We’re working on reining in the grocery budget a bit, which has me thinking a lot about what things I buy regularly and which of those are “must haves” versus the occasional treat. Last night, my husband went to Sam’s without a list and when he was telling me about the things he purchased, lots of the things he got like Greek yogurt were because “we always need that.” It was nice to see that our healthier habits have become so ingrained. 🙂 Of course, he didn’t tell me about the case of hard cider he bought, the two jugs of V8, the chocolate chips, etc – those aren’t standards.
- Greek yogurt: We always have both the little cups (usually the Light n’ Fit coffee flavor or a light fruit flavor) and a big tub of plain yogurt. We use plain yogurt all the time, both as a base for fruit in a dessert or breakfast and as a substitute for sour cream in savory dishes. My husband isn’t yet entirely on board with Greek yogurt on his chili instead of sour cream, but he does love the Greek yogurt as a base for ranch dip for carrots.
- Edamame: Oliver and I both LOVE edamame. We always have frozen edamame on hand for snacks or to stir into stir fries, salads, etc. I usually take two of the little Dora edamame pouches to work because they thaw during the day in my bag and make a very handy snack, especially when I’m driving a lot during the day and need something that is easy to eat in the car.
- Fruit: We’ve cut back on our fruit consumption, just because I used to eat way too much at night, but we still go through a lot! Our favorites, for budget and taste and longevity reasons, are apples, bananas and grapes. All three can usually be found for a reasonable price at my grocery store and have a reasonable shelf life. I usually toss a couple of apples in my lunch bag because they travel well. If we let a banana go too long and get too brown for anyone to eat, we toss them in the freezer for smoothies in the future.
- Light bread: I like the Sara Lee light oatmeal bread or Orowheat’s sandwich thins. We use the light bread for sandwiches and the sandwich thins as pizza crusts or bases for tuna melts. We always have both on hand. It’s important to point out that a big part of the benefit of these, neither of which are “whole” foods by any stretch of the imagination, is that they’re not good enough to be a binge trigger for me. As someone who has to be VERY careful with bread, these are safe to have in my pantry.
- Eggs: Eggs are a go to for breakfast and dinner in our house. Oliver LOVES scrambled eggs – they were the first thing he learned to cook (with close supervision) and I could (and DO) eat eggs for any meal of the day. They’re a great protein source and a great way to sneak in extra veggies in scrambles or omelets. We’re dreading the price increase that is coming this year in eggs thanks to illness in the bird flocks. 😦
- Beans: Canned beans and dry beans are a constant presence in our pantry and grocery basket. We’re working on eating more meatless meals and beans can make a great, filling, non-meat protein source in your diet. Oliver loves beans and for a while when he wasn’t eating meat at all, they were our go-to protein source. He’ll happily tell you that beans have protein and fiber. 🙂 In most dishes where I would traditionally use ground meat of some kind, I substitute at least half of the meat in the original recipe for beans of some kind to lighten the calorie and fat load, as well as increasing the fiber. Definitely try it out!
The veggies we buy tends to vary based on what’s on the dinner menu and what we’re getting in our CSA bag for the week (currently loads of green beans, which would be good except my nutty kid only likes the canned green beans at school). Of course, we also usually pick up milk and almond milk and are never without my beloved PB2. If I can keep my grocery basket on the healthy side, it makes things SO much easier at home. After all, if I say NO to something in the grocery store, I only have to say no once. If I bring an unhealthy option home, I have to say no to every time I go in the pantry and that is MUCH harder.
In keeping with my goal to weigh in every week and get back on track weight-wise, I’m happy to report that my weight is down to 180.0 this morning (down over 6 pounds in the last two weeks) and my body fat is 25.9%, down from 27.5% in the same time frame. Definitely moving in the right direction again!
What things are always on your grocery list? Do you tend to vary your breakfasts and lunch a lot? In the National Weight Control Registry studies, they found that long term maintainers tend not to vary their options much. That makes sense in some ways, in that fewer choices mean fewer chances to make high calorie choices, but I think I would get bored with that. In the summer, I tend to do sandwiches for lunch but now that fall is here I’m loving making big pots of soup on the weekend that I can take for lunch all week. This week, it’s been a ratatouille-inspired soup with chickpeas – Yum!