What do I keep in my kitchen on a regular basis? I’m trying mighty hard to be healthy, decrease calories, increase nutrition. Less sugar. More fiber. The list goes on and on. I’m not much into keeping lists, but I have based my grocery shopping habits on general health and weight management ideas embraced by health nuts everywhere.

I’m a big fan of eating raw, because, until recently, I almost never cooked. When I say “never”, I mean I cooked once every couple of months, and only then under duress. 🙂   So, starting with the idea of raw foods (fruits and veggies mainly), I nearly always get bananas, avocado, and mangos. Why these?

Avocado has become very well known for its healthy fat content. Any balanced diet must include fats and this is one fat you can feel totally guilt-free about. Avocado is also a very versatile food. Of course, you can just cut it open, sprinkle some salt or pepper on it, and eat it with a spoon, but it can also be used in smoothies, sandwiches, pastas, and rice dishes. This makes it easy to throw into any meal because it doesn’t require any time-consuming preparation.

When you're looking to simplify your diet by eating more raw, simple foods, here are some great options to always stock the kitchen with to reduce the constant labor of having to meal prep and cook, while feeding your body and mind foods of excellent nutritional value.Bananas are a super convenient snack. You can throw a couple in a bag and cart them with you, use them to sweeten up a smoothie, or to add a healthy component to a milkshake. They’re surprisingly delicious when cooked and seasoned. They keep pretty well and even if they are totally brown and scary on the outside, I’ll still use them in smoothies because then, I won’t have to stare at the extra ripe bits the way I would if I were eating them directly from the peel.

Mangos are also fabulous in smoothies. With their sweet taste and soft flesh, they blend well and are probably one of the most popular fruits (in my opinion). Still super tasty when cooked, they can be paired with a wide combination of other fruits and veggies to help sweeten any combination you can think of putting in a blender. They also keep well and only grow sweeter as they ripen, so there is very little pressure to eat them as soon as you buy them. Mangos make wonderful additions to salads and their juice will add flavor when cooked with any meat or fish.

Olive oil is a wonderful substitute for butter. It’s flavorful, lower in calories, spreads well, adds moisture to your food and is super versatile. I use it on salads, to dip croissants or pizza in, to cook chicken and fish, pasta, rice. Next to water, it’s the most-used item in my food preparations. It’s also good for helping mix foods together (melted cheese, stir fry) while also giving you a dairy-free option that is also a good fat to keep in your daily diet.

Tuna. I absolutely LOVE tuna. It’s like the lettuce of a salad. The base point for all of the things you really like. The great thing about tuna is that it’s also very versatile. So you can make a large container of it and eat it over the course of several days. It’s great with crackers, on sandwiches, bagels, or just eat it directly with a fork. As I was mentioning before, it’s like the lettuce of salad, so you can add all kinds of good things into tuna that you may not eat enough of. It’s a good way to really stock up on a lot good fruits and veggies.

I’ve had tuna with apples, cranberries, grapes, olives, tomatoes, mango, carrots, onions, and bits of garlic. There are so many combos that can be created with tuna as a base. I’m still experimenting with different tuna combos but no matter what I cut up and toss into it, I always cook all of the items I put in my tuna (for taste and texture) with olive oil. A typical tuna meal for me always includes onions, olives, tomatoes, apples, and grapes. It’s a great way to really flex your creativity with a familiar dish as you grow more confident with cooking and incorporating more whole foods into your diet.

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