Healthy eating is a must, no matter what your goals are -- fat loss, muscle gain, body transformation challenge, etc.
The problem for most of us is that we lack the time (or desire) to properly meal prep the healthy meals and snacks we need to stack on track with our nutrition plan.
Fortunately, you don’t always have to prepare something fresh when it’s time to eat. There are a number of healthy pantry staples you can keep on hand at all times. They are shelf-stable and require little-to-no prep, thereby removing one of the main barriers (excuses) individuals have for succeeding with their goals.
Here are six of our favorite pantry staples for muscle building and weight loss success.
Below are six foods Cassetty likes to keep in her pantry. Follow her lead and stock up on each for an easy way to promote better decision making and healthier eating at home.
Foods come in and out of style all the time, but one food that has seemingly stood the test of time for athletes of all walks of life are oats.
They’ve remained a breakfast staple for decades because they are shelf-stable, extremely affordable, easy to prepare, and packed with nutrition.
While there has been a war on carbs in recent years, oatmeal is one of the best carbs you can eat, no matter if you’re focusing on building muscle & strength or leaning out.
The reason for this is that oatmeal is packed with B vitamins, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. This means they provide a steady release of energy that won’t spike blood sugar and leave you feeling exhausted or heavy shortly thereafter.
A bowl of oats is a great way to start the day (or end it if you like having breakfast foods for dinner). They’re also incredibly versatile as their flavor can be varied depending on what types of nuts, seeds, fruit, or protein powder that you add into it.
Oats can also be added to protein shakes to create your very own meal replacement shake.
The problem is that most people don’t consume enough fish, largely due to price or uncertainty of how to properly prepare it.
Canned tuna solves both of these problems.
It is extremely affordable and requires no preparation whatsoever. Simply pop open the package and mix into whatever salad, sandwich or pasta back you want!
Technically not a “pantry” staple, but fruit easily classifies as a staple food in any nutritious diet. It’s rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and polyphenols. It requires little-to-no prep, and can be taken on the go -- apples and bananas are especially great gym bag or desk drawer snacks.
Fruit is also packed with fiber and complex carbohydrates, which means they provide a slow, steady release of energy to fuel you throughout your day as well as before or after your workout.
Speaking of fueling up after your workout…
Protein powder is one of (if not the very first) supplements individuals purchase when taking an active role in their health and fitness.
While protein shakes have long been associated with gym bros and bodybuilders looking to grow slabs of dense muscle, the narrative is evolving.
Now, everyone from fitness enthusiasts to soccer moms and everyone in between is seeing the benefits of protein shakes.
Whey protein is the most commonly purchased form of protein powder on the market by far. But, it’s far from the only type there is. There are a diverse array of protein powders on the market, each with their own unique benefits and features:
If you’re not sure which protein powder is best for you, click here for some help!
Protein shakes aren’t solely relegated to the pre or post-workout window either. You can add oats and fresh fruit to protein shakes to make a homemade meal replacement shake. Protein powder can also be incorporated into baked goods like pancakes, waffles, or protein cookies and protein donuts!
Building off of the previous discussion, another great mix-in for protein shakes are walnuts.
Walnuts are one of the healthiest nuts on the planet. They’re high in fiber, complex carbohydrates, plant protein, and numerous vitamins and minerals.
They are also one of the few plant foods high in omega-3 fatty acids as well.
As you’d expect from the main topic of this article, walnuts are also shelf-stable and require no preparation or special storage, thus making them a top candidate for pantry staples for weight loss.
They can be eaten on their own, tossed into a protein shake or protein waffle, or paired with a piece of fruit and cheese for the ultimate on-the-go weight loss snack.
We all have a craving for something sweet and indulgent from time to time. Typical snacks that fit this description are notoriously high in calories, sugar, and fat, making them less than ideal for those trying to lose weight or get fit.
Protein bars, however, satisfy those sweet-tooth cravings without completely blowing your nutrition plan.
Our top-rated protein bars are cold-pressed (not baked or heat-treated), produced in small batches for better quality control and contain NO preservatives, sucralose or trans fat. They deliver a palate-pleasing crispy rice texture and come in a variety of flavors to satisfy whatever mood you’re in.
At a mere 250-260 calories, our protein bars can easily fit into any diet plan and are a great way to satisfy those sweet treat cravings while also supporting your weight loss or muscle building aspirations.