Here’s another look at a balanced fridge tour with Hannah Aylward, one of our regular blog contributors. She has tips on the fridge and pantry staples she can’t live without, and setting yourself up for success in the kitchen.
Hi, I’m Hannah! I’m a Certified Holistic Health Coach, private chef, gut health expert, and the founder of HAN. I also write wellness articles and develop recipes for amazing companies like the Clean Program. Food is a huge part of my world. I think of it as one of our biggest healing tools when used properly.
The body has an incredible innate ability to heal itself when given the right conditions. Between shopping for private clients, developing recipes for other mission-driven companies, and nourishing myself, I am at the grocery store a lot. It’s like my second home! I am pretty particular about the ingredients that I buy (always a ton of veggies!) so I ensure that I am taking care of myself and all of my clients.
I try to do the Clean Program 1-2 times per year and have been for years. The program had such an immense impact on both my life and my career. The full 21-day Clean Program is just a game-changer. It helps me totally reset my body and mind, allowing me to remember what it really feels like to take the time to deeply nourish myself.
When I’m not on the program, I let a few things sneak back in like organic coffee, nightshades (bell peppers and tomatoes are some of my favs), eggs, and small amounts of alcohol. Other than that, I stay mostly dairy, gluten, soy, and sugar-free for my gut, skin, and mental health. Once you experience how amazing you can feel, there is no going back.
Whenever possible, I love meal prepping a few things for my week. I’m going to be totally honest with you – this doesn’t happen every week. So I make sure to keep my meals super simple. When I do have a chance to meal prep, I love prepping a huge batch of veggie soup. I also love using my soups as a base and remixing it however I feel that day – topping with avocado, drizzling with tahini, adding in chopped up chicken sausage, a scoop of quinoa, or zucchini noodles. The options are endless!
– Clean Program Brownies: this is a recipe that I developed for the Clean Program and these babies are TO DIE for. I love prepping a batch at the beginning of the week and keeping them in the freezer so I have them all week when I need a little sweet treat.
– Fresh cut veggies: my fridge is always comprised of mostly veggies. I like to wash and chop a few of them and keep them front and center. I’m a big raw veggie and dips kind of girl, so throwing together a bowl of celery, carrot, bell pepper and cucumber with a simple dip (tahini + coconut aminos is the ultimate combo) and I’m in heaven.
– Organic rotisserie chicken: I don’t eat a lot of meat and I find that if I don’t buy it already prepared, I most likely won’t eat it at all. I love buying an organic rotisserie chicken from my grocery store (only ingredients are organic chicken + salt + pepper) to have on hand. I will throw this on salads for lunch during the workweek, a few pieces with soup, with roasted veggies, etc. It’s just so easy! Want to make your own at home? Try this recipe!
– Lemons and limes: These just make everything taste better. I love lemon water in the morning to help my body detoxify and to get my digestive system primed for the day. Half a lemon or lime in a dressing, over greens, in a smoothie, or a soup makes a world of a difference. They just always work.
– Leafy greens: I always have a few different leafy greens in my fridge. Some of my favorites are kale, romaine, butter lettuce, and romaine. I try to get leafy greens in every single meal that I eat – smoothies, salads, soups, stir-frys, etc. I love fresh herbs like basil and cilantro too – they bring vibrancy, extra flavor, and an antioxidant boost!
– All the veggies: Vegetables always make up the bulk of my plate. Whether they are raw, roasted, steamed, pureed, sauteed, they are always there. Simply put, I feel my best when I eat mostly veggies. Some of my favorite vegetables that I always have in my fridge are celery, carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchinis, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, onions, jicama, and leafy greens.
– Nuts/seeds/nut butters: I love nuts and seeds. I top all of my morning smoothies with them, enjoy some for afternoon snacks, use them in dips and dressings, etc. Tahini, almond butter, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds are some of my absolute favorites. I do not shy away from healthy fats. They keep me energized, satisfied and clear-headed.
– Ginger, turmeric, and mint: My morning smoothie is pretty much a non-negotiable. I love spicing it up with fresh ginger, turmeric, and mint for an extra boost! Ginger is also a prokinetic, meaning that it encourages motility in the digestive tract, aka it keeps things moving! This is super important for gut health and proper elimination.
– Almond milk + creamer: As I alluded to earlier, I like my coffee, so I always have unsweetened almond milk and dairy-free creamer around. My go-to combination is a small glass of Chameleon Organic Cold Brew + a splash of a Nutpod. I look forward to it every morning and make drinking it part of my sacred morning ritual.
Other things you’ll see in my fridge here:
– Spirulina: great for smoothies!
– Wild smoked salmon: such an easy, omega-3 packed protein source
– Organic pasture-raised eggs: easy to add into simple vegetable stir-frys
– Sparkling water: I am obsessed with sparkling water.
– Sauerkraut: all about that gut health!
– Bone broth: great for an afternoon snack or adding into soups.
– Fresh berries: I love low-sugar, high-fiber fruit options like raspberries and blackberries.
– Avocados: does this need an explanation? PS, if you haven’t tried my cauliflower bread avocado toast yet, you’re missing out!
– Balsamic vinegar + coconut aminos + apple cider vinegar: my salad dressing and sauce go-to’s.
I’m also a big advocate for buying frozen fruit and vegetables. One of the biggest complaints that I hear is that it can be hard to using up fruits and veggies before they go bad, so they end up getting tossed. This is why I love buying frozen fruits and veggies. I put frozen cauliflower, frozen berries, and frozen spinach in my smoothie almost every morning. I love keeping frozen broccoli, artichoke hearts, Brussels sprouts, and mushrooms around for super simple veggie stir-fry dinners.
I also store most of my meat in the freezer because I don’t eat much of it. If it’s in my fridge, the chances of me not getting around to eating it are high. Keeping it in my freezer allows me to pull a little out whenever I feel like I want it!
I don’t have much in my pantry because most of my food is fresh, but there are a few things that you will always find there. Here are some of my pantry staples:
– Flax crackers: Sometimes I just need something cracker-y! When I feel like that, I reach for Flackers, Brad’s Raw Kale Chips, homemade kale chips, or another type of flax/seed/grain-free cracker.
– Chocolate and cacao powder: I love chocolate and don’t go a day without it. I always get one that doesn’t contain milk and is at least 80% cacao. Cacao is a total superfood. It’s loaded with antioxidants, polyphenols, and magnesium. I always have it around to make dairy-free hot chocolate, those Clean Program Brownies, or to add a spoonful in my morning smoothie.
– Monk fruit: Monk fruit is my sweetener of choice. It’s sugar-free, all-natural, and tastes the closest to sugar. I put a little in my coffee, hot chocolate, or any baked goods that I whip up.
– Tequila: My alcohol of choice is tequila. I love a clean cocktail now and then. My go-to is sparkling water with tequila, juice of fresh lime, a pinch of salt, and a splash of ginger kombucha if I have it! It’s so refreshing and a low-sugar, gut-healthy option.
– The new Clean adaptogens: These are new staples in my pantry. I love adding the Purify (fermented turmeric) and Harmonize (fermented ashwagandha) in my morning smoothie to help my body regulate its stress response. They help me make sure my brain is ready to go for the busy day ahead.
– Matcha tea: I love a mug of matcha tea on days that I don’t enjoy coffee. I also love adding some into my morning smoothie if I don’t have time to sit down and enjoy a warm frothy matcha in the morning.
– Protein powder: Protein is one of the essential ingredients in my smoothie to help promote healthy muscle mass and keep me satiated until lunch. When I’m out of my Clean Daily Shake, I like to use another plant-based or collagen-based protein powder.
Recipe and photography by Hannah Aylward
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