Friday, December 19, 2008

The SEVENTH Day of Fitness....Filling your grocery cart...

Did you know that before 1916, self-service grocery stores didn't exist? When Piggly Wiggly opened in Memphis, Tennessee in 1916, consumers had never before seen the likes of check-out stands, price-marked items, or packaging geared at brand recognition! There were a whopping 605 items you could choose from. Can you imagine? NOW most supermarkets stock upwards of 30,000 items. Wowza. With so much to choose from, most of us still fill our carts with the same 10-15 items. If we're choosing the right stuff, that's not necessarily a bad thing! (Along with the occasional box of Oreos, right?) But what should we consistently be loading into the shopping cart?
Here are a few of my favorite cart fillers (OK...maybe not my FAVORITE...but the ones I know I should be eating!)
  • Almonds: Nuts (especially almonds) are a great source of vitamin E. Eating nuts several times a week may help lower circulating cholesterol levels (the bad type--LDL), reduce your risk of heart disease, and may just possibly protect against cancer. {{I'm honestly addicted to peanut butter, but almond butter is probably a better option. In my opinion, almond butter isn't quite as tasty as PB, but is really good spread on whole grain toast, or on a whole-wheat tortilla, topped with raisins, and rolled up. You can also add almonds to cereal, as a pasta topping, mixed with dry fruit, etc.}}
  • Eggs: Just one egg fulfills about 10 % of your daily protein requirements! The protein found in eggs is the most complete source of protein (besides human breast milk!), so it provides the amino acids your body needs to recover post-workout! They're also good for your bones, your memory, and your eyes! They also come in Omega-3 enhanced form! Don't worry too much about the cholesterol...egg eaters are supposedly at a lower risk for heart disease than those who avoid eggs. They're cheap, easy, and a must-add-to-your-cart item!
  • Sweet Potatoes: No longer just a holiday staple...stock up! These low-calorie goodies are great sources of beta carotene (a crucial antioxidant), vitamin C, potassium, and iron, as well as trace minerals needed for healthy functioning muscles! For a long time, I thought these were just a "baby food" option...silly me! I love 'em, too! And they're a much better option than regular potatoes.
  • Whole Grain Cereal (with Protein): Those who know me well, know that I LOVE Kashi brand cereals! One particular type (which I often buy in bulk...) is Kashi GoLean. It's made from several sources of whole grain, and in one cup has 10 grams of fiber and 13 grams of protein! I won't discuss my love of and need for fiber here, but this is a great source! Also...breakfast is a meal that should NEVER be skipped...yadda yadda yadda. Seriously. And Whole Grain Cereal is an excellent breakfast option!
  • Beans: A magical fruit, no? Seriously. Another excellent fiber & protein source. Another excellent source for antioxidants. Another cholesterol-lowering, heart-disease-risk-reducing gem. They are also low glycemic index foods, providing a steady release of energy, and controlling blood sugar. Love 'em in soup, love 'em as a dip, love 'em spread on a tortilla, etc.
  • Green leafy vegetables: The darker, the better. Instead of making salad with iceburg lettuce, try the mixed greens.
  • Salmon: Great source of protein, and the best source of Omega-3 fats.
  • 100 % Whole Grain Bread: I love bread! I love carbs! I love fiber! According to runner's world, whole-grain eaters have a 38 percent lower risk of suffering from metabolic syndrome, characterized by belly fat, low levels of the good (HDL) cholesterol, and high blood sugar levels...all raising the risk for heart disease and cancer. No more white bread. And don't be deceived by "whole grain" reap the benefits, it needs to be 100% whole grain!
  • Whole Grain Pasta: Especially if you're a runner (or a hard-core cardio worker-outer), pasta NEEDS to be in your diet! It helps restore your glycogen (energy) levels, because of the easy-to-digest carbs. Whole grain varieties are the the fiber! Barilla Plus is my favorite (and Bob Greene's!) because of the added Omega 3's and protein!
  • Avocados: Another protector of cholesterol-related heart disease, used in the prevention and treatment of cancer, AND it's great for the skin! Yes, avocados are fatty, but not the kind you need to shy away from! I use avocados on everything! I add them to smoothies (they seriously make the smoothie more like ice cream...creamy, and so yummy!). I use them as soup toppings, mash them for guacamole, eat on top of chicken, top my salads, and eat them plain!
  • Berries: The dark colors provide the antioxidants that make these so good for you! My favorite (as I've said before) is a berry smoothie (with a banana, some avocado, yogurt, and some juice concentrate). Frozen are just as good as fresh, and keep longer! Stock up!
  • DARK CHOCOLATE: My favorite! Here's an indulgence you don't need to feel guilty about! Chocolate is another heart-healthy food containing potent antioxidants called flavonols. Eat up!

After filling your cart with so much good stuff, you deserve a treat! Here are a few recipes we received...they are either low-fat/low-calorie, or just plain healthy-yummy! Enjoy! And after you write these down, leave a comment letting us know what YOU fill your grocery cart with!

From Eleisha: Oatmeal (Breakfast) Cookies

2 cups whole wheat flour, 1/2 c ground flax seed, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp cardamom (or a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice instead), 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup honey, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 small apple, peeled and chopped, 1/2 cup goji berries or raisins (I use raisins), 1/2 cup chopped dates or apricots (I use apricots), 1 cup chopped walnuts or almonds (optional), 1 1/2 cup coconut, 3 cups old fashioned oats, 1/4 cup applesauce.

Stir together dry ingredients. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar. Add in eggs, honey and vanilla. Slowly add in dry mixture and beat together. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop spoonfuls onto baking sheet. Bake 12-14 minutes at 350.

From Kandis, Deb's Protein Bars

1/2 cup softened butter, 1 cup peanut butter, 12 oz. Mini semi-sweet chips, 1 cup walnut gems, 1 cup ground coconut, 1 cup wheat germ, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup sesame seeds.

Mix together and press into 9x13 pan--chill until firm--cut into small squares and store in fridge for up to a month. (Kandis' variations: Double recipe and press into cookie sheet, but use 1/2 cup smart balance instead of butter and add more peanut butter instead. I also add 1 cup (1/2 cup if not doubling) flax seeds. Two bars should give you about 36g protein and 19g fiber!)

From Alicia, Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

1 1/2 c. rice krispies, 4 Tbsp. peanut butter, 1 Tbsp. honey, 1 small sugar-free chocolate instand pudding, 2 cups skim milk, lite whip cream (optional)

Mix peanut butter and honey together, microwave 20 seconds. Add rice krispies, then press in 9x13 pan. Mix pudding with skim milk, and pour over rice krispie crust. Before serving, add whip cream on top!

From Erin, Yummy Jell-O...or Dessert!

1 small box orange jell-o, 1 small box cook and serve vanilla pudding, 1 small box tapioca pudding, 1 small container of cool whip free, 3 cups water, 1 large can mandarine oranges (or 2 small cans)

Combine all jell-o in a pot. Add water. Bring to boil, then boil for one minute stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Pour in bowl. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Add cool whip. Add oranges. Mix together. Eat right away, or let it chill overnight so it sets up more! Try using sugar-free/fat-free jell-o's. Also try it with strawberry jell-o and fresh strawberries. YUM!

From Evelyn, Oatmeal Jam Squares

2 cups oatmeal, 1 3/4 cups flour, 1 cup smart balance butter, 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup chopped nuts, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 3/4 cup sugar-free preserves (or really tart preserves...I like pear!)

Combine all except preserves. Beat until crumbly. Reserve 2 cups. Press remaining onto bottom of greased 9x13 pan. Spread preserves over crust. Sprinkle with reserved mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool, and cut into squares. They are easy to freeze and kids love them!

Enjoy! And keep reading...the winners will be announced in the coming days! Don't forget to leave a comment :-)


Michael said...

I used to buy bottled water, but now I've been converted to reusable water bottles. Also, I always make sure to buy some orange juice and soy milk.

Babe in Boysland said...

Holy moly, I love dark chocolate and avaocados! Thanks for helping me justify my favorite things...mmmmmm.

I'm SO going to try those oatmeal cookies. They sound incredible!