Thursday, July 3, 2014

The No Diet Challenge: Step 10 What's In Your Grocery Cart?



What's in my grocery cart? 

Well, here's just a sampling:

Fruits- 
Apples, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, grapes (sometimes kiwi, clementines, melon & more)
Veggies- 
Cucumbers, cherry or grape tomatoes, sweet orange/yellow/red peppers, carrots, spinach, potatoes, corn on the cob if it's in season (sometimes green peppers, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli)
Milk-2%
Eggs-biggest ones for the buck
Orange Juice-
I prefer to buy the better, more healthier juices if possible rather than the watered down gallon jugs
Peanut Butter-gotta love it if you aren't allergic to it-Creamy family here-my kids have it on sandwiches, cinnamon graham crackers, celery, bagels, saltines, townhouse/club style crackers and sometimes just a spoonful of it (even the dog eats it). Healthy and can be a satisfying snack especially if you are late dinner eaters like we sometimes are.
Cereal
Bagels- self and kids
Waffles- kids
Oatmeal- in winter- yes flavored but in fruit or cinnamon
Bread- not fancy from the bakery, but a wheat bread loaf
Meat-Boneless skinless chicken, hamburger 80-90%lean (learned about that from my ex-husband 17 years ago- thanks, Honey), steak (cut, type and size depend on cost that week), boneless skinless pork,
Seafood- all kinds and it goes the same as steak- affordability. And, okay, so I let my two youngest eat fish sticks and I'm sure they're full of sodium, but it's not all the time and it is a fish so if I can get them an acquired taste for that sort of thing now, I have more of an opportunity to open up their horizons when they are older)
Sugar- okay, ya got me, I do buy sugar and when I told you I would not be giving it up completely that is the truth. I use sugar in my coffee, in homemade banana bread, scratch pancakes and more.
Cheese- (one of my favs so we get all kinds from feta to Swiss, the kids will try them all- a good quick snack if you aren't avoiding dairy- comes in sticks, blocks, slices, chunks and is good with crackers on sandwiches, in salads or on their own)
Pasta- Oh, boy, other than cheese and seafood, this is something I love, but I know how too much is not good, so we have it once every couple of weeks
Yogurt
Pretzels
Ice pops- in the summer
Ice-cream (1-3 half gallons and it is eaten on Friday nights only and lasts 2-3 family movie nights)
Roll or Box of various cookie doughs bought from the school/sports fundraiser and used throughout the year (yes, I am one of those moms with 3 o'clock cookies baking in the oven for the kids when they get off the bus- it's not everyday, but it's a great yummy surprise for them, and break from the healthy life :) Gotta have balance!)

Obviously, I don't buy all of these items every week, but then again, I'm sure there's a ton of different items to add to this list which I will buy over 52 weeks of grocery shopping but cannot recall. This is a basic start and some weekly staples.

What's NOT in my grocery cart:

Koolaid (EVER)
Hot Dogs (only a summertime occasional cookout food)
Potato Chips (or other party snacks)
Pop-tarts (unless it's school vacation; kids are energized enough without having sugar for breakfast)
Candy/Bakery/Pastry items (Halloween, Valentine's Day, Easter, Christmas and Friday night ice-cream is often plenty for us)
Prepackaged lunch meals (adult or child)
Frozen Meals or Dieting Meals (occasionally we will do a
Soda/Pop
Hostess Cakes
Bologna (only when the kids beg me and again it's on limited occasions - it might be cheap but it's garbage)
Overly sugary breakfast cereals- cocoa puffs, anything chocolate or outrageously colorful
Hugs (plastic mini juice jugs)
Asparagus - no matter how many people share their great recipe, I won't try it again. Blach!

What's sometimes in my cart (moderation):
Juice (only 100% Vitamin C) - it's a nice change for the kids
Chocolate syrup for chocolate milk or ice-cream
Boxed Mac n' Cheese (although my kids prefer homemade I occasionally love Kraft and it's easy)
Chicken nuggets- I don't think any parent can get away without buying this once in a while and honestly it's sometimes fun not to cook a big meal ESPECIALLY on Sundays during football season!)
Fries (I love fries and this item is probably in my cart every other week)
I'm sure there's something I missed here too, but regardless, the key to this list (and your own 
'bad for ya' list) is balance. Eat healthy more than unhealthy, get some exercise, and you'll be on a better track.

What's in your grocery cart?
If it's boxed, it's processed; ditch bad processed foods (you're ingesting junk you don't need it)

What time of the day do you go to the store?
Hungry? Shopping on your lunch break and empty stomach? Mistake (Don't go hungry EVER)

What type of store do you go to?
Walmart, the mega super grocery, bulk stores & multiple stores; you're getting sucked in by marketing (you'll never make it out with just what's on your list and you might even forget things)


3 TIPS FOR BETTER GROCERY SHOPPING:

Plan Ahead:
Plan your menu a two weeks to a month in advance
Make a grocery list and stick to it by using the budget method and the other tips I mentioned above.
Try these resources for meal planning:
Project Girl Templates
The Better Mom Templates, Healthy Meal Ideas & More
How, Why and Getting Started with Meal Planning (+ a food personality quiz)

Set a Budget:
Setting a budget weekly prevents you from overspending, but it also helps put a governor on your 'just throw it in the cart mentality'. We all get distracted. Whether it's because we see something we want to try, something on sale we didn't plan on getting, something we feel hungry for, we all end up walking out the door with more than we wanted (maybe it's just the American way), regardless of why, when you set a budget and learn to stick to it, you will find it extremely helpful.
Learn how to set a grocery budget for two
Learn how to set a family grocery budget (great story, tips)
More tips and tricks to shopping

Stop Using Coupons:
In my newlywed days, I would scour ads for coupons and would be thrilled about how much money I saved when I read the end of the register tape! Although, I must admit, for years I have debated the couponing theory. I actually become sick of it and quit every couple of years because I spend more time cutting, sorting and looking for the right coupon at the grocery store than I would on shopping!
Bottom line? If you're using coupons, I'm willing to bet you are probably buying too much food- that's probably less healthy and costs more (kinda defeats the purposes of clipping 'em, huh?). Most manufacturer's coupons force you purchase 3 items if you want the deal and it's almost always a pre-packaged item you are shopping for and we all know that  Save your coupons for Walmart and the Dollar Stores, where you can often times find your paper and cleaning products for less! (The exception to that rule might be for bigger families who consume a lot of snacks and cereals, those coupons I do find quite worth my time.) Currently, I am only using select coupons for personal hygiene items and paper products - with three kids in the house, two of them girls, we use a lot of toilet paper, razors, shampoo, etc.). Click here for more tips on couponing without losing your mind.

The quick & easy on how to shop for frozen and canned veggies.

If you have tips that can help us shop and eat healthier, share them here!


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