Grocery tips and Food ideas
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Here's some random thoughts on shopping and food:
Fruits & Vegetables of course, don't get iceberg lettuce though when possible get fresh spinach (for salads) or other types of lettuce when possible (red leaf is good) as iceberg has no nutrients at all. Try new fruits you may not be familiar with. I recommend mangos, grapes and kiwis. Grapes are great when you freeze them and eat them as a cold snack.
*NOTE* For non-immediate consumption type fruits & vegetables always get frozen fruits & vegetables instead of canned if at all possible, the sodium is much less and the taste is far better. If you do get canned vegetables always rinse the vegetables before eating as it will help a lot with the sodium.
For snacks / misc:
Pumpkin seeds are a great snack my doctor recommended, they’re high in fat but it’s a good fat
Tortilla Chips w/Salsa instead of chips and sour cream dip are a much healthier snack
Planters lightly salted nuts (with sea salt)
Nature Valley granola bars (you can leave some of these in your car if you're out and about and get hungry to avoid fast food)
String cheese - light
1% cottage cheese (don't get nonfat as it doesn't taste too good)
Orville Redenbacher 100 calorie air-popped popcorn
Milk: Skim or 1% milk, never get Vitamin D, way too much fat
Canned meat: Canned tuna in water to mix with salads or make tuna fish
Canned chicken and salmon make good sandwiches as well mixed with a bit of miracle whip light and/or mustard & pickles
Miracle Whip light instead of mayo, although in general the less of any of this as a topping the better. If you are ok with mustard then mix in mustard so you can use less Miracle Whip Light.
Plochmans or a similar mustard, if you like mustard use it whenever possible as it’s ideal calorie-wise.
Dijon mustard (watch the calories though, most have hardly any but some are real high if they are sugar based)
For butter always use unsalted butter. Do not ever use margarine. Ever.
For bread look for Aunt Millie's bread, you can get the bread or the salad pita type pockets. I alternate but the bread tastes a bit better. Look for the words WHOLE WHEAT. If you hate wheat bread you can get Whitewheat branded bread at some places (Walmart). Never eat white bread as it’s processed and high in sugars.
Weight Control Oatmeal - either get the variety pack or Maple Brown Sugar. Mix in frozen blueberries or strawberries on occasion to mix it up.
Honey Nut Crunch Cheerios w/frozen fruit (unsweetened, make sure there is no ADDED sugar) and if not sweet enough add 1 Splenda
Eggs – always buy brown and/or organic eggs when possible and buy egg whites to mix in with the regular eggs as well. 1 egg with some whites is better than 2 regular eggs. Egglands Best is what I buy if I can find them for cheap and/or on sale.
Turkey sausage links or low-sodium bacon is nice but it should be an occasional treat and not an everyday breakfast.
In general when I make eggs I make an omelet: mix 1 egg with egg whites, mushrooms, red or green onions, peppers and cook, then add 1 slice of lowfat cheese and flip the egg over top the cheese to complete. Add salsa – it works well on eggs, omelets (salsa is also great on baked potatoes instead of butter by the way!)
For any deli meats get as lowfat (96% of higher) and as little sodium as you can. In general the order of preference is: turkey is the best, then chicken breast, then roast beef and ham, then everything else, avoid all heavily salted meats like pastrami, pepperoni, salami, etc – See below for more ideas on sandwiches
Sandwiches: Using low calorie (light) wheat bread pile on the lowfat deli meat with lettuce, banana peppers, tomatoes, onions, whatever vegetables you can fit on there that you like (the more the better). Use mustard, Dijon mustard or if you want mayo then use the miracle whip light (sparingly though). If you like vinegar and oil it is the ideal sandwich topping and works well with the vegetables and especially on ham if you're not a fan of mustard. If you want a PB&J sandwich get sugar free fruit jams with real fruit and mix with Natural peanut butter on wheat bread for a great PB&J sandwich. Make sure to get the natural peanut butter and not some light branded peanut butter.
Gortons fish 2-per-pack are good to eat, they do not have any breading. They cook in the microwave so it’s a good item to take to work.
Green giant individual servings of frozen vegetables are great for taking in your lunch as well.
Lean pockets are good but should be an occasional treat. They are heavily processed food (avoid heavily processed foods whenever possible)
For any cheese products just try to get 2% cheese. Avoid non-fat cheeses as they are not very good tasting or filling. Kraft 1% swiss slices are good too if you like swiss.
Campbells Healthy Request lower sodium soups are good. I know there are other brands that are a bit healthier but they just aren’t as tasty of filling IMO.
Hot dogs: Hebrew National All-beef franks cooked in water on the stove (not in the microwave). Chop up pickles (rinse first) and mix with mustard and/or onions for the topping, serve on a whole wheat bun.
Pizza: mama mary's or boboli's 8" pizza crusts (mama mary's tastes better but has much more fat) w/whatever low cal sauce (should be able to find one in a small glass jar around 40 calories), 1% cheese, oregano, garlic powder, turkey pepperoni *or* ground sausage turkey plus whatever vegetables you like on your pizza (the more the better). Put sauce on, then garlic powder, oregano and dash of parmesan cheese, then turkey pepperonis and everything else. The secret to this is to put just a dash of cheese on the pizza, then cook it in the oven, then add a dash when it comes out, you can get away with much less cheese that way (and cheese is where most of the calories comes from on this).
Fried Chicken Strips: Get chicken breasts, cut into strips. Get some Kelloggs Corn Flakes, pour into a plate. Crush the corn flakes by rolling a can over them. Dip each chicken strip into lowfat milk & extra virgin olive oil mixture. Roll the chicken strip in the Kellogs crushed Corn Flakes mixture. Put strip on sprayed cookie sheet and cook in oven @ 425 for 20-25 minutes until chicken is cooked thoroughly. Tastes great, just like fried chicken! Dip in Dijon mustard or BBQ/hot sauce.
Chili: chili is great to make in a crock pot *or* on the stove, tomato juice, tomato paste, chili powder, diced or whole tomatoes, 3 kinds of beans you like (black beans recommended), green/yellow and red peppers, whole mushrooms, red onions and ground turkey if you want meat. I just cook the meat in a pan, throw it all into a pot and warm up, or leave it all in a crockpot while i'm at work.
Spaghetti: Spaghetti is good made much like the chili above but utilize the canned spaghetti sauce (not in a glass jar, the low cal canned sauce) with the above vegetable and meat ingredients. For the pasta always get Dreamfields low-carb pasta. Utilize excessive amounts of sauce and minimal pasta in each serving.
Salads & Salad Dressings: Throw in whatever vegetables you want, avoid bacon bits, avoid croutons. A boiled egg helps create taste. If you desire some sort of crunch instead of bacon bits or croutons get 2 crackers and crumble into the salad. For the dressing buy a bottle of extra virgin olive oil. Buy a bottle of red vinegar. Combine and use on salad with oregano seasoning to season. Or if you really want to use store bought dressing then get the low calorie vinaigrette or a light italian dressing. Any clear-based, lower fat dressings are the best. Avoid fat laden dressings such as 1000 islands, as they defeat the purpose of a low calorie, low-fat salad.
Drinks: Water - as much as possible, flavored water with Sucralose, Crystal light is ok but don't go crazy with it as it has aspartame, Ocean Spray Diet Cranberry Juice (15 calories per serving I believe), Aizona Diet Green Tea, if you want a cola drink then RC Diet Cola is the best as it doesn't use aspartame (it uses sucralose), homemade tea sweetened with a sucralose based sweetener (Splenda). Don't use Sweet & Low or Equal if possible (they have aspartame which you should always avoid).
For Desert: eat fruits whenever possible to satisfy a sweet tooth, yogurts (the low cal yogurts) are good for mixing with fruit, other ideas are low calorie popsicles (25 to 40 calories per serving), weight watchers ice cream (get individual serving sizes when possible as its good portion control). Another idea is to get the flavored light branded cool whips and freeze them, then eat them like ice cream (I believe they have a chocolate flavored cool whip as well). There are also Smuckers fudge topping which is sugar free to put over Cool Whip or weight watchers Ice cream that tastes good (it may have a very, very slight bitter aftertaste but it's subtle). If you get any chocolate get dark chocolate and avoid milk chocolate. Another idea is to get weight watchers ice cream, coat with sugar free topping, add bananas, chopped nuts and you have a great tasting, low calorie banana split.
Don’t add extra salt to your food when at all possible as most foods we buy now in stores are loaded with salt. Rinse foods whenever possible to rinse off sodium. Try using oregano and/or potassium based salts which have 60 to 90% less sodium. Also consider Mrs. Dash products.
Happy shopping & cooking all!