Aisles of the Grocery Store

As a general rule of thumb, the perimeter of a grocery store has healthier, fresher, and less processed food items.  Most foods – some still have hidden sugars like pre-made salad dressings and sauces – are healthy and fresh.

The middle aisles carry more processed foods such as chips, crackers, packaged cookies, condiments which tend to be high in sodium.  These typically contain preservatives which are a chemical or additives to keep them on the shelves longer – shelf stable products to last longer.1

Although, not all middle aisles are bad.  There are whole grain pastas, rice, canned and dried beans, canned tomato products (just watch out for sodium), broth and stock, nuts, seeds, spices, seasonings – still being essential grocery items.2

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One Pot Dishes or Casseroles

Some of my favorite dishes to make are one pot wonders and casseroles.  Every ingredient is in one spot – protein, starch, vegetable.  You could still make a side dish or large salad, but every component of a meal is in one pot!  One of the best parts is there’s only one dish to clean up!  Aside from the cutting board, knife, and utensils.  Plus these dishes make for great leftovers and to take for quick lunches.  Be sure to pack a lot of flavors, herbs, spices, protein, fat, and carbs into the dishes to keep you full and going!  One pot dishes and meals are so homey and warm, making you feel good while still loading up on healthy ingredients.  

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Shred Chicken Easily

Two ways: stand mixer or two forks

The quickest and most efficient way to shred chicken is in a stand mixer, such as a Kitchen Aid.  First, bake chicken or poach/simmer in a pot for about 20-25 minutes, then while hot, add to a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Turn on and let the machine do the work for you!  (Cook chicken until internal temperature 165 F.)  You will have beautiful shredded chicken you can use for many meals – like in my post Batch Cook Proteins For More Meals

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Flavor Up Your Water

Infused water – add flavor to your water to enhance and look fancy!  This also can add vitamins and minerals, while making for yummy snacks after the water is gone.  Refrigerate your flavored water overnight or the morning of.  One of my favorite things to do is freeze ice cubes with a berry and/or mint in each cube compartment.  Also freeze straight lemon or orange juice to add to water or sparkling beverages.  Have fun with it!!  

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National Grilled Cheese Day

National Grilled Cheese Day April 12th – I’ve been celebrating now 4 years with different breads and cheeses.  I usually serve this with the classic tomato soup or a different flavored soup.  A very cozy comforting lunch or dinner.  

I’ve made sandwiches with whole wheat bread, sourdough, colby and pepper jack cheeses, and brie.  Along with different fillings and sauces such as caramelized onions, balsamic leek jam, garlic herb butter, and spinach.  Another option is to set up a grilled cheese sandwich bar with a variety of breads, cheeses, spreads, vegetables, toppings, butter, etc.  This is really fun for a small party where you can cook the sandwiches on a griddle, large skillet, or in the oven. 

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Variety of Flours

There are so many different types of flour, all with specific names.  What is the difference?  The most common type is all purpose flour (unbleached and bleached) you can use universally.  Great for baking, thickening sauces or soups, breakfast foods, making pastas and homemade bread, etc.  I set out to find out all the differences on flour – specifically wheat flour – no gluten free and nut flours (I’ll save that for a different post)!

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Batch Cook Proteins for More Meals

Cook a larger batch of a main protein, such as chicken or beef, to make multiple meals with.  Keep the seasonings neutral or simple  salt and pepper.  A super easy meal that can be made in batches and kept in the refrigerator or freezer are soups – use almost any protein cut up or sliced.

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Swap Proteins to Try Healthier Dishes

Many different types of proteins can be substituted whether it be for health, flavor, or availability.  Trying new proteins, especially lean proteins can decrease your intake of fats and salt while still achieving great flavors.  Explore new options and recipes; I know I’m always researching how I can change a recipe or create a new one with ingredients I have!  Many recipes you can easily change the main protein while still using the same seasonings and marinades.  Also, changing the form of cooking such as using the grill, smoker, oven, stovetop, or braising pot can alter the flavors and textures.

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Vitamin A – Nutrition Month

Vitamin A is the fourth fat soluble vitamin in the series.  Fat soluble means that the body stores this for later use, mainly kept in the liver.  This vitamin is found in food sources such as in animal products and plant foods – dairy, liver, fish, fruits, vegetables, and oils.  Think of foods in the orange and yellow color family.

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Vitamin K – Nutrition Month

Vitamin K is found in two sources: green leafy vegetables; in some animal foods and fermented food

Helps to make some proteins that are needed to build bones (osteocalcin) and blood clotting (prothrombin).  This vitamin is absorbed in the small intestine and stored in fatty tissue and the liver.  Also found in the liver, brain, heart, pancreas, and bone.

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