Go-To Foods, 1-10

I have a goal of producing a list of 100 go-to foods to help me (and hopefully you) learn what to eat when we are not prepared.  All of these foods will involve minor preparation, if any, and will be foods that I can acquire and have with me for emergency situations.  Some foods will be natural and listed as-is, but for foods that require preparation (i.e. vegetables), I will offer an easy way to prepare it.  Since many foods will require little information or explanation, I am doing to try to balance those type foods with commercially available foods, which contain multiple ingredients.

To reach my goal of 100 foods in 90-days, I am going to shoot for 10 items per week.  Obviously, this starts off easier than it will possibly end up!!  For week 1, I am going to balance five varieties of nuts with five items containing ingredients.  When there are multiple varieties of each item, I will list the ones I considered, but please realize this is not an exhaustive list (also other brands or preparations may be as good or better than the ones I describe).

Tree nuts in general are a great mix of fat and protein without much sugar and thus, having a minimal effect on insulin response.  They are calorie dense and filling, and shouldn’t cause additional cravings, and could help with appetite control.  Tree nuts provide vitamins and minerals that are important for health.  Walnuts, also provide omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants that are important for skin health and quenching of free radicals.

Please note that peanuts are not tree nuts and are legumes.  They are, therefore, excluded from this list.  Since nuts can be prepared in a variety of ways, it’s important to read the ingredients on any type of nuts that you consider.  Some nuts may contain a small amount of natural sugar, which is fine, but I would recommend avoiding those that contain added sugar.  Also, if the nuts are roasted, pay attention to the oils that are listed on the ingredient list.  I am avoiding prepared nuts at this point and focusing on raw varieties.  Nuts can be used as a garnish or as part of a meal.  They are also useful for emergency snacks when hunger abounds.

Please see the attached pictures for the nuts I have found with minimal ingredients and appropriate nutritional information.  Remember, this is not an exhaustive list for these five types nuts (and there will be more nuts and seeds in a later post).

1. Raw almonds

Ingredients in Nature’s Eats natural whole almonds: almonds

2. Walnuts

Ingredients in Nature’s Eats raw walnut halves and pieces: walnuts

3. Pistachios

Ingredients in Wonderful pistachios:  pistachios, sea salt

4. Cashews

Ingredients in Nature’s Eats natural cashews:  cashews

5. Pecans

Ingredients in Durham’s Texas mammoth pecan halves:  raw shelled pecans

6. Lara Bars

Lara Bars are the best low ingredient, commercially available snack that I am aware of.  The “Cashew Cookie” flavor (pictured) contains only two ingredients, cashews and dates.  I have excluded bars that contain added sugar, peanuts (because they are legumes), and coconut (because as of now, I don’t have a taste for the flavor).  Other acceptable varieties of Lara Bars are as follows:

Cherry pie: contains dates, almonds, unsweetened cherries

Blueberry muffin:  cashews, dates, apples, blueberries, vanilla extract

Pecan pie:  dates, pecans, almonds

Lemon bar (my personal favorite, but alas, the most ingredients):  dates, cashews, almonds, lemon juice concentrate, dried lemon juice concentrate, lemon oil

7. Guacamole

Obviously, the best thing would be to make this from home, but H-E-B (my local grocery store) does an excellent job, and even makes a spicy variety!  I bought a container last night for New Years and it was the first item that was consumed.  I mentioned that I was going to add guacamole to this list and my friends asked what I would eat it with (since obviously tortilla chips won’t make the list).  I laughed and said a spoon, same for the pico de gallo below (I’ve been known to eat restaurant salsa with a spoon, as well).  Seriously, raw veggies with guacamole sounds really good to me!

Ingredients in H-E-B spicy guacamole:  avocado, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, serrano peppers, lime juice, salt, black pepper

8. Pico de gallo

I love pico de gallo also, and H-E-B doesn’t disappoint here either.  I could make my own, but I don’t have to.  What would I eat this with, other than with a spoon?  I’m thinking grilled or sautéed shrimp or chicken.  H-E-B makes a seafood ceviche with imitation crab meat that seems like pico and imitation crab.  Why not sauté some shrimp in olive oil and mix it with the pico.  Sounds like a win to me!

Ingredients in H-E-B hot pico de gallo:  roma tomato, onion, serrano peppers, lime juice, jalapeño pepper, green onion, cilantro, salt, vinegar

9. Garlic and Jalapeño stuffed olives

Olives are a healthy fat and I love olives that are stuffed with either garlic or jalapeño pepper.  These are the first items that I will present with extra ingredients that may be considered questionable. These olives contain citric acid (listed as an antioxidant) and lactic acid. I don’t feel like either of these ingredients are problematic, but other people may disagree.  Citric acid is a natural component of lemon or lime juice.  Granted, I don’t know where this citric acid came from, but I’m comfortable taking that risk.  It is an antioxidant and I feel like its presence isn’t hurting anything.  It’s a very common food additive and if it’s made from mold, well, that’s okay… so was penicillin.

Lactic acid is another common food additive, present in any fermented food.  It’s a product of anaerobic respiration, which even my body performs during short bursts of really high energy activity.  I think it’s fine to be a preservative in my food.

Ingredients in Mario garlic stuffed olives:  olives, water, garlic, salt, citric acid (antioxidant), lactic acid

Ingredients in Mario jalapeno stuffed olives:  olives, water, jalapeño, salt, citric acid (antioxidant), lactic acid

10. Almond butter

As previously discussed, peanuts aren’t nuts, they are legumes, so peanut butter isn’t the best option for a nut butter.  Tree nut butters, like almond butter, are much better choices.  Legumes tend to cause inflammation and gut problems for many people, so at least for now, I’m okay with avoiding them.  Be sure to check ingredients here also, as the best options contain only one ingredient – almonds!

Ingredients in H-E-B Healthy Living almond butter:  unsalted dry roasted almonds

You are now armed with 10 items that may be considered go-to or emergency foods!  Until next time…

3 thoughts on “Go-To Foods, 1-10

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