If you’ve ever wondered about what a nutritionist stocks up on, we have the scoop. We asked Ashley Palmer, a nutritionist in private practice, to tell us what foods she always has in her kitchen and why.
You might drink coconut water or use coconut milk in your cooking, but it’s coconut oil that’s currently in the spotlight — for good reason. “Coconut oil is one of the healthiest cooking oils to use,” says Palmer. Corn oil, vegetable oil or canola oil have inflammatory properties and can oxidize easily under high heat, meaning they become free radicals that can cause inflammation in our bodies she explains. “While olive oil has some beneficial properties, it too can oxidize under high heat, so it is not recommended for high heat cooking.” Coconut oil is also high in something Palmer refers to as medium chain triglycerides, which have been proven to have many metabolic benefits like boosting energy and helping you maintain a healthy weight.
Omega 3 enriched eggs
Since it’s not always easy to get enough essential fatty acids in our diets, like omega 3, Palmer suggests supplementing with enriched eggs. “Our food supply is very out of balance in terms of our omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. This leads to a pro-inflammatory condition that makes disease, weight gain, and low energy inevitable,” she says. By adding in some healthy omega 3 she explains that we can start tipping the inflammatory balance in our favor and improving our health for the long run. While “enriching” food is generally done by processing foods, that is not the case for eggs, Palmer says. “Chickens are fed flax as part of their diet, which is converted in their bodies to the more crucial forms of omega 3 — EPA and DHA. Humans can only convert about one third of the omega 3s in flax to these crucial forms.”
Wild caught salmon
Do yourself a healthy favor and add fish to your diet. But not just any fish. Palmer’s pick is wild caught salmon. “Not only is wild caught salmon a great source of protein but is once again also a great source of omega 3 fatty acids,” she says. Try grilling or roasting your salmon and serving it with sautéed leafy greens (like chard or spinach) and lemony quinoa.
Leafy green veggies vegetables
When it comes to nutrition, Palmer says that “green is the new white” so start stocking up on leafy greens if you don’t already. “Our culture has spent way too long eating white foods as the filler and the base,” she explains. “Instead, swap out the whites for greens, whether it’s lettuce, cabbage, kale, broccoli etc. I keep my fridge well stocked with a good variety of greens.”
Frozen organic berries
Easy to use, versatile, tasty and healthy, berries are an important item to add to your shopping list. “Berries are low on the glycemic index and high in antioxidants, which makes them a very obvious superfood,” affirms Palmer. While going completely organic may not be possible on some budgets, she explains that berries should be high on the list for prioritizing because of their thin skin that gets eaten (as opposed to avocados or bananas that have a protective covering). “Getting organic berries can be very pricey, but I’ve found that there are many frozen varieties that are less expensive than fresh.”
Fish isn’t the only food that comes out of the sea. The sea is also a source for healthy green vegetables. “Sea vegetables, like seaweed, are not only a wonderful source of fiber, but are also naturally rich in iodine, which is essential for thyroid health,” explains Palmer. She notes that there are many kinds, including nori (what your sushi is wrapped in), kelp, wakame (what you’ll often find in miso soup) and arame among many others. and many different preparations and recipes available for sea vegetables.