The Fresh Ingredients Giada De Laurentiis Keeps Stocked In Her Fridge

Dieticians stress that the key to healthy eating is planning, whether for a full meal or a mid-day snack. When hunger strikes (and we've all been hangry), it's easy to make poor decisions since processed foods are shelf stable, fast, inexpensive, and always around, especially if you have kids or commute to the office. A thoughtfully stocked fridge and pantry make it easier to create good eating habits. 

While promoting her 10th cookbook, "Eat Better, Feel Better," in an interview with La Cucina Italiana, Giada De Laurentiis outlined her wellness journey and shared advice, stressing that each body responds differently to food and noting that the secret to her healthy lifestyle is mindful eating. For De Laurentiis, that means stocking her fridge with fresh ingredients she can snack on throughout the week.

"This usually includes roasted veggies like sweet potatoes and broccoli, brown rice, bone broth that I can sip on or use to make a quick soup, sliced fennel, arugula, homemade salad dressing — lots of fresh healthy ingredients," she shared. Knowing she won't have time to cook some days, De Laurentiis carves out time to make large batches of roasted veggies and grains that she can quickly assemble into healthy meals.

Giada De Laurentiis' meal prep

While it's tempting to stock the fridge with store-bought dressings and sauces to save time, Giada De Laurentiis points out that processed foods are filled with additives and toxins that cause inflammation in her body. Instead, she whips up a homemade salad dressing in minutes and grates her cheese. These simple changes allow her body to digest these foods more efficiently, eliminating the bloating and discomfort accompanying inflammation.

Healthier meal prep isn't limited to raw veggies, especially if they disagree with your stomach as raw kale does for De Laurentiis. She roasts batches of sweet potatoes and broccoli to snack on or use for a fast meal with steamed brown rice and keeps bone broth in the fridge for an easy soup base. 

Although it takes longer to prepare than white, brown rice is a healthier option to keep you satiated longer and Heathline confirms it also lowers blood sugar levels. Brown rice is a whole grain that contains nutrients and fiber, whereas white rice has been processed and stripped of its germ and bran. Cooked rice can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days or frozen in individual servings for eight months. It reheats nicely in the microwave or stovetop. Like any leftover, refrigerate the food within two hours of cooking and discard it if it smells or looks funny to avoid foodborne illnesses.

Tips for meal prepping

To successfully meal prep, consider which fruits, vegetables, and high-quality proteins you enjoy eating before heading to the grocery store. Try to vary the menu so you don't get tired of a particular food. Giada De Laurentiis stays true to her heritage by stocking her fridge with Italian ingredients she enjoys, like fennel, broccoli rabe, lemons, arugula, chicken, and fish. If the bitterness of broccoli rabe isn't for you, try roasting a batch of broccolini or asparagus if it's in season.

Dedicate the time when you get home to wash and cut the produce to eliminate one obstacle later in the week when you're pressed for time. In addition to grain bowls, roasted vegetables like eggplant, peppers, squash, and potatoes can be pureed with a low-sodium stock to create a delicious, thick soup. 

Round out your meals with a well-stocked pantry with whole grains and legumes. Try to avoid white pasta and rice, opting for less refined options like brown rice or gluten-free pasta. If you love chicken Milanese but are trying to eat healthier, consider baking the dish and substituting extra crispy panko for traditional breadcrumbs.

Finally, invest in quality reusable containers you'll enjoy eating out of. That means different-sized containers (with lids) that are microwaveable and dishwasher safe. Fill snack-sized containers with clean, sliced veggies for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, and place meals in portion-controlled glass containers that are easy to transport and reheat.