I connected with Jordan via Instagram (@dancing.for.donuts) and after visually devouring so many of her meal photos, I decided she would be a great person to guest post on the blog about something that is so important for us ballroom dancers. Warning: you may be hungry after reading this post! I know I was!
Hey there! I’m Jordan from the healthy living blog Dancing for Donuts and I’m popping in today to share some of my pantry and fridge essentials!
A little background on me – I danced my entire life and then did it professionally for 5 years before graduating from business school and transitioning into a full-time marketing job. Though I don’t dance for a living anymore, fitness is still a huge part of my life and I’m passionate about helping others live a healthy lifestyle without breaking the bank. I know what that dancer salary is like!
Here are some of the things I love to keep on hand for healthy meals and snacks, especially for those on the go. All of these items are extremely affordable, nutritious, and contribute to a balanced and nutritious plate no matter what time of day.
Oats – This versatile grain is a must to keep in the pantry! Oats are gluten-free (just double check the label if you have a gluten allergy), and packed with fiber, vitamins, mineral and antioxidants. I love making overnight oats for breakfast (just combine 1/2 cup oats with 1 cup milk of choice or even yogurt, and let sit in the fridge overnight) or on the stovetop with some egg whites in the winter. You can also make oat flour by pulsing oats in a food processor/blender, use them as a base for a savory dinner with herbs and eggs, or make homemade energy bites. Head here for my favorite energy bite recipe!
Greens – It doesn’t matter which greens, but I always, always keep at least one bunch of spinach, kale, romaine or microgreens on hand. I’ll add them to my smoothies (where you can hardly taste ’em!), make salads throughout the week, or throw them in quinoa/pasta. If you buy too much, just throw them in the freezer once they’re rinsed and dried – that’s what I use for my green smoothies every single morning.
Beans – Whether you’re vegetarian or not, beans are such an incredible source of protein and fiber. They mix in perfectly with a salad, quinoa, rice or soup and since they’re all pretty mild, they won’t change the flavor of what you’re eating too much unless you decide to season them. My favorites are chickpeas, which I love to roast with some garlic salt and sriracha, and black beans for homemade burrito bowls.
Avocados – Aside from being straight up delicious, avocados are actually insanely nutritious. They contain vitamins K, C, B5 and E, plus potassium and folate, as well as healthy fats, fiber and some protein. That basically means that if you’re really short on time or groceries, you can take half to a whole avocado and add it to whatever you’ve got for a wholesome dish. See, that avocado toast habit isn’t so bad after all…*EMOJI*
Blueberries (fresh or frozen) – I love all berries, but blueberries clock in as one of the best sources of antioxidants with one of the smallest sugar counts of any fruit. They’ve been known to promote heart health and digestion, alleviate inflammation and potentially fight cancer, so be sure to grab some of these babies next time you’re at the grocery store. I love topping my yogurt with blueberries, adding them into my smoothies, or just having a handful when I want something sweet!
Quinoa – An awesome alternative to rice, quinoa is a complete protein and much like beans, has little taste so you can pair it with whichever flavors you’d like. I meal prep quinoa almost every Sunday and throw whatever vegetables/beans/protein I have into a tupperware for easy lunches and dinners. One of my favorite combos is a take on tabbouleh, so I’ll add in olives, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, feta cheese, parsley and lime juice. So fresh and healthy!
Nut Butter – I used to not want to keep nut butter in my house because it’s my addiction and I can probably go through an entire jar in three days, but now I realized how crucial it is to keep in my pantry. Whether it’s almond or peanut or cashew, nut butters are a great source of protein and fat (in a good way!) and can turn anything into a more filling snack or meal. I put a tablespoon in my smoothies every single day, and sometimes for a sweet treat or post-workout snack, I’ll add some to a plain banana. You can also use nut butters to make delicious sauces – just add in some soy sauce and sriracha and boom – peanut noodles!
2-3 different kinds of your favorite protein (eggs, tofu, chicken, etc.) – Since everyone has different dietary restrictions and requirements, I’ll keep this one broad! For me personally, I like to switch things up and keep different types of protein on hand so that I don’t get bored with my meals, but also keep things clean. Some of my favorites include eggs, ground turkey, and chicken thighs. Protein is obviously super important because it keeps you full for longer, but it’s also important for dancers and athletes because it builds muscle and repairs tissue. If you have protein on hand, you can always pair it with some vegetables and/or grains for an easy and healthy meal!
So there you have it! Thanks so much for reading and feel free to pop over to my blog to say hi and connect!