Supermarket Favorites!

I get asked about shopping lists and daily menus fairly frequently. I provide the following information with the disclaimer that  it works for me: I have tried many diets (Abs, Atkins, Blood Type, Paleo, Zone, etc.) and many approaches to health and fitness to learn what my body needs and how it works best. While a plethora of books, articles and blogs contribute to how I think about nutrition and how I refine new recipes, my body is different from yours and our bodies will not necessary metabolize food similarly. Nevertheless, part of my promise in maintaining this blog is to share as much honest information with you as I can. The information below does not entirely serve as a traditional list, but it’s what I typically buy on a weekly basis, brands included. I also included my general daily menu in another post, but I have it at the bottom of this post as well. Happy shopping, cooking and eating!

Produce Aisle:

  • Fresh Express Bagged spring mix – usually 2/$5
  • Store-made Fresh salsa – great as an add-in or a base for soup or homemade marinara
  • Store Brand Berries – I buy them on sale and freeze extras
  • Key West Lime Juice – I add this to protein powder to make Vanilla Green limeade “shakes” (see menu, dinner (3)) and use it as a facial cleanser. Really.
  • Butternut squash – I cut it in “fry” shapes and bake.
  • Spaghetti Squash – pasta alternative superstar
  • Head of Cauliflower – I cut this up and use the flourets to make “nachos” (see menu, dinner (2))
  • Carrot Chips – snacks for London, my dog; I also dip these in peanut butter sometimes.
  • Granny Smith Apples – More snacks for London and for The Man.
  • Bulk Walnuts and Almonds – I find the best nut prices in the Produce section. I use both in salads, as snacks and I grind them into “flours.”

Interior Aisles:

  • Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter –it’s the most affordable where I shop, and appeals to my palate the most. I’ve tried a few others, but this is my fave.
  • Langnese Honey – pricier than other brands, but worth it to me. It’s rich and luxurious – melts beautifully in baked goods.
  • Fillippo Berrio Extra Light Taste Olive Oil – I use this for everything, including moisturizing my skin. Yup, right along with the lime juice.
  • Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Kisses – perfect little edibles when you need a quick dose of chocolate. I buy fancier brands for special occasions, but this does the job just fine!
  • Skinny Pop Black Pepper Popcorn – I acquiesce in purchasing this for The Man. Please note that there are still 10g of fat per serving in this “skinny” snack.

Dairy & Meats/Seafood/Poultry

  • Fage 2% Plain Greek Yogurt –I have tried nearly every other brand and I find this the most appealing. I mix in my natural pb and Isagenix every day for lunch.
  • PureSilk Light Almond milk (unsweetened) – The Man uses this on his cereal
  • Cabot’s Cheddar Cheese
  • Maggio’s Part Skim Ricotta Cheese
  • Plugra European Style butter – contrary to popular belief this costs the same or less than other American brands.
  • Frozen Shrimp – I buy the two-pound bag. It’s simple to defrost and makes a super quick dinner.
  • Skinless boneless chicken cutlets – I always try for “pastured”, but free range is next best. I scour for the best looking option.
  • Centercut Pork Cutlets – nice alternative to chicken
  • Ground chicken

Daily Menu:

Breakfast: Peanut Butter Cup: 1tbsp natural pb; 1 tbsp uncooked oats; 1 tbsp Isalean Chocolate

Lunch: Greek Yogurt “Pudding”: 0.5-1 “pot” of Fage 2% plain yogurt; 1 scoop Isalean vanilla or chocolate; 1 tsbp pb

Dinner: (1) 2 cups greens; 3-5 oz. lean protein; 1-2 other vegetables; (2) 1.5 cups cauliflower flourets, 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, 11 jalapeno slices and 2 tbsp salsa; or (3) 1 cup Kale, 2 scoops Isalean, 1/2 cup lime juice, 1/2 cup water blended into creamy green limeade.

Snacks: 3-4 dark chocolate kisses (AM); Nuts and berries (PM)

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Healthful Eating Tips: Food Trucks

I was recently out in LA where food trucks (really good ones!) are everywhere. I realized immediately that no matter the coast or the city, quick lunches are the norm for so many of us. Rather than skip lunch altogether or grab the closest available edible, here are some tips to keep it light and healthful while also grabbing super-quick nourishment:

1. Look for a source or truck that offers “local” or “fresh.” These words indicate healthier options (read: salads).

2. Check out the veggie or plant-based sources first.

3. If there are no local or fresh, and no immediately obvious veggie sources, look next for your protein: ideally, skinless, boneless lean poultry meats. These should not be coated in breading or fried, and they should not come in thick, creamy sauces – these are fat traps. The same reasoning that applies to restaurant menus applies to food trucks: seek out “grilled” “steamed” or “broiled.”

4. If you MUST get something pre-made, go for the leanest meat sandwich (ideally turkey) and a side salad. Ditch the bread and add the sandwich “interior” to your salad.

Still confused? Here are some other options!

A) A deconstructed egg roll: this is basically a salad made with egg roll fillings. Add some lean grilled meat if available and double-up on the green stuff.

B) A bun-free hoagie – OMG: it’s an antipasto! Go light on the cheeses, salamis and pastrami’s adding instead more lean turkey and ham; add oil & vinegar on the side.

C) Burger salad: a plain, grilled burger on a bed of lettuce with as many veggie options as they have available. Some great choices are avocado, roasted red pepper, black olives and anything green.

D) Taco salad – request a bed of shredded lettuce with the healthiest meat option and dress with salsa. If you are a meat-avoider, add as many veggies as you can but shy away from the corn and rice. Add beans only if they come “undressed” (i.e., not bathed in some sort of sauce or added fat like re-fried beans).

My favorite trucks while visiting, just outside of LACMA on Wilshire Blvd:

The Green Truck – I got the Kale Yeah salad, which is a bed of kale topped with pickled beets, shredded carrots and a grilled turkey burger. The goddess dress was light and fantastic! (This traditionally comes with quinoa, which I decided against, but if you’re into grains, go for it.)

Bahn in the USA: I got a deconstructed egg roll with grilled chicken and a lemongrass dressing on the side. Super yum.