Tag Archives: grocery shopping

3 Free Weekly Meal Planner Worksheets to Organize Healthy Homemade Food

I am a big proponent of meal planning. It’s something I’ve been doing in my own home for four years, and it’s one of the first things I recommend to anyone trying to be more healthily, trying to manage their grocery budget, or wanting to ensure they eat more food at home. It’s a simple task that takes a few minutes of my time every Sunday, keeps me in check at the grocery store, and keeps me from stressing that “what’s for dinner” question every night of the week.

The answer? It’s on the front of the refrigerator.

Thanks to Laura Likes Design, we’re sharing three meal plan worksheets that you can print off and use in your home. With spaces for three meals a day, seven days a week, you’ll never have to wonder what you’re having at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. And we’ve built in space for a grocery list, too! You can take the worksheet to the store with you to help stick to the plan.

Design 1, including a sample weekly meal plan to show you how easy it is to stay on track! Click here to download this PDF.

How does a weekly plan save you money?

You stick to the list! You aren’t aimlessly dropping things in your shopping cart hoping to wind up at home with enough stuff to throw together a meal. Everything that goes in your cart has a purpose. You buy, and therefore spend money on, only those things you need. (more…)

Howie Mandel Poses as a Health-Conscious Grocery Clerk on ABC’s “What Would You Do?”

Imagine this: you’re at the checkout line at the supermarket, but instead of the clerk giving a pleasant hello and ringing up your items, he tells you that your food choices are unhealthy. He then breaks down exactly what kinds of foods you should get and tries to put back the unwholesome ones. What would you do?

This is the scenario on tonight’s episode of What Would You Do? It airs Friday, October 5, at 9/8 central on ABC. The segment will feature comedian Howie Mandel as the grocery store clerk who dons a wig and nerd glasses to fool customers in to thinking he is a real employee.

Customers at the store look baffled as the undercover Mandel tells them they have failed at their shopping. “Healthwise, I don’t think that’s gonna work,” he says to one perplexed mom. “Will you get her something with more fiber?” he says to a co-worker.

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Frozen Meals Just as Time Efficient as Drive-Thru, but Markedly Healthier

Busy is often an excuse people give for making poor meal choices. Many will hit the drive-thru because they were too busy to pack a lunch. Or others will order pizza or grab pre-made food from under the heat lamps because they simply don’t have time to make dinner.

It’s true that our lives are too busy sometimes. However, there really are healthy options that are as quick and convenient as far less nutritious ones. You may be surprised to know you can find a great meal in your freezer section. A balanced meal can be achieved from frozen food, but the trick is knowing what to avoid and what to look for while shopping.

Our resident nutrition expert, Mary Hartley, RD set some guidelines to follow when choosing a frozen meal.

For a 250-gram serving, you want to look for:

  • Calories: 300 – 450
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Fat: < 3.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: < 1 g or < 15% of total calories
  • Fiber: > 5 g
  • Sodium: < 600 mg
  • Sugar: < 2 g
  • At least 10% of the Daily Value for at least three: vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium

Hartley also advises that you avoid certain ingredients in addition to the guidelines. “Personally, I strongly dislike and avoid questionable artificial sugars: saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame-K. I [also] can’t see any reason to eat sodium nitrates or food dyes,” said Hartley. (more…)

Our First-Ever Food Awards Reveal the Healthiest Groceries

We’re never been quiet when we find a new product we love. We make it a point to try out the newest “health” food being marketed and uncover brands with a smaller ad budget and a bigger nutritional bang. But we’ve never given you one collective list all at once like we’ve done in our first-ever food awards!

We’ve spent the summer developing nutrition criteria, scouring every shelf of the grocery store, reading labels until our eyes-crossed, and swapping lunch calories for taste-testing calories all in the name of helping you put the best food possible on your grocery list.

What we’ve come up with is a list of 13 popular food categories at the grocery store with a clear winner in each: bread, cereal, hot dogs, yogurt, snacks, deli meat, pasta sauce, dips, frozen meals, dressing, granola, beverages, and soup. While the general rule of thumb is to only shop the perimeter of the grocery store, if you’re willing to read labels then there’s plenty of good food stocked down the aisles.

View the Slideshow: 2012 Food Awards

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Oprah’s 6 Foods That Feed Your Brain to Prevent Memory Loss

Want to think sharper? Prevent your brain from shrinking? (Yeah, that happens.) Keep your brain from aging? You can’t exactly take your brain to the weight room, but you can feed this muscle a diet rich in vitamins B, D, and E, choline, and omega-3 fatty acids. That’s why making sure your diet is rich in the six foods on Oprah’s Great Brain Grocery List will not only feed your mind, but feed your body with plenty of essential nutrients.

While there’s no cure for Alzeheimer’s or dementia, often times we can do a lot to prevent these memory diseases from taking hold of our lives. New research finds that memory decline sets in as early as our mid-40s, according to O Magazine.

Click through to see which foods you need to start tossing in your cart.

View Oprah's Great Brain Grocery List Slideshow

Also Read:

Grow Some Fresh Brain Cells and Ward Off Alzheimer’s with Daily Exercise

High-Fat Diets Cause Brain Inflammation

Dr. Oz’s 2-Day Detox Diet in PEOPLE is More Proof He’s Sold Out

Side-by-Side Comparison of Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Fresh Market

Habit, convenience, and proximity are major factors in shaping where we purchase food and which foods we purchase. The decision to eat a healthier diet can be much easier than deciding which foods to purchase and from where to purchase them. While healthier options are becoming more widely available, where you live may determine what is or is not available. In Indianapolis, the 12th largest city in the United States, we have at least one farmers market year round, as well as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Fresh Market. Proximity plays a major role in where I shop most frequently, but perhaps that is not the most important factor.

Farmers markets may give you the best opportunity for the freshest produce and to speak with farmers about the conditions in which animals and produce are raised, but they are often not available throughout the week and selection of goods can vary. Whether we like it or not, we all visit a grocery at least occasionally, and the majority of Americans buy the majority of their food at a box store. Your farmers market may not offer fresh-made pasta or gluten-free baked goods like mine does, but your Whole Foods is probably a lot like my Whole Foods. (more…)

True Food Shopper’s Guide: Your Guide to Non-GMO Foods

The term genetically modified organism or GMO is sneaking into many news stories as of late. Consumers are becoming more vocal about their rights to know what is in the food they’re purchasing. Currently, the U.S. has no laws requiring companies to label their foods as a GMO. Thankfully, The Center for Food Safety has created a food guide to aid shoppers the next time they head to the store.

The True Food Shopper’s Guide is a perfect tool for those looking to navigate any grocery store and avoid purchasing the unlabeled GMOs on the shelf. GMOs are foods that have been created in a lab. In these GMO labs, genes are artificially inserted into the DNA of foods crops or animals. The resulting GMO can be engineered with genes from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals, or even humans.

When polled, the majority of Americans said they would not choose a GMO food, if it were labeled. Since we do not have the luxury of labels, unlike most other industrialized countries, knowing what our foods contain is a mystery. However, the shopper’s guide takes away the wonder and puts the right to know back in the consumer’s hands. (more…)

More Stores Stop Selling Ground Beef with Pink Slime

Ground beef that includes what the meat industry calls lean, finely textured beef, or pink slime, has been getting a lot of media coverage lately. Consumers have been avidly asking questions about which grocery stores sell it so that they can avoid it. As consumers continue to voice their concern, grocers are listening.

Safeway, SUPERVALU and Food Lion are the latest grocery stores to make the announcement that they will discontinue carrying ground beef that includes pink slime. Safeway released a statement saying, “While the USDA and food industry experts agree that lean, finely textured ground beef is safe and wholesome, recent news stories have caused considerable consumer concern about this product. Safeway will no longer purchase ground beef containing lean, finely textured beef.”

The list of grocers that are issuing statements regarding their ground beef and whether or not it contains pink slime is growing.

While Safeway is the second largest grocery chain in the country, SUPERVALU is the third largest chain. SUPERVALU controls various grocery stores including Albertson’s, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Jewel-Osco, Hornbacher’s and others. Some other heavy hitters like Walmart and Sam’s Club have also made recent announcements that they would stop selling beef that includes pink slime. The nation’s largest grocery store chain is Kroger and they currently offer beef options with and without the product.

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A HowGood Rating at the Grocery Store Will Make You a More Conscious Consumer

I’d never given much thought to milk. It’s just milk after all. When my daughter turned one last year and started drinking it, suddenly milk wasn’t just milk. In my mind there was milk that I wouldn’t dare let her drink, and there was the best milk I could possibly give to her. I didn’t want her tiny body being exposed to unnecessary hormones, chemicals, or anything else that milk has been getting a bad rap for. I just wanted her to simply have a cup of the protein-rich food that would help her grow to be the big girl that she now thinks she is, on the cusp of a second birthday.

Standing at the grocery cooler inspecting the dozens of options before me, in the end I had a package and price to go off of. I had to weigh the two and make my selection. However, if I were researching my milk purchase today, I might be able to consider the product’s HowGood score. Horizon would have no “globes,” Stonyfield would have a “good” score with one globe, and Organic Valley would have a “very good” score with two globes.

You have no idea what I’m talking about, but Alexander Gillett is working really hard to change that. He and his brother, Arthur, launched HowGood four months ago. They’ve scored more than 100,000 products and awarded each of them zero to three globes. The more globes, the more sustainable the product is.

Alexander explained that with the HowGood sustainability rating displayed right on the price tag at the point of purchase people can expand their decision based on more than price and package claims. He says they’ve found that people are willing to pay a little more for a “greener” product. “The reality is a product that is sustainable costs a little bit more,” he told us.

This is why the “best milk” isn’t always going to be determined by a price or marketing. He explained that the “best milk” may cost even 15 cents more than its seemingly similar competitor, but customers are willing to pay that. “The best-rated milk product saw an increase in sales of 36 percent in one month, and continued over the next four months,” Alexander told us of actual stores sales where the HowGood label was used. (more…)

Challenge: Buy 30 Days of Groceries at Whole Foods on a Poverty-Level Budget

Have you ever pictured yourself doing a happy dance in the grocery store because you could afford oranges? No? Me neither, but that’s what happened during my 30-day challenge to feed my family of three at or near the poverty level. There were also moments of frustration and a few tears shed. Here’s how it all started …

I was roaming around a section of the USDA website where they keep track of over 8,000 families and what they spend every month for groceries. This helps them set four different budget levels: Thrifty (near the poverty level), Low, Medium, and Liberal.  Amounts are broken down by gender and age; kids and the elderly account for less money than 20-something guys, for instance. 

If you think this is a futile exercise and a waste of taxpayer money, you’d be wrong. If you’re going through a divorce, it’s likely that the courts will assess child support at the “Low” level, no matter your income. The food that our servicemen and women are served is budgeted at the Liberal level. So this monthly assessment by the government has a bigger effect than you might realize.

When I looked at the numbers, I realized my family was living at the “Low” level, but that wasn’t taking into account how often we eat out (two to three meals per week between lunches and dinner). The amount we spend does reflect us eating a lot of organic foods. Plus, we can sometimes be too wasteful; I cringe some weeks at what we throw away. It’s not just a waste of money, but a waste of resources for the planet.

Could our family live at the Thrifty level? What would it take? And what if I tried doing this while only shopping at Whole Foods, aka “Whole Paycheck”? And then what if I also threw a dinner party for eight as the very last meal?

I contacted Whole Foods and suggested a bet. If I could feed my family of three for 30 days exclusively from items purchased at Whole Foods for $491.10 they would reimburse me for my food. If I didn’t make it, they’d owe me nothing. The budget worked out to $16.31 cents per day total for all three of us. In case you’re wondering, here’s what we bought for the month.

Whole Foods said yes, my family was gung ho, and we were off on January 1st, shopping for over 90 minutes, trying to figure out what we could afford.    (more…)