By: Leanne Ely
Everyone’s concerned about watching the grocery budget these days, and rightly so! Food costs are climbing, and there’s no sign of this trend stopping anytime soon.
I’m often met with resistance when I talk about eating nutritious foods (especially as part of a Paleo lifestyle) because people claim they can’t afford to eat healthy.
To be honest, it can seem expensive at first, especially if you’re looking at the $15 package of chicken breasts when you know you can buy a frozen lasagna for $5 that will easily feed your family of four.
I could sit here all day and tell you that eating a healthy diet will pay for itself in spades in the long run, but the fact is, we only have so much money to spend on food.
So, the following tips will help you stretch your grocery budget, even if you’re a Paleoista.
Purchase ingredients and not packages. Stop looking for the healthiest granola bars or gluten-free brownies on the shelf. Instead, buy ingredients to make your own healthy snacks (Blending a banana and some Medjool dates tastes like a homemade Larabar!). Or, even better, eat nature’s own snack foods by eating whole foods like apples, berries and seeds. Same thing goes for foods like almond flour—if it comes in a bag, there’s a chance you can make your own. If you have a good food processor, buy some natural almonds in bulk and ground them into flour. If it’s a really good machine, you can make your own almond butter and almond milk, too! Make your own condiments. If you aren’t Paleo, but want to eat healthier buy organic corn kernels for your weekly movie night. Purchase dried beans instead of canned, and cook them yourself. See where I’m going with this? Stop looking for convenience because convenience is expensive, y’all!
Buy frozen fruits and veggies in bulk. Frozen produce is just as nutritious as fresh, and it’s much more affordable to purchase frozen than it is fresh. I always suggest people buy enough fresh produce like lettuce, asparagus, broccoli and zucchini to use at the beginning of the week, and then have frozen on hand for the last part of the week. This stretches the budget a bit and allows for less food spoilage.
Rethink your meat purchases. Protein is expensive, but there are ways to save money in the meat department. Buy whole chickens, and cut them into pieces yourself rather than buying the more expensive chicken pieces where the work has been done for you. When it comes to beef, choose less expensive cuts and learn how to cook them properly. Those cheap cuts can be the tastiest if you cook them low and slow by braising or stewing them.
An even better way to save on meat costs is to get together with some neighbors and see about sharing the cost of a whole cow or pig to put in your freezers. It seems like an expensive purchase up front, but it will pay for itself over the course of 6 months or so!
Know what needs to be bought organic. Shop according to the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen to ensure you’re eliminating the greatest amount of pesticides from your diet without going broke to do so. You can see an updated list at ewg.org, where you’ll learn that potatoes and apples should always be purchased organic (so if your budget doesn’t allow for those items, buy conventionally grown sweet potatoes and mangoes instead).
Stop splurging. Look for unnecessary items in your cart and remove them! You don’t really need to spend $4 on bottled water. You also don’t need those individual coffee pods. Take a good look at your home and see which nonessential items you are wasting your money on (this includes junk food and “treats”).
Stick to the list! Make a meal plan at the beginning of each week and make your shopping list according to that plan. At the store, stick to the list. Being prepared like this, having a list that corresponds to the meals you need to make for dinner each day, also prevents trips to the grocery store throughout the week to pick up a missing ingredient.
Thousands of people depend on our New Dinner Answers program to do this work for them, and I believe the low monthly subscription rate pays for itself in the first week when you don’t have to run to the store for anything! With Dinner Answers, you know what meals you’re making every evening, and you get a shopping list to take with you to the store. It saves time and money! Oh, and because the meals have been developed by a nutritionist (yours truly), you know they’re healthy AND delicious.
By: Leanne Ely
It’s time once again for Tricks, Tips and a Recipe. Today you’ll learn a trick, a tip and you’ll get a great recipe to try it out with. Neat, huh?
Today’s focus is on: QUINOA
Quinoa is a seed that’s been around forever, though with the popularity it’s gained in recent years, you’d think it was a new invention. Quinoa has an amazing nutritional profile. This seed is gluten free, high in protein and rich in health-supportive fats.
Quinoa is full of vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. It can lower your cholesterol, and it’s easy to digest.
Easy to eat, easy to cook and easy to digest, there’s much to love about quinoa.
There is a debate in the nutrition world about whether quinoa is Paleo, and I say that if it doesn’t cause you any discomfort, you go ahead and eat it. Do keep in mind, though, that though quinoa is a more nutritious option than a lot of foods, it is carb heavy, so practice good portion control.
Shop for organic, fair-trade quinoa so you know that farmers in South America are getting a fair price for their crop.
Now, it’s time for your Trick:
You can find quinoa in beige, orange, purple, green and almost every color in between. Beige is the tastiest; red is the healthiest!
Always rinse your quinoa before cooking it. Quinoa has a bitter coating that must be rinsed off before you prepare it. Otherwise, it won’t taste very good. (You should also remember to drain your quinoa after cooking and let it rest for a few minutes.)
And your Recipe:
Oven Chicken Meatballs
1 1/4 pounds ground chicken
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup grated zucchini
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 medium egg, beaten
2 cups tomato sauce
6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
COOKING INSTRUCTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix together the first 11 ingredients (ground chicken through the egg). With a small scoop, scoop out the mixture onto a parchment lined sheet pan.
Bake the meatballs in the oven for 15 minutes. Then pour over the tomato sauce and sprinkle over the Parmesan cheese. Return the meatballs to the oven and bake for 5-7 minutes more, or until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce is bubbling.
Remove from the oven and let rest at least 5 minutes before serving.
Dinner doesn’t have to be a dilemma–especially when you have our Brand New Dinner Answers! Click here for details!
By: Leanne Ely
Hands up if you eat the 5 daily servings of fruits and veggies as recommended by the USDA or the 7-10 daily servings recommended by Canada’s Food Guide.
I’m not seeing many hands!
But the truth is, folks, there’s a reason why the government wants us to get in all those leafy greens and juicy fruits. A diet rich in fruits and veggies protects us against obesity, diabetes, cancer and a slew of conditions and diseases. Vegetables and fruits lower blood pressure and decrease bone loss. They give us essential vitamins and nutrients that we can’t get anywhere else.
We all know this, but according to a study I came across recently that was conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 89% of Americans aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables. Using that statistic, only 11% of you have your hands up right now.
That study also concluded that 25% of people don’t eat any vegetables ever and 62% of people don’t eat fruit. Ever. EVER.
Now, I know it’s hard to get 5 servings of the good stuff in every single day, but here are some tips to help you get the most bang for your veggie bucks.
• Whenever you can, buy vegetables and fruits that are grown locally.
• Have frozen veggies on hand and eat them towards the end of the week when your fresh stash has been depleted.
• Every week when you’re at the supermarket or farmers’ market, pick up a new fruit or vegetable to try that week. You might stumble upon a new favorite!
• Buy veggies like sweet potatoes, spinach, beet greens and lima beans frequently because of their high levels of potassium.
• Add a great big salad to your dinner every single evening.
• Puree your leftover cooked vegetables and save it for thickening soups and stews.
• Grate carrots, zucchini and sweet potatoes into meatloaf.
• Add a smoothie to your daily diet and that should take care of your fruit intake. Toss in some kale or spinach and voila! You’ve managed to get in some veggies, too!
Seriously! Eat them up. Here’s something that will help you double down and get a tons of veggies in–fast and easy: our Just Juice Greens. I use Just Juiced Greens in EVERYTHING from smoothies to soups, stews, salads and eggs–
By Leanne Ely
I just love the sweet, tart flavor of a juicy ripe cherry. But really, who doesn’t? Cherries are not only delicious, these delicate little fruits are also very healthy. If you suffer from gout pain, you probably already know that cherries can help prevent flareups but there’s much more to cherries than that.
Cherries are known to reduce inflammation in the body and if you eat them on a regular basis, you’ll find they can also help reduce muscle pain. Some studies have actually shown that eating cherries on a daily basis is similar to regularly taking ibuprofen.
Cherries are also a good source of vitamin A, E and C, and they’re a yummy way to get your fiber into you.
Tart cherries are available year round, and I use them frequently in savory dishes. During the summer when sweet cherries (also known as dark cherries) are in season, I am constantly snacking on them and tossing them into salads.
So what else is there to know about cherries?
It’s time for your Trick:
Cherries bruise easily and they are very perishable. Cherries will only stay fresh in the fridge for a few days so eat them shortly after bringing them home.
And your Tip:
When shopping for cherries, look for fruit with the stem still attached. The stem should be nice and green and not wilted. A fresh looking stem is a sign that the fruit was picked recently.
And your Recipe:
Sweet and Tangy Cherry Baked Turkey Strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 pound boneless skinless turkey breast meat, cut into 1-inch strips
1/2 pound black cherries, pitted and chopped (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic; cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender-crisp. Add turkey, cherries, broth, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar; blend well. Bring mixture to a slow boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully remove skillet lid and stir in basil; cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Meanwhile, in a cup, combine cornstarch and water; stir into sauce and cook just until thickened. Serve immediately.
I adore cherries and one of my favorite ways to enjoy them is turning them into epic smoothies! Here’s my favorite Chocolate Cherry Smoothie recipe!
A lifestyle of poor diet and lack of exercise kills about 400,000 Americans every year—that’s as many who have died from smoking, can you imagine?? And that’s only Americans—this number does not count the rest of the world that eats poorly and neglects to exercise! YIKES!
It’s a tough world out there and today’s grocery store is no exception. Here are some tips to navigate the grocery store successfully and buy the healthy foods you need and avoid the unhealthy ones that could kill you! Healthy foods don’t need to bankrupt you or make you spend untold hours in the kitchen. Here are some tips for getting healthy happening in your kitchen today:
1) Fast Food. Look for stuff that is fast and easy to make, like sweet potatoes (stab, bake, eat). Cheap eats, massively good for you and filling.
2) Go Green. Baby spinach is fast-food friendly too. Not as cheap as sweet ‘taters, but worth the cost of admission! I like mine stir-fried (little bit of olive oil and lotsa garlic!) and in salads.
3) Brown Rice. You can make a vat of this stuff (if you’re not eating Paleo that is), scoop into individual freezer bags and freeze for later use if time is of the essence. Having a box of quick cooking brown rice at home isn’t a bad idea either, but the long cooking stuff is much less expensive.
4) Grow Your Own. Having a veggie garden is a lot easier than you think. Check out www.squarefootgardening.com for a plan for nearly everyone!
5) Thirst Out. Water is about as economical as it can get. If you want clean and fresh water, check out different water purifiers and start pile driving the water. Cheaper than anything else you can drink!
6) Seasonal Stuff. Buy in season (summer is the time to find cheap watermelon, not the middle of winter), buy locally when at all possible and buy organically if you can.
7) Garlic and Onions. Very inexpensive and will ratchet up the flavor and potency of nearly anything you make, not to mention the antioxidant factors as well. Keep them on hand!
8) Read Labels. And remember, if you have to spend 10 minutes deciphering a food’s label with unpronounceable chemical additives and you have no earthly idea what they are, your body doesn’t know what they are either. Not only that, but you’re going to pay for those expensive chemicals at the cash register and in your own health. Skip anything with fake colors, flavorings or “flavor enhancers”…they all ROB you of your health!
9) Eat your veggies. Go heavy on the veggies. In the summer, we have fresh tomato sauce on zucchini “pasta” with chopped fresh oregano. You can throw in a cooked chicken breast and you have a complete meal. I grow tomatoes, zucchini and oregano in my garden and the whole meal is divine!
10) Beans, Beans. A healthy, yet frugal food, (skip this tip if you eat strictly Paleo) dried beans need to be soaked, cooked and then can be made into a multitude of cheap eats, from soups to chilis to salad.
Don’t become a statistic and please don’t think healthy food is out of your reach or budget! It’s not hard, it’s enjoyable and the cool thing about eating healthy, grown in the ground food is you always know what you’re eating—no labels necessary!
PS – Want to make grocery shopping even easier? Check out Dinner Answers to make your meal planning and shopping list in a flash!
By: Leanne Ely
Strawberries are one of the most popular berries on the block. Equally delicious eaten right out of hand or tossed into a salad, strawberries are quite versatile fruits.
These sweet, red heart-shaped fruits are not only scrumptious, they are also packed with nutrition (as most berries are).
One cup of strawberries (roughly 8 large berries) is considered a serving. Each serving of strawberries contains a full gram of protein and 2 grams of fiber.
Strawberries also contain a slew of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.
Minerals. Strawberries are very high in potassium, and they are a good source of iron and calcium.
Vitamins. One serving of strawberries contains a full 160% of the Vitamin C you need in a day. That same serving of strawberries also contain 20% of your recommended daily amount of folate.
Flavonoids. Strawberries contain a flavonoid called fisetin, which has been shown to reduce complications of diabetes.
Antioxidants. Ripe, juicy strawberries also contain phenols, which are special antioxidants that fight inflammation, heart disease and cancer.
Strawberries are best when they’re nice and fresh. Mmmm! But if you can’t get your hands on fresh organic berries, head to the freezer section. Avoid eating conventionally grown strawberries because they are on the Dirty Dozen List.
I always keep frozen organic strawberries on hand to toss into a smoothie. There is nothing like the addition of some strawberries to perk up a smoothie! Here’s one of my favorite smoothie recipes using strawberries!
Strawberry Mint Smoothie
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 to 3/4 cup water (or more coconut milk)
1/2 cup strawberries (frozen or fresh)
1 tablespoon mint, chopped
1 scoop Perfect Paleo Protein Smoothie Mix
2 teaspoons Saving Dinner Fibermender (optional)
1 tablespoon Just Juiced Greens (optional)
In a blender, place coconut milk, water, strawberries, mint, Saving Dinner Perfect Paleo Protein, Saving Dinner Fibermender and Saving Dinner Just Juiced Greens (optional); blend until smooth and enjoy! It’s ok to add a tad more milk of your choice, if a thinner smoothie is preferred