Monday, March 26, 2012

Is Eating Healthy Really More Expensive?

Everyone is looking for that inexpensive, quick way to be healthy. Here's the deal, it's really simple..

Eat Real Food.

My motto is to keep it simple. Take a stroll through the produce isle. Educate yourself on the prices and take advantage of sales.

I have to admit, I rarely buy my fresh foods at the supermarket. I make every attempt to buy local from Farmer's Markets and farm stands. I know what I'm getting this way and I am supporting my local economy. Yes, it can be a little more expensive but for this mom, it's worth it.
I know this is not possible or realistic for everyone so here are a few alternatives..

If you are on a budget (like most of us), then shop mindfully. Trader Joe's has great deals on organic, fresh foods. My only complaint is the selection.  Your local super market is most likely carrying lots of organic items as well and this might be more convenient for you. I try to stay away from stuff grown in other countries. Read labels and know what you are buying.

I plan my meals according to the fresh items I buy at the beginning of the week. I go to the Farmer's Market every Saturday morning. I talk to the farmers. They take pride in what they grow and will often give you ideas on what to buy. Last week, my favorite farmer told me the turnips were as sweet as apples. I also bought Veal Sausage for the very first time. I was looking for chicken sausage and she sold me on the veal. I look forward to making my sausage and kale dish. It's like a treasure hunt for me. I know I am getting my family healthy food grown & prepared by passionate, organic farmers...the way food should be. Simple. So ask questions. Be proactive.

We all know that processed foods are convenient for our busy lives but is it really worth the toll it takes on our bodies? Why not make your own TV Dinners? You want convenience? You can have it! Pick a day of the week when you just cook. Make your favorite meal (and a lot of it). Freeze half of it. Sometimes, I freeze single portions of the foods I know my kids won't eat. This way, when I am starving, I just pull it out of the freezer, and bake it in the oven. Simple. Organic. Healthy. And is it really more expensive? You do the math.

I also chop up lots of veggies at the beginning of the week. If I need a quick snack, I grab some pre-cut carrots, broccoli & hummus and boom, a healthy snack. I know the chopping is a pain sometimes so my advice is to chop ahead. Anything left over at the end of the week can be thrown in a soup or stew. I make a pot of soup every week. I look in the fridge and see what's left from the week. Nothing goes to waste. I pull some homemade stock out of my freezer and get cooking. Simple, homemade goodness. I always have a ton of soup in my freezer.

So is it really more expensive to eat healthy? I think not. Have fun with it. Eating should be a pleasure, not a chore.

And one more piece of advice.. if the food you choose can out live you (I'm thinking Twinkies), than it's probably not a good choice. You decide.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Smoothie Time!

Who doesn't like a smoothie? You can pay up to $6.00-$8.00 for a smoothie at health food stores. Why not make it at home? This way, you control what's in it. I add protein powder to mine to boost the nutrition. It's a great way to make sure you have enough fruit and veggies during the day.
You can also get daring and add kale or other green leafy veggies. Try it. You just might like it.
Here are a few ideas to get you started..

Refreshing, Low-Cal Smoothies -

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Is Organic Really Worth It? For Me, YES!

Interesting piece on whether or not it's worth it to buy organic food. My rule of thumb with fruits and vegetables is .. if it has a peel-able skin such as a banana or avocado, it's safe to choose non-organic. But if you are eating the skin, then I always go organic. As far as dairy goes, I'll only buy organic and free of antibiotics. And that goes for meat & eggs as well.... nothing but local for this mom.
One other tip is to stay away from processed foods whenever possible. Cooking your own meals is the best way to go. If you need convenience, have a cooking day where you make a big pot of soup or one of your favorite meals and freeze some. I also do this when I make chili, marinara sauce or even my kids favorite homemade chicken nuggets. All I have to do is pop them in the oven on those busy nights when I don't have time to cook. Make your own TV Dinners with healthy choices. These will be a crowd pleaser for sure since you know what your family likes to eat. Eating healthy can be easy.
So yes, when I can, I choose organic. It's worth it to me.

What to Buy Organic - Best Vegetables and Fruits to Buy Organic -

Friday, March 2, 2012

Hello Again!

I know it's been a while since I have written a post on here. With the birds chirping in this spring-like weather, I thought it was time to get writing again!
Yes, I have my garden on my brain. Although this year, I am not starting my seedlings as early. My kitchen looked like a green house last year and I had plants in every window and very little room on my counters.

This year, I will stagger my crops focusing on tomatoes (2 or 3 varieties), lettuce, herbs and a separate squash garden. Of course there will be other veggies but I have to pick and choose since I am working with a small space. I did quite will with my container plants. We had some nasty weather last year so it was nice to be able to bring the containers in the house during Hurricane Irene. My garden did surprisingly well during that whopper!
I will once again do everything organically. For me, that's a no brainer and there is no other way to do it.
I continue to buy my eggs from my friends farm and I try real hard to only eat meat that was raised by people I know. Yes, that gets pricey but in my opinion, it is worth every penny. We are not big meat eaters in this house so when I do serve it, I want to know exactly where it is from and what it was eating. There is no comparison in taste.

It is March 2nd and spring is knocking on our doors... Although I should know better than to say that since March often brings quite a lot of snow in New England. Either way, spring is near.
I would love to hear about what you all are doing in preparation for your gardens. Happy gardening everyone!