Eating healthy is easy when you're always prepared

By Tiffany Tse
December 20, 2011

It's midnight and your dinner seems like a distant memory. It's much easier to keep your late-night nibbles low in calories if you have a few healthy ingredients on hand. Stock these 10 foods in your fridge at all times so you'll always be ready to whip up a guilt-free meal or snack. No excuses.

Whole-Wheat Tortillas


Most of the carbs in whole-wheat tortillas are complex carbs, so you don't have to worry about a spike in blood sugar levels. If you're in a savory mood, sprinkle low-fat shredded cheese over a tortilla and toast for a deliciously melty snack. If you're craving something sweet, indulge in a toasted tortilla drizzled with agave syrup and a sprinkle of cinnamon.



Sweet and satiating, bananas are a nutrient powerhouse abundant in potassium and fiber. Bananas are best eaten on their own, but you can concoct a million quick and simple snacks with the creamy yellow fruit. Slice a banana over oatmeal or dip slices in almond butter for a flavor-packed, healthy bite.



Miso, a fermented soybean paste popular in Japan, may be an unexpected item to store in your fridge, but you'll get tons of use out of this immunity-boosting spread. Mixed with hot water, the zinc-loaded paste dissolves into a tasty soup. Blended with other ingredients, it transforms into a full-flavored marinade for fish and meat entrees or a yummy salad dressing over leafy greens. Just be sure to choose a low-sodium variety at the grocery store.



Protein-packed eggs are one of Mother Nature's most versatile low-cal foods. One large egg costs you approximately 75 calories, though various ways of cooking it will change the total. Keep a dozen in your fridge and use these easy egg ideas when you're stumped at supper or snack time.



It's always helpful to have a carton of calcium-laced milk on hand, whether it's nonfat, soy, or almond. In minutes, whip up a healthy hot cocoa with chocolate and agave or a good-for-you smoothie.



A handful of raw almonds offer a wholesome alternative to greasy, crunchy snacks (read: potato chips and buttery crackers). But the sweet nuts also make a great addition to smoothies, cereals, and nonfat yogurt. Chuck your almonds (or other healthy nut) into the fridge to prevent its natural oils from oxidation, as oxidized oils have harmful free radicals.

Peanut Butter


Velvety smooth peanut butter often gets a bad rap as a fatty food, but eaten in moderation, it's much more nourishing than plain butter. Peanut butter is packed with healthy monounsaturated fats and folate, a B vitamin that produces new cells. Spread some on whole-grain pita or a few celery stalks for a filling snack, or opt for one of these healthy peanut butter recipes. Other nut butters, like almond, cashew, or walnut, serve as delicious options, too.

Cottage Cheese


Cottage cheese is packed with casein, a protein that keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time. Dip raw veggies in fat-free or reduced-fat cottage cheese when you want a tasty nibble, or mix in almonds and your favorite fresh fruit for a refreshing low-calorie dessert.



Dense in antioxidants, mushrooms are a nutritious but often overlooked food. Whether you favor white button mushrooms or more exotic varieties like shiitake, keeping a bunch in the fridge will tide you over very well. They can be enjoyed on their own, folded into a simple egg omelet, or used in a scrumptious stir-fry.



Do yourself a favor by snacking on steamed edamame, which are full of calcium, iron, and tons of other vitamins and minerals. The Japanese soybean, with its mildly sweet, nutty flavor, is one of the most versatile all-star ingredients. Blend the green beans into an easy veggie dip or toss in a light salad.

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