’s just stop villainizing this macronutrient. Fats are very satiating nutrient and provide our bodies with energy. Now, I’m not saying that you should go forth and inhale a block of lard. Just don’t completely eliminate fats from your diet; low-fat diets have been shown to be problematic and unsustainable.
Here are my most commonly used sources of fats:
- Coconut Oil
- Olive Oil
- Meat & fish: chicken, turkey, red snapper and salmon
- Peanut Oil
Meal Prep Shopping Lists
There is no universal meal prep shopping list that will work for every one. However, keeping in mind these categories will be a great start as you determine what foods would work best for you fitness and nutrition goals.