Thursday, March 12, 2009

Healthy Eating on a Budget

With the economy the way it is now, it's harder and harder for us to eat well. The cost of fresh fruits and veggies going up causes us to avoid buying them in favor of canned (which lose 60% of vital nutrients and fiber during the canning process) or in favor of prepared foods (which are usually high in sodium and low in fiber - not to mention the refined, processed sugars they include). Bread has gone up, milk has gone up, cheese has gone up. And if you are into buying low-fat/high-fiber and/or "diet" foods, the cost is up even more.

So what's a supermom to do?

Well, here are a few tips that will (hopefully) keep your family well-fed and save a dime or two!

On Sale? Buy in bulk! Items such as ground turkey are usually cheaper than ground beef to begin with. Chicken breasts and light meat pork items, on the other hand, are anywhere from $5-7 a package, depending on your store and area. Wait until these items go on sale, and buy 3 or 4 packages at once! Avoid buying those "bulk" packages of flash-frozen breasts or tenders. Chances are, you'll be paying close to twice the price for MAYBE one or two breasts more than the fresh packages. Also, a lot of times these items will have been brined, adding extra sodium and water (which raises the weight, and therefore the price). And if your favorite veggie goes on sale, buy it in bulk. Pre-chop it and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months until you're ready to use it!

Try making your own! Bread, pasta, pancakes, biscuits . . . you know what's going in to the batch, AND chances are you can make several batches for a fraction of the cost of one package of the prepared item. Don't know how to do it? Saving Dinner has some great recorces for just this kind of thing. Can't find anything there? Type "home made __(fill in the blank)__" into your search engine and watch the hits flow! There are thousands upon thousands of recipes for homade bread, pizza dough, pasta, rice mixes, baking mixes . . . you name it, ,it's out there! Serch You Tube or for how-to videos too!

Try Frozen! Sometimes, frozen IS better than fresh. Berries, peaches, corn, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, and peas are great examples. They're available all year round, and cheaper than fresh in most cases! And don't discount items such as stir-fry mixes, and "Normandy" mixed vegetables. For around $2-5 (depending on size of package and area) you can get a mix of veggies and fruit that would cost you close to $10 to buy fresh!

Make a budget and a list and STICK TO IT!! Research has shown that when we have a set budget along with a list to stick to, we tend to buy more wholesome foods for our dollar. For example, if a Mom goes to the store with $10, she can chose to buy prepared items or fresh items. Chances are, she'll go for the fresh items which, in most cases, cost up to 20% less than the prepared.

It's been said before but DON'T SHOP ON AN EMPTY STOMACH! When you go grocery shopping hungry, we have a tendency to buy things that we don't need, don't REALLY want, and certainly can't afford. If it's not meal time, eat a small snack like a piece of fruit or a cheese stick before hitting the aisles. It can make all the difference in your food budget!

Well, there you have it. Just a few tips that I hope will help some of you keep eating healthy without breaking the bank.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Four Pounds Lighter

I lost 4 lbs. as of Friday. I am so excited that I'm losing again. I want to fit into my bodice for Scarby!! I was so embarassed and disappointed that I didn't get to go to my Rennie group meeting in garb because it didn't fit. But, that's okay, b/c I am LOSING!! By the time we go, I hope to have lost at least 15 lbs if not more. And I'm going to work hard for it, too. Every time I want to eat something bad for me, I'm going to remind myself about that bodice. And every time I say "eww salad" I'm going to remind myself about that bodice! And every time I'm tempted by some nice . . . crispy . . . bacon . . . *shutter* - NO!! I'm going to remind myself about that bodice!!!

Wow, I have a good goal now. Not bad . . . :-)

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Healthy Pantry - FINALLY!!

FINALLY - the third - and final - installment of Supermom's Healthy Kitchen. Took me a bit to compile this list - some tweaking needed to be done additions, subtractions . . . that sort of thing. Remember, this is created with a family of 4-6 in mind. Also, if you don't like something, feel free to not have it on YOUR list - this is just a basic list.

Supermom's Healthy Pantry


Whole Wheat Flour
White Flour (used in moderation)
Reduced-Fat Baking mix (used in moderation)
Baking Powder
Baking Soda
Sugar substitute made for baking (I prefer Splenda)
Cocoa Powder

Canned Goods

*NOTE* Supermom does not condone the excessive use of canned fruits and vegetables with the exception of tomatoes and beans. MOST veggies and fruits lose vital fiber and nutrients during the canning process. That being said, canned is better than NONE, so if you HAVE to eat canned, go ahead.**

Tomato sauce
Tomato paste
Stewed tomatoes
Crushed tomatoes
Black beans
Red (kidney) beans
Low-sodium chicken stock
Low-sodium beef stock
Low sodium, low fat cream soups (i.e. Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Chicken, etc)


**I buy either 100% whole wheat pasta or Barilla's "Plus" line of pastas. More fiber, nutrients, and flavor!**

Whole wheat or carb-concious pastas, both short such as shells, elbows, etc. and long such as spaghetti or fettuccini.
Brown rice - raw is best, but as it takes almost an hour to cook, I usually buy quick-cooking or "Minute" brown rice.
Whole grain, low sugar cereals (Cheerios, Chex, Grape Nuts . . . no "kiddie" cereals!)
100% whole grain breads
whole wheat crackers (Kashi and Wasa make some really tasty ones)


Pasta sauce (this is naturally low-fat, if you buy just plain marinara. But pay attention to sugar content!)
Mustard (both yellow and dijon)
Worchesterchire sauce
Liquid smoke
Louisiana hot sauce (or tobasco if you prefer)
relishes - any type you like
pickles - any type you like

Well, there you have it kids! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them here!

Happy (and Healthy!!) Eating!