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Grocery Shopping on a Budget

January 21, 2019
There’s no denying that, grocery shopping is a chore, and Americans often rate it as one of their least favorite weekly activities. Now grocery shopping on a tight budget, that’s even a bigger headache and challenge for millions of Americans. But it doesn’t have to be this way. For less than $5 dollars a day, the average person can receive all the nutrients they need for overall health. Below is a list of nutritious, budget friendly foods that can make your next shopping trip a little bit easier.

1) Whole wheat bread. Most people are afraid of eating bread these days, but they don’t have to be. Bread is more than just carbohydrates; it also can be a significant source of protein. Two slices of whole wheat bread can contain up to 2 ounces of protein (14 grams). Combine this with peanut butter or lean protein (turkey) and you have yourself a protein powerhouse sandwich. And whole wheat bread cost around 11 cents per slice.

2) Peanut butter. I just love this stuff and eat it regularly. It’s a good source of protein and vitamin E and costs about 12 cents per serving. I also love the versatility of peanut butter. Spread it on toast, dip carrots or apples in it for a tasty snack, or… if you adore Reese’s peanut butter cups like me, you can spread a teaspoon of peanut butter on a small piece of dark chocolate and make your very own homemade, lower calorie version of a Reese’s. It’s delicious!

3) Canned tuna. A protein powerhouse with a high amount of omega 3 fatty acids. It’s easily transportable and generally has a long shelf life. Canned tuna costs around 45 cents per serving and can be used to make tuna salad, added to casseroles for protein, or simply eaten by itself if that’s your thing.

4) Eggs. Hands down, eggs are the cheapest, and easiest way to get all your essential amino acids for the day. And at 16 cents per egg, they really are incredible. You can scramble them for dinner, eat them hard-boiled for snacks, make egg salad, or you can get even fancier in the kitchen by making a quiche or a frittata.

5) Pasta. Many people fear pasta these days. Again, this is unnecessary. Pasta, like whole wheat bread, is more than just carbohydrates. It also can contain a significant amount of protein per serving. It costs about 12 cents per serving, and can be used to make delicious soups, casseroles, or enjoyed traditionally as pasta with red sauce.

6) Spaghetti sauce. Most people are unaware, that cooked tomatoes contain more lycopene (a rich and powerful antioxidant) than raw tomatoes. It cost about 20 cents per serving so stock up on spaghetti sauce or have those mason jars and fresh tomatoes ready to make your own homemade delicious spaghetti sauce.

7) Rice. Costs about 10 cents per serving and is extremely versatile. It also pairs well with dried beans.

8) Dried Beans. You can easily consume 3-4 ounces of protein and a large amount of dietary fiber from a simple ½-1 cup portion of dried beans. They cost about 12 cents per serving and can be combined with vegetables and other dishes for satisfying meals.

9) Milk/Yogurt. Traditional cows milk will cost about 25 cents per serving and contain a full serving of calcium along with a decent amount of protein. Yogurt will cost a bit more than milk, however you receive the benefit of probiotics that help promote gut health. To save additional money, consider buying unsweetened yogurt as it often tends to be cheaper.

10) Fruits and Vegetables. Never feel bad about buying frozen fruit and vegetables. They often are higher in nutrients compared to fresh and are readily available throughout the year. To save money, also buy what produce is on sale that week as it tends to cost significantly less than the produce that isn’t on sale. Canned fruit and vegetables are also a solid option. For canned fruit, avoid purchasing any items with the word “syrup” on the can, and for canned vegetables feel free to rinse the vegetables in water to remove any additional sodium from preservation. If purchased wisely, fruits and vegetables can cost about 25 to 75 cents per serving.


Now ,this list is missing healthy items such as olive oil, salad dressings, and condiments as these items are also necessary and important for health and enjoyment. And I know that bag of chips or that box of cookies generally still finds its way into the shopping cart. However, I feel this list of 10 foods can be a good foundation to build a healthy diet from, while still being budget friendly. The cost of consuming all these foods while factoring in a 2,000 calorie diet comes out to being around $4.00 per day. And remember, portion sizes not only benefit the waistline, but also benefit your pocket book.

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Baked Butternut Squash Chips

January 27, 2018
Ingredients

• 1-large butternut squash
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Fresh or ground sage
• Fresh or ground rosemary
• Fresh or ground basil
• Grated parmesan cheese
• Salt
• Pepper

Instructions

1. Cut off the top of the squash and remove the peel

2. Slice the squash into thin chip like pieces using a mandolin or a knife. They should be about 1/8 inch thick

3. Boil a small pot of water. Place the chips in the boiling water for about 5-10 minutes

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

5. Pat chips dry with paper towel

6. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper

7. Spread the chips on the parchment paper

8. Coat the chips with extra virgin olive oil

9. Season with sage, rosemary, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper

10. Bake in the oven for 10-20 minutes depending on your oven

11. Remove from oven when crispy and add additional seasonings, as desired

12. Serve immediately and store leftovers in an sealed container






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Vegan Vegetable Soup

January 6, 2018
This delicious vegan vegetable soup is a excellent way to add volume and bulk to meals, without consuming a bunch of extra calories. Plus…it’s versatile and highly nutritious. Enjoy!


Ingredients:

• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 32oz. carton of vegetable broth. Buy an extra carton of broth in case you need extra.
• 1/2 of a red onion, diced
• 3 celery stalks, diced
• 3 medium carrots, diced
• 1 small head of broccoli, broken into florets
• 1 cup chopped tomatoes
• 2 cups spinach, de-stemmed and torn in pieces
• 6 stalks of asparagus
• 1 cup purple cabbage, chopped
• a handful of pea pods, any type, halved if large
• several mushrooms, sliced
• 1 teaspoon turmeric
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
• fine-grain sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

1. Heat olive oil in pan. Gently sauté the shallot and garlic for a few minutes until softened.
2. Add the broth to the pan, along with the onion, celery, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, and asparagus. Sauté for several minutes until vegetables are soft. Add the pea pods, purple cabbage, and mushrooms. Sauté a few minutes longer.
3. Add turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.
4. Add any extra water or broth if too much evaporates.
5. Pour into bowls and serve.

Recipe produces 6-8 servings



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Vegan Queso Dip

September 24, 2017
It’s game day, and who doesn’t love sitting in front of the TV, eating a big plate of nachos, while watching your favorite team attempt a victory? I know I love eating nachos, but what I don’t love is eating excessive calories and experiencing intestinal discomfort that sometimes happens from traditional nacho recipes containing large amounts of meat and cheese. I’m not vegan, but I wanted to create a vegan queso dip for my clients who are vegan, while also providing alternatives for anyone else who wants to “lighten up” their snacks or “think outside the box” from their traditional cuisine. This queso dip is not only delicious, but also versatile. If you’ve never tried vegan food, your first bite of this queso dip may taste a bit different, as vegan queso will have a slighter sweeter taste compared to dairy varieties. Different doesn’t necessarily mean bad or unappetizing…just interesting and unique. I hope you enjoy this queso dip and that you’re inspired to explore more vegan options in your diet.

Ingredients:

• 1 ½ cups raw salted cashews
• ½ cup + 1 Tablespoon tapioca flour
• 2/3 cup nutritional yeast
• 2 ½ cups unsweetened cashew or almond milk
• 3 Tablespoons avocado oil
• 1/3 cup lemon juice
• 4 Tablespoons pickle juice
• 1 Tablespoon white miso paste
• 2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
• 3 teaspoons onion powder
• 2 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric
• 2 tablespoons garlic powder
• 1 teaspoon ground sea salt
• 5-6 drops of stevia glycerite. May add more if prefer a sweeter taste
• 1-4.5oz can of mild green chilies
• 1-10oz can of mild Rotel
• Dash of cayenne pepper if you desire a spicier queso dip
• Fresh cilantro for garnish

Instruction:

1. Fill a medium sized saucepan with water. Bring the water to a boil on the stove over medium heat. Add in the cashews and cook for 10-15 minutes or until softened. To avoid cooking the cashews they can be soaked in water overnight.

2. While the cashews are cooking, add the remaining ingredients (minus the green chilies, Rotel, and cilantro) to a high-powered blender.

3. Drain the cooked cashews in a strainer to remove excess fluid

4. Add the cashews to the blender. Blend the queso on high for about 1 minute. It’s normal for the queso to look watery at this point.

5. Add the queso to a large saucepan or small stockpot and place on the stove over medium heat. Heat queso throughout while stirring regularly to avoid burning. The queso will go from watery to a clumpy appearance, and then smooth. When the queso resembles the look of cheese sauce, you will be finished.

6. Stir in the green chilies and the Rotel. Place queso on tortilla chips and serve immediately. Garnish with fresh cilantro, a dash of cayenne pepper, or any other desired toppings.

7. The remaining queso can be stored in a jar and kept in the fridge for up to a week. It reheats well and tastes great on potatoes and other vegetables.

8. If you desire a sweeter taste, you can add a few more drops of stevia glycerite. Some people also prefer to add more salt to the recipe.





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