Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Eating Healthy for 99 cents

I often hear "eating healthy is expensive" or "I can't afford to eat healthy" Well I am here to tell you that is a myth. I started changing my diet when I was unemployed in 2009. I figured... I am home anyway, so I might as well learn something new and do something productive with my days. Since that time I have been employed, unemployed, in between and a full time student, so I think I have come up with some ways to eat healthy on a budget, no matter how much time you have.

The first one I will share with you is The 99 cents store.

This is a quick post so I am just going to post the very amateur pictures I took during my trip to 99c store, last week.  This way you can get an idea for some of the items they sell. But Really there is soooo much more...I will be back with more tips....


celery, radishes, green onions, carrots
avocado, oranges,

broccoli, oranges, mushrooms

portabella mushrooms

dark chocolate (thats healthy right?)

more shrooms 


18 eggs, this is the only item that costs more than 1.99

Dried beans- black-white-pinto- Lentils- brown rice- split peas whole wheat pasta

Lots of spices and herbs

Cantaloupe & tomatoes 3 kinds 


Potatoes- 4 different kinds

squash-onions-cucumbers artichokes-zucchini 

Yogurt regular and greek

Mixed veggies and bagged salads

dried fruits

all kind of containers to pack your food to go

sauces and dressings

I did this post super fast, so there might be a pic that is a duplicate. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pizza day makeover

It's pizza day at my daughter’s school. Rather than have her eat an overly processed pie, high in fat (13 grams) and calories (332calories). I made her the lunchables copy. Whole flat bread cut into triangles per her request with organic pizza sauce by Muir Glen. I stock up on these when they go on sale at Target and Trader Joes low fat mozzarella. Some left over salad from dinner with a vinaigrette dressing , 2 gluten free fig newtons I buy these at grocery outlet for on 2.50 a pack. A baby orange, I know they are not really called baby oranges but that is what we call them at our house. :) And last but not least water to drink.

This is one of those lunches she love and could have over and over again. She had it twice this week with different sides. 

It takes me about 5 minutes to make her lunch in the morning and she is responsible for washing out her container each night. Sometimes she or I will make her lunch the night before. When I am working full-time, I will do it the night before just to save time. I usually do this when I am cleaning up from dinner. PS The box is from Old Navy. Check out my Facebook Page to see more examples of easy school lunches.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

3 easy ways to avoid fast food restaurants.

Purse Snacks

When we are not home, we still want to maintain our healthy lifestyle. That can be hard as the the majority of quick and easy food choices are not very healthy.

For our family Fast Food restaurants are just not an option, the quality of the food and types of food offered would just not fit into a clean eating lifestyle and with children, if you do it once they will always remember and remind you "but remember that one time we ate at Mcdonalds..."

These are the things we eat instead of a trip through the drive through window.

#1 I try to always have healthy or "healthier than" choices in my purse or backpack. Then, I have to decide if this is going to be replacing a meal or if this a true snack, then I can choose accordingly.

One of my choices could be:

  • An apple with peanut butter 
  • Tuna with crackers or celery
  • Dried fruit and nuts
  • Fruit leather
  • Trail mix
  • A cliff bar 
  • A whole wheat fig bar
A "healthier than" choice is something that is still a treat but is better than what it is replacing, these are not for everyday. I like to have these for my daughter so that she can still be a kid and enjoy, but I know that she is not being subjected to toxins like High Fructose Corn Syrup and/ or Food Coloring. There are many Organic products in the markets these days. Some of the ones she likes are:

Annies - This is her favorite brand. When she sees the bunny on the package she pretty much knows I will say okay.  Annies has entire line of products. All of which are free of HFCS and Food Coloring and Sugar. Since this post is about portable snacks, I will tell you which ones my daughter likes best for on the go, bunny fruit snacks and cheddar bunnies which are like goldfish crackers. I don't let her have these every day, we talk about the fact that these are treats and if you have something everyday then it is not a treat. 

As you can see from the picture labeled Purse Snacks, There is also dark chocolate and lollipops. First we will talk about the lollipops, they are by a company called Yummy Earth, again they are dye free and HFCS free, That means just like the bunny snacks the coloring comes from vegetables. You do not taste it. These are kid approved. All of my daughters friends have had them and I have never had a complaint. 

Trader Joe's Kitty Cat cookies these are so yummy and travel well, they do not crumble. I have been "told" they are great with a little nutella. 

The reason I like products, like the ones above, is that I like to be able to pull a treat out of my purse for my child, so that she does not feel deprived, instead she will quietly tell me "mom they only have junk here, nothing healthy. Do you have any good treats in your purse?"

The dark chocolate, well I must admit that is mostly for me. ;) I love chocolate and rather than being tempted by a snickers bar or a bag of Ms, I can just eat my 1 dark chocolate square and call it a day. (remember, not everyday) 

#2 Rather than fast food, I have also stopped at a grocery store and bought:
  • a piece of fruit and a yogurt (grab a spoon by the soup or keep some in your glove box)
  • box of kashi crackers with cheesesticks
  • Deli lunch meat with a loaf of whole grain bread

#3 Chipotle -  My kind of fast food. I can buy a bowl with brown rice and pinto beans for about $2.00 for a simple meal. . It can be turned into a hearty meal for a few more dollars and will feed 2 people. You can't go wrong! 

 Well, there you have it, those are our go to snacks and meals.  I will do another post that will be about planned out lunches you can take with you, if you are planning a day out. Take Care and don't forget to follow me on Facebook. :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Do I really have this many?

When I first decided that I wanted to eat healthy, I was not really sure where to begin and I like many of us, went by the SAD diet. Do you know what that stands for.... doesn't sound like a good diet does it?  Well it stands for the Standard American Diet. Not the best acronym but it is very apropos.

I was learning that what I was doing was not working. So, I had to find out how to change my diet to my lifestyle.

That is where research came into play, I had to start doing my research. In the very beginning I started with Dr. Oz's book, You the Owner's Manual. This book has a plethora of information! From what to how to why. That last part was important for me. I don't like to just be told what to do but I also wanted to know why to do it. This book is great for beginners. I found this copy at the second hand store, but they also have it on Amazon and at the store Half Priced Books.
Great place to start!
He also has a cook book to go along with it
Cooking the Real age way

This is one of   no this is my absolute favorite cookbook! I even bought a copy for my oldest to take with her to college. Martha is my girl ...  She covers it all from pizza dough to the perfect roast chicken to our favorite recipe Spaghetti 101 p.234, my book opens up right to it! :) Now, I know this is not a "health" book but cooking at home from scratch, is a part of being healthy. 
The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook
You have to admit magazines are fun. Not only do I love the beautiful photography, they are very portable. If you are short on time (like most of us) you can read these anywhere, in the car while waiting for kids, while waiting for an appointment, while you are on the elliptical, or like I do, while in the bath tub!!! Magazines are also up to date with the latest data and studies as they come out each month.

Whole Living, lots of recipes 

Health, Tips Tips Tips

Natural Health

Clean Eating, If you are really trying to eat clean this is a great publication.

 This is another one of those books for anyone just starting out. On each page he gives you a food choice then he show you what similar food choice you can have to be healthier.
Eat This, Not That
The Omnivore's Delemma

Micheal Pollan is one of my top go to guys, I first heard him on NPR. promoting this book. This is more of a real read not a recipe book but it is well worth reading.
Food Rules
He also has a more simple book called Food Rules, in that book he lays out easy to follow rules for learning how to make better choices. Each page has a "rule" and then a few paragraphs on why and how to implement each rule.

Example of one of his rules:
Rule 19 - If it came from a plant, eat it: if it was made in a plant, don't.

I highly recommend this book for newbies and for young people.

Now back to the picture at the top of this post, Giada's book: Weeknights with Giada. I was given this book for Mother's Day last year. (per my request) We do not eat any fast food so .......we need quick, healthy and yummy meals. This book has all 3! My 8yr old even makes some of the recipes.
Weeknights with Giada

I am looking forward to purchasing Jacques Pepin's Book: Fast Food My Way. I will let you know what I think, soon....

Well guys there you go, these are some of the printed resources, I use. Soon I will do a post about some of the e-sources that I use as well. 

Let me know what you think. Do you have a favorite cookbook or magazine?  Don't forget to follow me on Facebook. Thanks for reading!