A clean diet starts with a clean fridge and pantry. And while it may be tough to stick to a healthy grocery list when you hit the store, a little bit of inspiration from top wellness pros and health food experts might help keep you on track. To get you started, we took a peek inside the fridge of Atlanta-based nutritionist Marisa Moore to see what the health pro keeps stocked, what she keeps in mind while shopping, and what her guilty pleasure is.
How did you first get into nutrition? What drew you to the field?
Being a registered dietitian nutritionist marries my love for food, science, and helping others. Plus there’s never a dull moment. Nutrition science is always evolving, so there’s always something new to learn.
[The backstory is that] I was studying to be a chemical engineer at Georgia Tech but after an internship, I learned that though I loved chemistry, I didn’t like actual engineering. In trying to find a better fit and a major that would use all of the organic chemistry, physics and calculus classes I’d taken, I discovered the registered dietitian option. Since I love science, food, and educating others, it was and is the perfect fit!
What kind of services do you offer clients?
On the one hand, I work with busy working women seeking practical and delicious ways to achieve a healthy lifestyle. I provide consults, supermarket tours, kitchen makeovers and more. On the other, I work with food and health organizations to provide healthy recipes, health messaging, and other media and communications services.
What would you say your philosophy around nutrition is?
I’m a bit of a purist. I believe a minimally processed diet high in fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, and healthy fats are essential for a healthy mind and body. I focus on a plant-based diet with room for fish and other animal proteins in moderation.
If you had to pick, what are five of the most important/common things that you always have in your fridge?
1. Seasonal fruits and vegetables. Right now you’ll find plenty of citrus, pears, cauliflower (and riced cauliflower) and greens in my fridge.
2. Frozen fruits and vegetables. I keep a stash of frozen fruits and vegetables in the fridge at all times. Though I love fresh ones, having frozen vegetables in the freezer means they are always available with no worries about them spoiling before I get to cook them. I like to toss frozen vegetables into pasta dishes and I will even sauté them with nuts, rice, or quinoa for an easy vegetarian stir-fry.
3. Almond milk. I use almond milk in oatmeal and to create turmeric milk, matcha lattes and to make my morning green smoothies.
4. Eggs. I keep eggs on hand for quick meals – especially at lunch since I work from home several times a week.
5. Almond flour. I keep it in the freezer so it stays fresh longer. It’s great in baked goods and I love to use almond flour to coat vegetables or fish for a crispy, oven-baked finish.
What are your favorite vegetables to keep stocked? What about fruits?
I keep spinach and baby kale on hand for smoothies and to stir into pasta and bean dishes. I also stock broccoli, cauliflower, a variety of peppers, onions, spinach and other greens and spaghetti squash. As for fruit, I stick to seasonal fruit. Right now, I’m all over citrus, come summer it will be berries, peaches, and melons and in the fall, it will be all about grapes. I always have a stash of almonds in the pantry for snacking and tossing into salads and other dishes for crunch, protein and fiber.
Are you a frozen fruits and veggies person, or do you always go fresh?
I do both. I love to stock up on frozen fruits and veggies so they are always available for meals. I tend to buy fresh local produce when it’s in season but many others frozen.
What kind of condiments/sauces do you like to have on hand, if any? (And why do you love having them stocked?)
I keep different types of mustard in the refrigerator to add flavor to salad dressings, for example. I also keep lots of different vinegars in the pantry from rice vinegar to apple cider and balsamic vinegar and more, they are a great way to add flavor to roasted vegetables, grain salads, and serve as a base for homemade dressings and sauces. I don’t do a lot of bottled sauces, but generally keep a jar of marinara sauce on hand for quick meals.
What’s your favorite go-to dinner recipe for busy nights?
I keep chickpeas on hand. I use them in many ways from tossing them into marinara sauce for a meatless pasta dish to roasting them with garlic and pepper for a spicy roasted chickpea snack. However, my tried and true, go-to chickpea recipe is my Smoky Chickpeas with Spinach.
What’s something in your fridge right now that you think a lot of people would be surprised to find in a nutritionist’s fridge? (Does this item have nutritional benefits that people don’t expect?)
Store-bought salsa. People sometimes think that dietitians make everything from scratch or that everything has to be homemade to be healthy. Not true. There are some high quality salsas and other prepared foods on the market. You just have to check the labels to get the best ones.
Salsa is one of my favorite ways to add instant flavor to black bean or pinto bean dishes, eggs, and baked or grilled fish.
What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
Fresh bread. I buy it from a local baker. My favorite is called pan au levain – it’s like sourdough but not as tart. I enjoy it with almond butter and smashed raspberries or banana at breakfast or dipped in olive oil with coarse salt and pepper at dinner.
What’s your biggest pro tip when it comes to grocery shopping?
Don’t go to the store hungry and use a list.
Do you organize your fridge in a specific way?
I’d never thought about that but I tend to group like items together and always use the crisper drawers for produce – one for vegetables, the other for fruit.