If you’ve committed to losing weight by following the Jenny Craig program, the majority of your meal planning is already done. However, to truly make your meals complete (and add even more nutrients), you’ll want to go grocery shopping for your Fresh & Free Additions. We know how grocery shopping without a list can go — you can end up buying everything in the aisle, derailing your weight loss progress, and leaving a hole in your wallet. Eating healthy on a budget can be difficult, especially if you don’t know which items actually provide you with optimal nutrition and align with your weight loss goals.
Markets are filled with inexpensive, healthy food items; you just need to know where to look. Once you find your favorite low-cost nutritious food items, you’ll find it easy to keep up with a healthy diet and continue your weight loss journey. To help you stay on track, here are eight healthy and versatile foods to include:
Broccoli can be used in many different ways — roast it to create a crunchy treat or blanch or steam it to bring out its bright color. We personally love it stirred into our Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, or you can enjoy steamed broccoli on the side with some red pepper flakes and lemon juice for a zesty and flavorful twist. Mix up your broccoli by adding different herbs and spices or add a splash of balsamic vinegar for a healthy flavoring. If you’re following the Jenny Craig menu, take advantage of the free flavor enhancers or add broccoli to any of your meals to add bulk to your healthy meal.
Just like clothes, vegetables can be trendy too! Cauliflower has been a hot food vegetable for a few years now. You can toss it into the food processor to create rice or cut huge chunks to resemble a veggie “steak.” Plus, it can take on tons of flavor — try it roasted with some curry powder or a touch of hot sauce for a bit of spice and beautiful color. Additionally, cauliflower has endless health benefits and is known to be an excellent veggie that aids in weight loss.1 Next time you are heading to the store, make sure to put cauliflower on your grocery list and see for yourself just how versatile this vegetable is.
3. Spaghetti squash
One spaghetti squash can make multiple meals in a snap. Once you roast and create the “spaghetti” strands with a fork, you can mix spaghetti squash into your next leafy salad or top it with your Spaghetti with Meatballs for a delicious and filling dinner. Spaghetti squash is a great low-carb option compared to your go-to pasta dish. Another bonus? Squash is a good source of dietary fiber which can help you feel full, longer.2
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Whether it’s raw or sautéed, kale is a leafy green that is great cold or hot. Its subtle bitterness complements sweeter items, such as carrots or tomatoes, and can also add a textural crunch when baked in the oven. Kale is also an excellent source of dietary fiber and vitamins, which will have you feeling great from the inside out. Add kale to your grocery list for a nutritious addition to any meal. Helpful tip: if you’re using kale as the base of your salad, make sure to massage the kale a little. This may sound silly, but massaging kale helps tenderize it and transform the taste and texture.
Cucumbers have a bright crunch that works well in salads or as a tasty snack. Cucumbers also have a sweet, grassy flavor, so you can drop slices into your water for an added touch of freshness. Cucumbers belong on the list of excellent plant-based foods that are great for low-fat diets. Since cucumbers are all-natural, they are free of trans fats and other fats you would typically find in popular snack foods.
Tomatoes can cross cultural cuisine boundaries. Create a fresh Mediterranean salad with cucumbers, teardrop tomatoes and oregano, or a Mexican salsa with diced tomatoes, red onion and jalapenos. Another idea: roast tomatoes with garlic to create a fresh Italian sauce for your spaghetti squash!
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Onions come in a variety of types, so you can mix and match depending on what you want to use them for. White onions will be sharper and more pungent (and are great sautéed with tomatoes for an easy and healthier pasta sauce). For a crisp bite in a salad, add thinly sliced red onion for a pop of color and added flavor. Onions are a staple in every grocery store, which means you will never have trouble finding them. Keep them in your kitchen for some added flavor!
Mushrooms have umami — that meaty flavor that gives a decidedly rich flavor to any dish. Portobello mushrooms are a great healthy burger alternative or fill Portobello mushrooms with sautéed garlic, kale or other cooked greens and bake. We also love adding sautéed mushrooms and onions to top off your Beef Merlot.
These eight vegetables and fruits can be used in multiple ways and can easily become go-to pantry staples! Aim for colors and choose new fruits or veggies to mix into your diet. Vegetables are an affordable and healthy snack and go great with any main course. If you’re following the Jenny Craig program, another way to include more vegetables into your diet is by adding them into your healthy, ready-made meals.
If you are looking for more ways to incorporate veggies into your diet, try getting the whole family involved. Visiting the local farmers market to pick out fresh vegetables and fruit together is one great way to help your family adopt healthy habits while supporting your weight loss goals. Plus, kids can take a look and sample different kinds of produce — maybe they’ll even ask to try something new!
Are you ready to start incorporating healthier foods into your routine? Get started on the path to better health today!
This article was written by an experienced health and lifestyle contributor and reviewed by certified professionals.
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