Performance Plate

The 5 Ingredients that Belong in Your Fridge

Simple meals to fuel all of your athletic endeavors

The 5 Ingredients that Belong in Your Fridge

Never underestimate the power of a ripe avocado and a well-cooked egg. Photo: VankaD/iStock

Sometimes going back to basics is not a bad thing. Rather than stocking up on a million different things at the grocery store, for example, you could focus on a few high-quality items, save a little money, and still enjoy healthy, satisfying, delicious, power-boosting meals every week. We asked nutrition coach Georgie Fear, RD, author of Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss, what she thinks should be on your short list, plus what to do with those ingredients once you get them. Shop for these five staples, and you'll be ready to make the most of ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen.

The Ingredients

1. Oatmeal
Athletes need plenty of complex carbohydrates to help fuel their activities. Unprocessed whole grains like oatmeal are a great source. Oatmeal is also high in iron, vitamin B6, and soluble fiber. Plus, it’s simple to cook and can be dressed up in lots of different ways, so it never has to get old or boring.

2. Avocado
Avocado is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, a type of fat that’s also found in olive oil and is shown to help lower cholesterol. Avocado is also very high in fiber and potassium, an important electrolyte that athletes lose in sweat.

3. Nuts and Nut Butters
Nuts and nut butters are an athlete’s best friend. They travel well and pack a ton of nutrition into a small package, which helps keep hikers, cyclists, runners, and others supplied with much-needed energy while they’re being active outdoors. Different nuts carry different nutrient profiles, but they’re all great sources of unsaturated fatty acids and dietary fiber, and most are high in minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, and iron.

4. Chickpeas
These versatile legumes provide athletes with both carbohydrates and protein, along with a hefty dose of belly-filling fiber and a vegetarian source of iron.

5. Eggs
One of the highest-quality sources of protein available, eggs are easy to cook and provide lasting appetite satisfaction. They also offer more than a dozen vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, D, E, and B12.

The Recipes​

Skillet Eggs with Peppers and Gr​een Onions
Makes two servings.

skillet
  Photo: Sarah Braun/Flickr

  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 yellow or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 green onions, sliced (green and white parts)
  • 4 omega-3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or parsley

Preparation

1. Coat a large nonstick skillet with olive oil spray, add peppers and onions, and cook over medium heat until soft.
2. Using a spatula, make four wells in the vegetables. Crack an egg into each well.
3. Cook until the egg whites are almost completely set. Cover skillet and reduce heat to low.
4. Let simmer for three minutes. Poke one of the yolks to see if they’re set. Cook an additional one to two minutes if necessary. 
5. When ready, sprinkle with herbs and divide between two plates.

Per serving: 165 calories, 10 grams fat, 143 grams sodium, 6 grams carbs, 13 grams protein

Chunky Avocado and Chickpea Salad
Makes two servings.

chickpea
  Photo: Niklas Pivic/Flickr

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Preparation

1. Mash the avocado in a bowl with a fork.
2. Add chickpeas and mash everything together.
3. Stir in parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.
4. Serve with crackers, pita, bell peppers, or your favorite chopped veggies.

Per serving: 380 calories, 19 grams fat, 280 milligrams sodium, 44 grams carbs, 15 grams protein

​Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas​
Makes three servings.

crunchy
  Photo: William Jones/Flickr

  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. 
2. Drain chickpeas and rinse well with water. Blot with paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible.
3. Transfer chickpeas to a bowl. Add oil and spices, stirring to coat.
4. Spread chickpeas on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.
5. Stir, then bake for another five to ten minutes or until they’re crisp but not burnt.

Per serving: 180 calories, 3 grams fat, 32 grams carbs, 7 grams protein

​​Spicy Peanut Sauce
Makes six servings.

peanut
  Photo: LexnGer/Flickr

  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons (or 1/4 cup) natural peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • ​1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preparation

1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine broth, peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, and cayenne pepper.
2. Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. 
3. Serve sauce hot with grilled chicken, steak, or shrimp.

Per serving: 83 calories, 5 grams fat, 285 milligrams sodium, 5 grams carbs, 3 grams protein

Banana Walnut Oatmeal
Makes one serving.

banana-walnut-oatmeal_h.jpg
  Photo: Pamela Barclay/Flickr

  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 1 cup skim, 1%, or nondairy milk
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preparation

1. Combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 90 seconds. Stir and microwave for an additional 90 seconds.

Per serving: 335 calories, 7 grams fat, 121 milligrams sodium, 54 grams carbs, 15 grams protein

Filed To: Recipes, Nutrition

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