Update: Life has been crazy fun but busy.
Sound a lot like your summer? All of those town celebrations, concerts, weddings, trips to the lake, running after your children, and baseball games have you feeling a bit “blobby”. You’re not a lone. Summer is notorious for being busy and it’s easy to let convenience and special occasion foods pull us off track. I myself have noticed I am losing tone and becoming easily winded from not maintaining a consistent workout schedule. Where my physical health has been faltering, my mental and social well being has been flourishing. But I know the longer I neglect my health, the harder it will be to restore my happy balance.
I asked my followers on Instagram to vote for either a mini grocery haul or an at home workout. Can you guess which topic won? (If you voted for the home workout, don’t worry that will be my project for next week!)
Generally, my grocery lists are somewhere between affordable and trendy. But I wanted to demonstrate how simple it can be to eat clean on a budget (and I’ve spent a lot of monies on summer shenanigans, TBH) so I stayed on the affordable side!
Disclaimer: This grocery haul is not that impressive, but that’s why I’m sharing it with you.
Here is what I acquired for my return to better eating this week….
- Whole Grain Bread- staple food
- Pure Honey- to tame my sweet tooth
- Frozen Chicken Breasts- staple food, clean protein
- Canned Tuna- protein and Omega 3’s
- Celery- pairs great with PB and ground Flax seed for a snack
- Asparagus- to get rid of excess water weight
- Lettuce- staple food, low calorie/high water content
- Bananas- so many uses to count, great for my muscles I need to start working
- Avocados- healthy fat, yummy on toast
- Roma Tomatoes- It’s BLT season, ya’ll
- Deli Turkey- convenient source of protein
It’s pretty obvious why some of these items made it into my cart, the fruits and veggies are obviously healthy foods and will nourish my body and can be “spruced up” with other items I already have. (Celery, meet Peanut Butter!) But I will talk about a few items specifically and why they made the cut.
I keep lunch meat stocked in the fridge almost all summer. It’s great for light meals when the heat shrinks your appetite. Though it’s a little more expensive from the Deli, here’s why it’s worth it — it tastes better, it’s weighed out in front of you, and it doesn’t have all of the extra preservatives that are in the prepackaged brands. I can never figure out why there are so many extra ingredients in lunch meat?
Whole Grain Bread
If you’ve ever discussed bread with me you know I’m oddly passionate about whole grains. This is one those easy swaps that can make a huge difference in your diet. White bread has been stripped of the naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, and fiber and bleached. While they artificially put some of those back, they are not natural forms and are not as well received by the body. Whole grain bread is made with the entire grain and still has all of it’s B vitamins, fiber, zinc, etc. still intact. White breads/pastas are absorbed by your body just a like sugar. They spike your insulin levels JUST LIKE sugar. They are stored as fat JUST LIKE sugar. Since whole grain bread has all of these nutrients, it is absorbed more slowly and will provide you with a steady source of energy NOT LIKE sugar. If you’re still eating white bread, make the switch. If you’re buying wheat bread, do yourself a favor and check the ingredients if it says “enriched wheat flour” then it’s not actually whole grain. Another thing to look out for are labels like this one, designed to help consumers spot whole grain products.
It was sad day when I learned that the cute little bear shaped honey jar did not contain the real deal. While that label also says 100% honey, it has been processed in a way that depletes the nutritional benefits in order to extend the shelf life. (Why is life full of trade-offs?) This honey gets thick and goopy pretty quick, but I will continue to buy it because it still contains the good stuff like enzymes (for your tummy), anti-bacterial properties (for your whole body), and pollen (for allergies). When my supplier of local honey has some available, I will be switching to that but for now this one will do. I was suffering from awful allergies last fall and just a few days after eating honey made from local bee hives, I found relief. I am a believer in the power of fresh and local food! One thing I will add about honey, is that while it’s a natural form with more to offer than sweetness, it is still a sugar and should be used in moderation!
This grocery haul is not that impressive.
These items are easily accessible in our small town grocery stores and by being mindful and educated on how our food is made can be the difference in mediocre eating and healthy eating. Pick up some staples and make every meal at home count so that you can enjoy the rest of your meals you have out with friends and family this summer. And remember, you are more than what you eat.