Tag Archives: Healthy Eating

Creative Corner: Hummus!

If you’re anything like me, you love hummus. You could eat hummus with EVERYTHING. I am just such a big fan because eating vegetables raw and on their own is the healthiest way to go.. but I hate it. I don’t mind eating vegetables with dip, but more often than not, I’ll be dunking my vegetables into dips that are jam packed with fat, preservatives, sugar, and sodium. Enter, HUMMUS – or better yet – homemade hummus to the rescue! Hummus is wonderful because it contains lots of fiber, antioxidants, and calcium.

So, if you’re bored of the classic way to eat hummus, click here for an amazing list of different hummus recipes to try! It’s super easy: all you do is combine the list of ingredients (only 5!) and blend. Optional: you can make your hummus thinner by adding water to the mix (one tablespoon at a time until you’re happy with the consistency).

The True Cost of Healthy Living

There are many studies out there weighing the true cost of healthy eating habits and for the most part I’ve seen that on-average it can cost approximately $1.50 more per day to eat healthier foods.

For many people, $1.50 is nothing, and for others is the world. Until you really begin to break down what it is you are purchasing.

I have long been the kind of person who typically eats and buys healthy. However, I was also the kind of person who could get tired, lazy and just plain not in the mood to cook and would not hesitate to go grocery shopping and then buy something convenient to quickly make for afterwards ( i.e. boxed nuggets, Kraft Dinner…)or grab some McDonald’s or pizza because I was too tired to cook after shopping.

When the average McDonald’s trip for two people is approximately $20, I find it appalling yet humorous now that I would not balk over this cost, but would refuse to pay $12 for 5 chicken breasts (that equaled to two separate dinners plus one lunch for my son and I). When I think about how crappy that meal always made me feel at the end of the day, I can’t believe I still made that choice over and over again. Now, I look at that $20 dollars and see how far it can actually stretch. That’s a bag of potatoes, a bag of carrots, a tray of mixed greens, an English cucumber, two peppers, two tomatoes and maybe some asparagus if it’s on sale. All items I can use the entire week long. For several different meals.

That $20 is also equal to a whole chicken, a package of ground turkey, and a package of frozen basa fillets. The base for at least five different meals there.

Since I have begun to turn over a new page when it comes to eating, I can honestly say that yes, buying fresh meat and produce does seem a little more expensive per item. HOWEVER. I am no longer buying 90% of the stuff through the middle aisles of the grocery store. Most days I can skip right over them. Do you have any idea how much money you save by choosing to no longer buy items such as Kraft Dinner, canned goods, granola bars, cookies, chips, juice boxes etc.? All things that have little to no nutritional value for yourself or your children? When you consider that you can get a large package of brown rice (that will last you for many, many meals) for the same price as two packages of Kraft dinner…it’s kind of mind boggling.

When you realize that the whole chicken you bought (usually for around $7-9) can make dinner for three, a salad topper, AND a large pot of homemade soup base… how much more valuable is knowing that you have put healthy things into your bellies. Things that you know exactly how they were prepared.

Now, I realize that there are families out there that are considerably larger than mine. With a considerably larger grocery bill and smaller budget. However, I urge you, whenever possible, to choose with healthy in mind. Natural. The only thing in our diets that dietitians say is completely unrestricted as to the amount of servings you can have each day is vegetables. Eat as many and as often as you can. Be smart about your purchases. Try going to the local farmers markets. Pay attention to the sales at all the different grocery stores. Stick to the outside aisles in the grocery store. Small changes will make a huge difference in how your body feels. The healthier you eat, the more energy you have, and the more prepared you can be in ensuring your meals are the right choices.

Question of the Month – Healthy Eating

At our Blogger’s meeting this month we talked a lot about the various forces at work behind every food purchase we make: the cost of the item, convenience, perceived nutrition, packaging, location in the grocery store, the media! It’s a wonder we are able to find anything other than kale that makes all the criteria we hear we should follow. We talked too, about how we’re not forced to become aware of what we’re putting in our cart until something happens to stop and make us think: poverty, health issues, an eedp_ed_09_08_2014_YWCA-0044ye-opening documentary. How much sugar is in ketchup? Is it really more expensive to buy fresh produce? And how in the world did someone come up with the marketing genius idea of bottled water? We were inspired to write about these issues because of our Finer Diner event coming up at the end of the month (more info here). Where for two $85 tickets you can have your five course meal,  but you can also feed a woman and her child for an entire month. It’s all about awareness and being an educated consumer!

We’ve got some really interesting posts coming up that bring to light some of the more serious obstacles to healthy eating; poverty, for one. We began to truly wonder:

Is healthy eating accessible to everyone?

Laura

Yes, I think healthy eating is accessible to everyone. For a while I was challenging myself to stick to a $25/week grocery budget and was able to make healthy foods to feed me for a week within this budget. It does require a little more time and creativity but people on all budgets can really make it work if the motivation is there. One of my tips would be to pick a few select fruits and vegetables for that week and then find different recipes to make with them rather than shaping your grocery list around your recipes. Beansprouts are a great option at aroundDSC_0383 $0.99 a bag and can be used in many different ways, chickpeas are another low-cost, high-nutrition item and frozen vegetables and fruits can help you stay healthy while sticking to a budget (and preventing any food loss). Also, don’t be afraid to use coupons and apps like Checkout 51 to help make your grocery budget go farther!

Donna

Yes.  However, eating healthy also depends on how resourceful and creative you are when faced with a tight budget.  This is coming from someone who doesn’t cook  – but is frugal and wants her money to go a long way.

With eating well a top priority in our household, we look at the weekly flyers for sale items and begin to plan our menu for the week from there – I must admit, it takes planning.  Now with the warmer weather, we have planted our vegetable and herb gardens – where sun-warmed fresh produce will soon be ours for the picking.  No room for a garden – visit your local farmer’s market downtown!  Living in Niagara has its advantages.

At our downtown St. Catharines Market Square – you get a variety of fresh, local produce and in smaller quantities – FarmersMarketwhich is great, and allows for more variety too.  They even let you sample before buying – I love that!

Good food is an investment in your health – it is worth the effort and time spent sourcing out the best prices and looking for quality ingredients – then spending the time preparing your own meals.

 

Now or Never

 

I started my ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ on September 12 last year. It was the day before my 33 birthday. But before I go on, I have to admit something.
I hate New Year’s Resolutions.
I just all around find them….painful. I don’t know about you, but I put more than enough pressure on myself and spend more than enough time sifting through recriminations, guilt, frustration and the eventual shrugging of my shoulders throughout the year for the ‘New Year, New You’ regimen. I like ‘Me’ just fine thank you. Well…most of the time. Ok…there is some room for improvement…
You see: I am a smoker. Nasty, I know and I will spare you the details.
It came down to this: I woke up on September 12 and decided that for my next birthday, I wanted to be able to say that I was smoke free. I was tired of smoking, really and truly tired of it.
 
Today is January 8, 2014 and I have not had one cigarette since that day. To say I am proud of myself is an understatement. I understand though, that this will never be easy. What I’ve realized in the last few months is that by deciding I no longer wanted to smoke, I was choosing to be healthier. Hmmmm….what other ways could I choose to be healthier? 
 
And… cue the ‘I hate New Year’s Resolutions.’ 
 
You see, for some reason as soon as I had that thought, I immediately put it off. I somehow immediately put it into my head that I was going to wait until the New Year to start actively pursuing this new and healthier ‘me’. I mean, I had just quit smoking for crying out loud, what more could I expect from myself?? It could wait until the ‘New Year’! It was almost comical how quickly my brain started teasing me with whispers of ‘ya right.’ and ‘how long will that last’ and ‘one thing at a time silly’. I started laughing at myself long before I even started.
I was asking of myself two extra little things. One was to eat healthier and steadier, the other to get more exercise. (They are NOT lying when they say you ‘may’ gain weight when you stop smoking. Not lying at all.)
SO HA! I had picked only the two top things people resolve to do on New Year’s Day. But…wait a minute…this was only the beginning of October. What was stopping me from starting now? Right this very minute? I have an elliptical machine in the basement. My family recently joined the Y. I had groceries in the fridge to make a ‘healthy meal’ out of. What was stopping me?
Nothing. Just little ‘ole me telling myself I had to be ‘ready’. You know…so that I wouldn’t give up. So I sat there on my couch and rolled my eyes in defeat and found myself scrolling through the humor section on Pinterest to distract myself. And then I reached the end of the page and realized I had already seen more than half of the pictures I had just scrolled through. So, being bored, I went to the main page and there before me is a picture of the most incredible looking recipe I have ever seen. I quickly pinned it and then found myself scrolling through the food and drink section happily pinning away all of these delicious and mostly healthy looking recipes. And…cue that teasing whisper. You know the one. This time it was quietly laughing at me. Reminding me that I have pinned a thousand crafts, recipes, decorating ideas etc. and have only ever accomplished three of them. So I stopped.
I got up and went and got a pad of paper and a pen. I brought everything over to the 
table and sat down. I then went into my ‘Favorite Recipes’ board and scrolled all the way to the bottom. I had pinned over 200 recipes and the only thing I had ever made was peanut butter cookies made to look like reindeer the Christmas before. Well that was that. Now I had lit a fire under my behind. I picked three recipes and made myself a grocery list. I got up, got my keys and went to the grocery store. Two hundred dollars later I arrived home exhausted, excited and wondering what I had gotten myself into. You see, for a girl who loves to cook, I had spent the last year being incredible lazy and downright cranky about having to make dinner. It had fallen to my husband (who to be honest, didn’t mind the chore) or to take out/dining out. I do have ready excuses for my bowing out of my kitchen- I was working full time, planning a wedding…ok I’ll stop. Excuses. So, there I stood surrounded by grocery bags when my husband came into the kitchen and stood there in shock at how much stuff I had bought. When he asked what all the food was for I took a breath and made myself accountable for those purchases. I would NOT let this food go to waste. I explained about the recipes I had picked, and that he and JJ could expect three fantastic meals this week. I don’t know that he believed me. I don’t know that I necessarily believed myself. I only know that I was kind of really looking forward to it.

 

I have to date made almost 25 things off of my Pinterest page. All of them vying for ‘that was my favorite’ from the three of us. I’m not saying I have cooked every single night. I’m not saying we haven’t gone out to eat. I’m not saying I didn’t have to give myself an intervention of sorts because I was suddenly spending excessive amounts of money at the grocery store for one meal. I’m saying I’ve been learning to enjoy making healthy, delicious home-made meals again. Meals that stretch into healthy lunches for my boys and myself (saving me some precious moments in the morning).
While all this non-smoking, and healthy (extra) eating was fantastic I still want (and now really) need to be a little bit more faithful to exercise. This has been the really tricky part for me. Working 9-5 doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to make a healthy dinner and go to the gym. My proudest moment was the day I managed to do 5k on the elliptical. This was a HUGE accomplishment for me. Sadly, I haven’t been back since as the Christmas Holidays hit and you know…excuses, excuses. But….I have the rest of my life to figure out that balance. I truly do.
It’s not one day. It’s not one year. It’s not one decision. It’s not one fallback.
It’s all YOU baby. It’s your day, your years, your decision. It’s your forgiveness and allowance to give yourself a break. It’s your willingness to stop judging yourself and just allow yourself to take things one day at a time. Stop being so willing to give up because you let yourself down in a moment of need. Understand that every single thing you decide to do for yourself as a ‘resolution’…takes time.  You have time. All the rest of your life darlin.
It’s not one day. It’s not one year. It’s not one decision. It’s not one fallback. So here are my ‘resolutions’ for my life as it is today.
I resolve to be me. Whatever that means.
 
Wishing You…the best year yet.
P.s. if you are interested in learning about how I have stopped smoking…just ask. If you would like a recipe for the world’s best salmon dinner…or the best ‘winter’ roasted jalapeno soup (guaranteed to warm those insides) just ask and we can post the recipes.)