Think their refrigerators are packed with kale and baby carrots? When we asked nutritionists to take a photo of their fridge and discuss their favorite healthy foods, we found everything from guacamole to macaroons. (And some pretty consistent trends: salsa, hummus, and seltzer!) Here, what some of the country’s top food experts are nomming on now.
by Kelsey Kloss
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Amber Pankonin: Dairy Devotee
Courtesy Amber Pankonin
Milk: It’s a convenient and affordable source of nutrients, and packed with protein. I love it as a beverage or in my morning smoothie.
Salsa: It’s low in calories, but packed with flavor! It makes a great topping on salads or baked potatoes and goes well with tacos or enchiladas.
Portioned hummus packs: I love hummus, but I can easily overdo it. The portioned packs put a lid on it (if you know what I mean).
Tzatziki sauce: I can’t live without Tzatziki. It’s basically Greek yogurt with a makeover, and a great substitution for Ranch dressing. It goes really well with sugar snap peas.
Sugar snap peas: I love sugar snap peas because they have 2 grams of fiber and only 35 calories per serving!
Amber Pankonin, RD, is a Lincoln, Nebraska-based dietitian and blogger at Stirlist.com.
Andy Bellatti: Macaroon Man
Courtesy Andy Bellatti
Macaroons: These cookies are one of my favorite treats! They have simple ingredients and wonderful flavors.
Arugula: I love the peppery flavor of arugula as a salad base. It adds great taste to pasta dishes, wraps, and tofu scrambles.
Kale: I’m not a huge fan of drinking kale in smoothies, but I love hearty kale salads. One of my favorites has sunflower seeds, diced red apple, red onion, and avocado slices. I love that kale is great for bone health (it’s high in vitamin K and calcium).
Unsweetened vanilla coconut yogurt: One of my main gripes about non-dairy yogurts is their high sugar content. Mixed with some fresh fruit and raw almonds, my favorite kind (So Delicious Unsweetened Vanilla) makes for a great breakfast.
Sprouted grain tortillas: I use these to make wraps or as a base for quick pizzas. I also heat them up to scoop up hummus or guacamole. I love their nutty flavor and their high fiber and protein content.
Andy Bellatti, MS, RD, is a Las Vegas-based dietitian.
Joy Bauer: Hot Sauce Enthusiast
Courtesy Joy Bauer
Hot sauce: I add hot sauce to just about everything—eggs, soups, stews, even snacks like popcorn—mainly because I love the heat, but also because studies have shown spicy foods help suppress appetite and can slightly increase metabolism.
Aerated whipped cream: Believe it or not, aerated whipped cream is a staple in my fridge. It’s an easy and delicious way to fancy up desserts for minimal calories and sugar—a quick squirt contains only about 15 calories! It’s one of the ingredients in my 20-calorie Dessert Shots.
Greek yogurt: It packs twice as much satiating protein as traditional yogurt, making it an ideal quick and healthy snack. I also love how versatile it is—you can use plain nonfat Greek yogurt in place of mayo and sour cream in recipes to cut calories and pump up the protein.
Hummus: This heart-healthy dip made from puréed chickpeas is a good source of vegetarian protein and soluble fiber. We serve it with sliced veggies for a nutritious snack and use it in place of mayo on sandwiches.
Red bell peppers: These babies are vitamin C super stars: They provide more of the immune-boosting nutrient than an orange! They also contain lycopene and beta-carotene, two powerful disease-fighting antioxidants. Enjoy them as a crunchy snack, or add them to frittatas, salads, pasta, and stir-fries. My kids love them too, so we’re always stocked with a stash.
Joy Bauer, MS, RDN, is a New York City-based health/nutrition expert for NBC’s Today show and founder of Nourish Snacks.
Jenny Westerkamp: Guac Gal
Courtesy Jenny Westerkamp
Guacamole: It’s my favorite go-to green food. I use guacamole as dip for vegetables or plantain chips, spread on sprouted grain toast, or dolloped on a grass-fed burger.
Olive oil-based dressing: It’s hard to find salad dressing that doesn’t use refined oils or sugars. My test? I look for those with ingredients I have at home, such as olive oil, vinegar, herbs, and spices.
Olives: I am a huge olive fan, especially ones stuffed with garlic cloves. Unfortunately, I can only enjoy these at the end of the day when I am not speaking to anyone in public!
Ginger: I love how ginger can amp up the flavor of my green smoothie or green juice. I feel like something is missing if it’s not in there.
Pre-made salad: I’m the in-house dietitian for Kitchfix, a Chicago prepared meals company, and while it is easy to make my own salad, having one ready to go when I “just don’t feel like it” makes eating them much easier. This keeps me in the salad groove.
Jenny Westerkamp, RD, LD is a Chicago, Illinois-based nutritionist for Kitchfix and co-author of Green Foods for Men.
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Angela Lemond: Queen of Staging
Courtesy Angela Lemond
Eye-level fruit: My children are ages 7 and 10, so I make a point of having fresh and colorful fruit washed and ready. When they open the refrigerator, they have it right at their eye level. It’s important to try different varieties of fruits and vegetables on children regularly so they don’t get too set on certain kinds.
Red chard: Each week, I grab a new food item that we don’t normally eat. Now I have red chard, which I found absolutely beautiful when exploring the produce area this week.
Salsa: We must have ample quantities of salsa in our refrigerator at all times for my husband. He was raised here in Texas and loves to make his own, but currently we have about three to four commercial varieties.
Lactose-free milk and cottage cheese: I absolutely love milk, but I’m horribly lactose intolerant. These two things are always in my refrigerator for easy access. I’m also a huge fan of high quality cheese and fresh herbs to maximize flavor.
Angela Lemond, RDN, is the owner of Lemond Nutrition, a pediatric and family private practice in Plano, Texas.
Jim White: Fish Fan
Salmon: This is a godsend for me. I eat chicken for most of my dinner meals each week, so salmon changes the monotony while providing essential fatty acids.
Sparkling water: I try to drink around 3 liters of water a day, and plain water sometimes just doesn’t cut it. I need some bubbly to help meet my daily water consumption.
Hummus: I’m not a huge fan of raw veggies, but I try to get in four servings a day. Dipping them in hummus gives a boost of flavor plus extra fiber and protein.
Salsa: I add it to everything! I have it with egg whites, I dip cucumbers in it, and I add to shrimp tacos. I try to get the fresh kind, which has less sodium then the canned.
Jim White RD, ACSM HFS, is the owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Samantha Heller: Tofu Cook
Courtesy Samantha Heller
Tofu: It is a terrific source of protein and very versatile. I use it in stir-fries, throw it in with pasta and vegetables, and use the silken tofu in soups and sauces to make them creamy.
Lemons: Fresh lemon juice brightens pastas, soups, water, and vegetables!
Nut butters: Healthy fats, minerals, and protein—what could be better? Use it in the classic PB&J, and jazz it up with bananas or apples instead of jam. Buy the “natural” kind without added sugar, salt, palm oil, or any ingredient that is partially hydrogenated. Also, skip the “low-fat” versions. Their healthy fats are typically removed and replaced with corn syrup and sugar (plus they have the same amount of calories as the regular kind!).
Seltzer: I always have it in the fridge. It’s a refreshing beverage, as is water.
Vegetables: My refrigerator feels naked without a good load of vegetables in it. I stock up with whatever is in season in the summer months. In the winter, I load up on carrots, celery, and sweet peppers because they make a great base for soups.
Soup: The pot on the shelf is filled with homemade soup I just made. I call it “Everything But The Kitchen Sink Stoup.” It’s a hearty stoup (soup + stew); a meal in itself. One secret ingredient is the pumpkin puree; it adds a depth of flavor and a bonus of beta-carotene. Other tasty ingredients: carrot, celery, potato, soy sauce, parsnip, kidney beans, and much more. The recipe is in my new book, The Only Cleanse.
Samantha Heller, MS, RDN, is a registered dietitian and exercise physiologist and senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Medical Center. She is also the author of The Only Cleanse, Countryman Press, May 2015, and is based in New York City and Connecticut.
Haylie Pomroy: Tea Sipper
Courtesy Haylie Pomroy
Kombucha tea: My body feels good when I drink this; it boosts my immune system and digestion. When you spend money on high-quality foods, it’s important that you can actually digest and absorb the nutrients. Drinking kombucha with meals can help.
Veggies: I grab anything that’s on sale and organic. I use them in stir-fries, omelets, soups, salads, and smoothies. The second they begin to turn I puree them (blend with water) and freeze to use later as a soup or chili stock.
Organic eggs: The combination of protein, healthy fat, and versatility makes eggs a great food for our large family—we use them for everything from egg salad sandwiches to a breakfast quiche or a meringue cookie.
Avocados: We eat them with taro chips, jicama (a Mexican yam), or a little sea salt. The healthy fats help you metabolize fat and create the building blocks for healthy hormones.
Fast Metabolism Cleanse: Packed with spirulina, spinach, kale, ginger, turmeric, pomegranate and 21 grams of protein this vegan, I have a gluten-free shake that is great for a grab-and-go breakfast or post-workout snack.
Haylie Pomroy is a Los Angeles-based celebrity nutritionist and author of The Burn.
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Matt Ruscigno: Classic Veggie Guy
Courtesy Matt Ruscigno
Bell peppers and zucchini: These are two of my “always have on hand” veggies, so I can quickly make salads, stir-fries, burritos, or whatever else I feel like.
Broccoli: This, along with purple cabbage, is another crucial one for me because of its taste and versatility. Both are in the cruciferous family and high in antioxidants.
Arugula: This is my go-to leafy green. It’s nutritious, but I like it mostly because it’s also known as ‘salad rocket’ in some parts of the world.
Nut butters: Whether it’s peanut, almond, cashew, or sesame butter, I use these on toast or with fruit, or to make quick sauces and dressings. They add protein, healthy fat, and micronutrients to every meal.
Tofu: I have both tofu and faux deli meat slices for plant-based protein.
Matt Ruscigno, MPH, RD is a California-based author and public speaker who has a private practice working with individuals who want to eat a more plant-based diet. He also has a web series on vegan athletes.