I love the farmers market just as much as anyone else – here in San Diego, my favorite is the Hillcrest Farmer’s Market. Conversations about interesting vegetables you have never seen with the farmers that grew them, fruits that are in season, and the freshest greens ever! And lets not forget the weird/cool stuff – like a booth with just jewellery and decorative items made of old spoons! But lets face it, I end up throwing out about half of those fresh microgreens.
Once I started residency, the days of only cooking in cast-iron, never microwave and eating home-made salsa were a thing of the past. Instead though, I learned some new, really sustainable habits – I cook a big meal/s at the beginning of the week, and I buy ingredients that are easy to use and can last because I don’t have a long time to shop! And of course, because I LOVE food and have zero impulse control, and because I stress eat, everything at my house has to be healthy. I realized that some of you may benefit from knowing the staples I get – not just from Trader Joes (which has saved my Bee-Hind many times) but also from really anywhere.
- Canned beans – Beans are one of my favorite foods to write about. They are eco-friendly, filling, great for your microbiome, FULL of fiber, help with glycemic control, and versatile. When you buy them in the can, they are pre-cooked and you don’t need to do much to them. Tip: wash the canned beans first (once or twice) to reduce the sodium content.
- Frozen greens – There is nothing wrong with frozen food, so long as it is not full of fats, salt and sugar. Frozen vegetables might even be healthier than fresh, because they are literally frozen at the farm, ensuring that they lose as little nutrient content as possible. Frozen greens can be quickly added to soups, cooked rice dishes, casseroles, and even fruit smoothies to increase the health-factor.
- Frozen or pre-packaged grains – I use frozen brown-rice a LOT. To save time, I would throw the frozen brown rice into the dish as I am cooking, rather than making a stand alone brown rice as a side. Frozen brown rice is also a good filler for a dish, like adding it into a soup as a thickener.
- Arugula – Arugula lasts forever. Well maybe not forever, but pre-washed Arugula lasts me ~2 weeks. And my favorite thing about microgreens is that they are so compact and I can put a whole pack of arugula into a dish without feeling like it has taken over the dish.
- Frozen berries – I keep all kinds of frozen fruit, but frozen berries top the list because they are nutrient dense without having a lot of calories. For example, on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index, which wholefoods uses to label its foods, berries are on the top 5, with fresh cranberries topping the list. Just remember to buy your berries organic – strawberries top the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen.