Ever wondered what healthy fare the people who work for Whole Foods consider must-have items in their refrigerators at home? We did, too. So we asked Kelly Dupuis, 35, a Healthy Eating Specialist at the Whole Foods Columbus Circle and Union Square stores in New York City, what her go-to foods are. Her general rule of thumb: eating organic when she can. “While I also value purchasing local products whenever possible, eating organic is the sure-fire way to know that the food I’m eating wasn’t treated with harmful pesticides or contains any artificial ingredients. And organic food often tastes better!”Dupuis agreed to do a big reveal and show us the five favorite foods she keeps in her fridge all year long—and why. We promise you’ll be inspired to cook up some of her concoctions.
Baked sweet potatoesWhy: Sweet potatoes that are baked ahead of time are easy to use throughout recipes all week long. Dupuis likes to make black bean and sweet potato burritos or a breakfast hash with chopped sweet potatoes, bell peppers, onions, chili peppers, garlic and fresh cilantro. “I do batch cooking on Sundays or on a week night when I’m hanging out,” she says. Sweet potatoes make a sweet dessert, too. “I’ll often make sweet potato pudding with coconut, cinnamon and orange juice, and whip it until it’s creamy,” she says.Tip: Next time you have an extra hour, simply wrap each potato in tin foil, pop them on a cooking sheet and cook in an oven pre-heated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit for up to an hour.
Leafy greensWhy: Dupuis reaches for greens all week long, whether she’s cooking up a kale salad with avocado, vegetables and toasted nuts or adding chopped collard greens, arugula and spinach into a quick soup. “Soups are a great way to use up bits of greens that don’t look as fresh as they did when you bought them,” she says. “Cook them up and they’ll come back to life.”Tip: To extend the life of your greens, rinse them, pat them dry, chop them (removing the ribs) and store them in a sealed plastic bag.
Non-dairy milkWhy: Dupuis eats minimal dairy so her fridge is always stocked with almond blended milk or coconut milk, which she uses in her cereals and coffee, as well as in soups and risotto. “Unsweetened chocolate almond milk is a great base for hot cocoa,” she says. “Just add the sweetener of your choice to it.”Tip: Unsweetened coconut milk in the carton, rather than a can, is great for soups and curries. “Add unsweetened coconut milk once your curry is almost completely cooked and you’ll liven it up,” she says. “Or add it to homemade chunky tomato soup to thin it a bit.”
Cooked beansWhy: Fully-cooked beans are perfect for filling out a healthy meal. “I love this whole homemade burrito bowl thing,” she says. “I start with big bowl of rice or quinoa and add in warmed up beans, avocado and fresh veggies.”Tip: You can use other beans besides chickpeas to make hummus spreads. “Combine black beans, lime and chili flakes to make a hummus with a Tex-Mex feel,” Dupuis suggests.
Fully-cooked grainsWhy: Keep cooked grains such as quinoa, brown rice and steel cut oats at the ready for a quick and healthy breakfast cereal or risotto. “Brown rice and steel cut can take 40 minutes to cook so having these available and cooked already is a great way to whip up a fast and easy meal.”Tip: Mix in broth with the cooked brown rice to stir up a quick risotto. “Add mushrooms and fresh herbs to a grain that’s already cooked, and you have a nice way to repurpose it,” she says.