By Amanda Wagner, M.Ed, Dietetic Intern, & Future Registered Dietitian
Whether you are grocery shopping online or in person, visualize the grocery store before you start shopping. Think of the center aisles and the perimeters of the store. Where will you find the fresh produce, deli, bakery, and freshly prepared foods? If your answer is the perimeter of the store, then you are correct! This is where you should be spending a majority of your time shopping as these items are generally healthier than the processed foods you’ll find in the center aisles. With that being said, do not be afraid to allow yourself an indulgence or two, just make sure you are not only buying dessert, snack, and processed foods. Your body and wallet will thank you!
Frozen fruits and vegetables are frozen at the peak of ripeness, so they are just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts, but often cheaper in price. Bonus points for them lasting a long time as long as they are kept frozen! Just portion out what you need for your meal and then return the rest to the freezer for use in a different meal.
If you are having trouble finding meat in the store, are vegetarian or vegan, or open to trying new recipes, add in plant proteins to your weekly grocery list! Canned or dried beans, lentils, tofu, and tempeh are high protein, easy on the wallet, versatile, and quick to cook. A very basic and quick weeknight dinner for my husband and I includes: a prepared grain (like rice, quinoa, or buckwheat), frozen vegetables, and a plant protein, such as black beans, sautéed in grapeseed oil and seasoned with spices such as garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes.
If you are working from home but finding yourself busy and struggling to make time to eat well during your normal workday or to feed your kids, try reinstating your Sunday meal prep routine. Spend an hour or two on Sunday preparing breakfasts and/or lunches for the week ahead. Try to include a whole grain, fruit, protein, and fruit/or vegetable in every prepped weekday breakfast and lunch. And if all else fails, there’s nothing wrong with a quick nut butter and jam sandwich during the week, just pair it with a fruit or vegetable!
Do you find your eyes tired at the end of the workday? Make a commitment to take a screen break during your meals! Your eyes will welcome the break and your body will benefit from mindful eating. When you eat in front of a screen, it is not as easy to be in tune with your body and you may miss your hunger and fullness cues. This is so tough with everything being moved online from school to meetings to hobbies but make a commitment this week to eat at least one meal a day screen-free. Who’s with me?
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