Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Shopping and Menus - A Year To A Healthy You

Shopping and Menus

Well, how did you do with our last post, “What Now”? You should have gone through your cabinets, freezers, fridge and pulled out all the living and dead food. What is living food? Those foods that bring live nutrients to our body. Dead foods are those things that have no value at all for our body.

So, now what?
Well, let's go through this. How much dead food did you have? Chips, cookies, cakes, candy, tv dinners, sugar cereals, instant stuff and so on. Well guess what? We get to get rid of ALL that stuff! Yes, we need to get rid of it. The longer it is front of us the more we will eat it! And it has no nutritional value for our body. If anything it weighs us down with added fats, sugars, salts and chemicals. These cause us to feel tired, sluggish, our bowels don't work, cause gall bladder problems, sugar problems, high blood pressure and the list goes on.

What did your live food look like? Did you have any salad mix, tomatoes, cucumbers, squashes, egg plant, fresh fruit, greens, peppers, cabbage? Anything along that lines? NO.. Well, we need to change that, and we will.

So, how do I go about setting up a healthy life change and shopping? First, you make up your mind to do so, and second you plan! You haft to have a plan set in place. How you plan is pretty simple, or to me it is, but you start out with a menu. A menu? Yes, a menu. With out this you will wonder around the grocery store trying to figure out what to do. I find that it helps me to plan a week at a time. Why, because I do my best to shop with the sales. Most sales papers come out on Wednesday and you can set your menu around sales.

Well, what kind of menu do I start? I don't know of any healthy stuff to cook, or I don't like just salads all the time and my family are big meat eaters. Well, I have a few sites that I go to to find healthy recipes. I go through the recipes and see if I can find modified versions of recipes that we do like and I pick up some new ones. And here would be a good place to ask your family what things they would like to try and what vegetables they like.

I have found for me and my home that if I make meat more like a side dish and the veggies the main, we can do pretty good. This way those who still want the meat are getting it, but they are also getting more veggies as well. This might be something you consider. I can make a meatloaf, but make it smaller in size. Why? Well, they still get meat, but have to fill up more on the vegetables.

At my house I do NOT fry foods. I can buy a can of Crisco and it will last me a year and sometimes longer. Trust me, I catch a lot of flack for not frying. I simply say. No, I wont do it! haha Not everyone is happy with it, but they are pretty much used to it by now. So when I do happen to bread and fry something, they see it as a huge treat! In this area I go with Olive Oil and Grape Seed Oil.

Ok, so.. what do I buy when I get to the store. My rule of thumb is, fresh/frozen produce, fish, fresh/frozen fruits, dry/frozen beans, dry fruits, peanut butter, fiber added/whole grain pastas, plain Greek yogurt, eggs, whole wheat tortillas, honey, 100% fruit juice, real oatmeal (no instant) cheese, wild/brown rice, etc.. I do not purchase low fat foods, diet foods of any kind. Most times those items are full of salt! Now, do I purchase frozen pizzas from time to time.. yes I do. I have no problem eating those on occasions. Just not all the time. Just eat in moderation. And am I so rigid on this that I won't purchase some things? No, I do give them treats at times, but not very often. Just ask my family, they will tell you. Haha

Now, we have an idea of what to purchase, you need to plan your menu. I have found these sites to be very helpful.

1- Healthy Recipes – I love this site because they offer so many wonderful recipes, budget recipes and health tips - http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/healthy_budget_friendly_recipes

2- The Worlds Healthiest Foods – George Mateljan – He offers weekly e-newsletter and daily email recipes http://whfoods.org

4- Christian Cooks – She has a show on PBS network that I love to watch. She is completely vegan and vegetarian recipes. But I use her site and show to get many ideas. http://www.christinacooks.com

5- Go to http://www.About.com as well and do a search on Mediterranean and Asian recipes.

These few should get you started on some ideas. Set down this week and work on a menu. This will help you and your family decide on what to do. Play with it. See what works for you. For me, I tend to stick to more Mediterranean recipes when I can and leaning to more Asian cooking as well. I try to do more soups and have at least one day that is meatless.

Ok, so I do this, but the food will be bland and no taste.. Not true!! Here is where the fun comes in! Herbs and lots of them! If you can at all possible, plant some herbs this spring. You can do this in your yard, flower pots along your patio, sidewalk, front door or even an herb bed. Fresh herbs will bring so much flavor to your foods and give them a whole different taste. What herbs? I use tons of basil, I plant mints, tarragon, sage, rosemary, parsley, cilantro, oregano, I purchase cumin, coriander, fresh garlic just to name a few. These add zip to your recipes and even those picky eaters will love it. And just a note here, I do use salt. I like Kosher salt but most times I don't salt my foods a lot. I leave that up to those eating and I use fresh cracked black pepper. The fresh pepper makes a huge difference.

Don't have time for cooking all this, well, you can. Make your crock-pot your new friend! You can do many recipes in the crock pot, purchase a small metal steamer that you put in a pot to steam veggies, and work on casseroles, roasted vegetables in the oven, steam your rice in a rice cooker. There are many ways you can do this. You just have to find the one that's right for you. As I have said before, it all starts out with steps. These steps you will have to work on and make them work for you.

Do you have kids at home, or have to make breakfast and lunch every day? Well, let me say that oats should become your new friend as well.. and to your oats try adding fresh or dried fruit. These are things you can adjust to your family.

I know this may seem a bit overwhelming, but it's easy once you get in the swing of things.
1- start out by finding new recipes
2- make a menu
3- shop according to sales in your area or farmers markets, etc.
4- add herbs for flavors
5- And this week, Don't Fry ANYTHING!! use your oven, crock pot or grill.

Just get in the kitchen and begin to have fun.. this will become a life altering thing for you and you will begin to see how much you can do. Don't tell yourself this is to hard.. tell yourself.. I can do this! I just need to change my mindset and take each thing.. one step at a time!

More to come!


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