Eating Healthy While Enjoying the Holiday

Eating Healthy on A Budget: Holiday Style

“Food Prepping isn’t for everyone. In some homes this might be as simple as prepping the produce for storage, then cooking as the week goes on. Don’t over-complicate it or assume the health practices that work in someone else’s home will work for you”

Eating healthy is expensive- or so we are led to believe. Starting in the past here’s the breakdown of how this stigma came to be in the future we know today.

As a scientist, I prefer to break things down to their simplest form, and in the simplest form of society (I’m talking pre-transportation) communities ate from their land. This means humans ate what was immediately available to them. As I’m sure we’re all aware all produce isn’t available all year round, and depending on where in the world you are the food available is different. Flash forward to your last trip to the super-market. Ever feel overwhelmed by all the choices? Now, I’ve never lived near a Walmart before so this past week (since we’ve moved to Henderson, Nevada) I’ve finally had the full Walmart experience. Everything and anything is available no matter the time of year! Seasonal produce is a thing of the past.

After living in small town America for the past year it became very apparent why easy/affordable eating has become connected to unhealthy habits. It is my goal to pass on information about how healthy eating doesn’t have to mean forking out your entire paycheck to the produce department, as well as how healthy eating doesn’t need to mean spending hours prepping food for the week.

Keep reading to find out how you can eat healthy this holiday season, while cutting down on your grocery bill!

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How To Shop

Filling that Shopping Cart

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I’ll never forget my grandmother teaching me the proper way to grocery shop as a child. I used to love roaming the isles with her, watching her pick out all the good stuff she would spoil us  with.I’m sure this isn’t new to many of you, but we would go down each and every isle starting at the end. But which end? This one I figured out on my own. I suggest suggest starting in the produce department and moving on from there.

The Produce Department

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetProduce.. sounds expensive! Here’s why that stigma isn’t true.

Seasonal Is Key

Produce prices are constantly changing due to the changing seasons. I’m sure we are all aware every season bring its own climate (yes, even in sunny Southern, California), and this means different plants can withstand in the changing living conditions. We have become accustomed to a wide selection all year round, and therefore supermarkets transport in produce that is not readily available locally. This not only drives up the cost, but since there’s now a longer period of time from seed to your plate, many essential nutrients are lost. The key is to buy seasonal. Keeping your grocery bill within reason also includes what you purchase from each grocery department, as well as combining the categories.

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Seasonal produce available in the Winter. List varies depending on where in the world you are located.

The Produce Shopping List

Let’s concentrate on these three types of produce- fruits, vegetables, and berries, and break down your list to 4 categories- breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks (snacks are what really drive up my grocery bill, until I learned these tricks & tips).

The key is to use each type of produce for multiple categories. I’ll start with the salad portion. Salads consist of a green, lettuce, some crunch, protein, and some flare.

Here’s a sample list:

2 Bunches of Spinach

2 Bunches of Red Leaf Lettuce

Bunches of Broccoli

Bunches of Cauliflower

Bunches of Carrots

Bag of Apples

Bag of Grapes

1 Pomegranate

Bunch of Bananas

This will NOT ONLY cover your salads for the week, but also your veggie portion and snacks!

Remember if its in season, you will probably know by the price tag.

Check out my Blog (food4thoughdiary.wordpress.com) for some great winter recipes this winter. I’ll be posting some yummy, creative, and fun options using ONLY what’s seasonal, so check it out!

Meat Department

Moving onto the meat department it’s VITAL to remember that meat is NOT the largest part of your meal. For a weeks worth of shopping I suggest picking out 2 or 3 different types of meat that will last for multiple meals. It’s best to go with something simple like chicken breast, seafood, turkey, or beef that will be included as a portion of the recipe BUT can also be used cold for lunch over a salad or in a wrap.

Our bodies can handle certain things in moderation, so although in my wellness practice I follow the Juice Plus Transform 30 Program from time to time strictly cutting out certain things including gluten and refined sugars, these aren’t things I need to cut out year round. Moderation is key.

So adding to my shopping list I now have…

2 Bunches of Spinach

2 Bunches of Red Leaf Lettuce

Bunches of Broccoli

Bunches of Cauliflower

Bunches of Carrots

Bag of Apples

1-3 pears

Bag of Grapes

1 Pomegranate

Bunch of Bananas

Whole Turkey

Pork Tenderloin

(size and weight depends on size of family)

Let’s Review…

Your grocery list so far covers all of your lunch and dinner needs, including snacks (which is vital for us  parents).

Each and every item in your cart can be used for multiple purposes. Check out my blog and online Food For Thought online community for some recipes that are kid and family friendly!

Snack Isle

The snack isle can really steal away my entire paycheck if I let it, however once I realized creating my own snacks didn’t mean wasting a full day this stigma faded away. Remember, you already have the apples, bananas, grapes, broccoli, pomegranate, etc. that make great snacks either as a grab-and-go, or as a fun designed snack choice. You now only need 2-3 things from the snack isle. I suggest purchasing either in bulk or on sale.

It’s holiday time, which means your kids will be getting cookies, and other fun treats just about everywhere they go so check out my blog for some fun recipes, and creative snack choices that include seasonal produce that can be a fun family activity!

I think it’s always safe to have things like string cheese, pretzels, popcorn, crackers available for your kids to grab for snack time.

Adding to our shopping list…

2 Bunches of Spinach

2 Bunches of Red Leaf Lettuce

Bunches of Broccoli

Bunches of Cauliflower

Bunches of Carrots

Bag of Apples

1-3 pears

Bag of Grapes

1 Pomegranate

Bunch of Bananas

Whole Turkey

Pork Tenderloin

Pretzels

String Cheese

Popcorn

Beverages, Grain & Dairy Department

In our home we usually have milk (or a non-dairy alternative), water, and juice. Smoothies are also a BIG DEAL in our home. I can use all the produce listed without spending money on anything extra, in our specific case include a Juice Plus smoothie mix cutting out the juicing process. The chocolate is especially delicious mixed with water to make “chocolate milk”- or so my daughter calls it. This time of year when its extra COLD outside, we heat up the chocolate packet with some non-dairy milk to make hot chocolate! There are many options out there, feel free to share in our online community what it is that you use.

The best options for grains are rice, quinoa, and wraps. Since we have a toddler, pasta and a loaf of Italian Bread usually makes the list as well. All of these options are perfect for every meal, INCLUDING snack time. 

Eggs are a great option for every meal, a great source of protein and always on my shopping list no matter the season.

The last thing on my list is cheese. Cheese is NOT bad for you if consumed in moderation. It’s something that humans created, and is totally yummy! I try not to keep too much cheese in the house, and it’s most likely used grated over a specific dish- OR in the case of my toddler sprinkled over every meal. My winter time suggestion is Goat Cheese which goes perfectly on those winter salads.

FINAL SHOPPING LIST…

2 Bunches of Spinach

2 Bunches of Red Leaf Lettuce

Bunches of Broccoli

Bunches of Cauliflower

Bunches of Carrots

Bag of Apples

1-3 pears

Bag of Grapes

1 Pomegranate

Bunch of Bananas

Whole Turkey

Pork Tenderloin

Milk  (or non-dairy alternative)

Juice

Whole Wheat Wraps

Rice

Goat Cheese

Parmesan Cheese

Eggs

That’s It… my shopping list that keeps us  going all week. I understand that what you’re in the mood for may change mid-week depending on several factors, so if you fall into this category It’s best to leave out the protein portion and buy as you go so nothing goes to waste.

Food Prepping isn’t for everyone. In some homes this might be as simple as prepping the produce for storage, then cooking as the week goes on. Don’t over-complicate it or assume the health practices that work in someone else’s home will work for you.

Want to read more? Join my ONLINE COMMUNITY of likeminded parents for access to my FREE E*ARTICLE Series! Just click to join, then message me your request for the FREE E*ARTICLE, along with your EMAIL address and I’ll send you over a FREE copy!

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