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Author: ElizabethGorostiza

A foolproof way to stop stressing and save money on food

The Food Marketing Institute has recently reported that 71% of us are cooking at home more often these days. That means more people are sitting in rush hour traffic rummaging through their cupboards and fridge in their minds, trying to figure out what’s for dinner.

Naturally, home cooking has fewer calories and more nutritional value than restaurant meals but are you maximizing your savings or adding to your stress when you eat at home?

The average household wastes 14% of the food they buy due to poor planning and wastage. If you spend $100 a week on groceries, 14% is the equivalent of three homemade gourmet lunches.

By planning your meals you only shop for the fresh items you need for the week, thus reducing wastage and worry. Any extra portions can be labelled with the date and frozen right after you make them so they avoid becoming funky experiments in the back of the fridge.

When you plan meals, make sure to include enough foods from each food group, with special attention to fresh vegetables and fruits for every meal as well as snacks. Always keep an eye out for sales on grain products like rice, pasta and couscous and oats so you can stock up and have them as staples for every meal.

Frozen fish, frozen vegetables and even frozen fruit are also good to keep on hand for quick entrees, side dishes and smoothies when you haven’t had a chance to buy fresh ingredients.

Meat is definitely the most costly mealtime staple but re-thinking how you use it can be better for your wallet and your waistline. With books like In Defence of Food by Michael Pollan, it’s becoming increasingly popular to think of meat as a condiment for vegetables as opposed to the meal’s focal point.

Diversify your cooking skills and learn techniques to stretch your food dollar. For instance, braising or slow cooking cheaper cuts of meat is an easy way to save on meat. Or, better yet, swap out meat for lentils and other beans once or twice a week for even greater savings – and health benefits. Soups, casseroles and salads are all great ways to pepper in a little meat instead of serving it in one big chunk.

The benefits of meal planning are numerous and getting started is surprisingly simple. All you need to do is jot down your meals before you go grocery shopping, know what you have on hand, and write out your shopping list so you buy only what you need. To expedite this process consider enlisting the help of professional menu planners (aka nutritionist) who can take the planning off your plate while teaching you the basics.

In the meantime make sure you sign up and receive your Free Cookbook for additional ideas.

NEW Delicious & Easy Ways to Enjoy Vegetables

From a health standpoint, vegetables are an unbeatable food: naturally nutrient-rich; better tasting than a vitamin pill; low in calories; high in fiber and packed with disease-fighting phytonutrients. All types of vegetables can be nourishing and delicious – fresh, frozen, canned and juiced.

To maximize your health with vegetables, nutrition experts suggest at least 3 to 5 servings per day – but why stop there? With so many ways to enjoy springtime goodness, you could easily eat vegetables at breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Here are a dozen daily ways to treat yourself to good health!

  • Asparagus: Sauté in olive oil with garlic and a hit of lemon zest for a refreshing and seasonal dish. Roasted asparagus is a great finger food for snacking on!
  • Broccoli and cauliflower: Versatile and very healthful – eat them raw (with dip if  you like) or cooked, in a salad or even a slaw.
  • Carrots: Sweet, crunchy, good for your teeth, eyes and heart! Perfect raw (as a snack or salad) or cooked in a stew.
  • Peppers: Green, red, yellow, orange or even purple! Enjoy peppers in a salad, stir-fry, or casserole or as a snack.
  • Spinach: A salad of baby spinach leaves with pears or apples can turn anyone into a real spinach lover.
  • Onions: The zesty onion family (scallions, leeks and garlic, too!) offers some powerful antioxidant nutrients.
  • Peas: Fresh, frozen or even canned, peas are a treat to eat and they are very popular with small children.
  • Beets: If you’ve never liked beets, try them in a new way – like roasted, grilled or lightly steamed in the microwave. They increase inflammation-fighting nitric oxide.
  • Mushrooms: Just a mushroom or two adds rich flavor to a casserole, soup, stew, stir-fry or even a tossed green salad.
  • Leaf and romaine lettuce: Rule of thumb for a healthy salad – the darker green or red the lettuce leaves, the more nutrients you get.
  • Green, yellow or purple beans: Like their pea ‘cousins,’ beans offer some fiber and a little bit of protein, along with vitamins and minerals.
  • Tomatoes: Cooking increases the availability of some tomato nutrients – so enjoy canned sauce, paste and chunks

 

Many people don’t eat vegetables until dinner. Make a commit to your health – Check off the new ways you want to try to enjoy more veggies during the day:

I can add vegetables at breakfast by: 

□ Adding vegetables like spinach, mushrooms, onion, green or red peppers to an omelet

I can add vegetables at lunch and snack by:

□ Adding leafy greens, cucumber, or peppers to sandwiches

□ Adding different vegetables to a green salad, like broccoli, green beans, asparagus or peas

□ Adding a bag of sugar snap peas, carrots, peppers, celery and/or zucchini sticks to my snack

□ Adding extra vegetables to soup

□ Choosing kale chips or nori instead of potato chips

 

 

7 Tips (and tools) on how to stay on a diet and still eat out

Eating out does not have to derail your weight loss efforts. Being prepared and having a strategic plan will allow you to eat out at almost any restaurant and still stay on track.

TIP 1 – Plan ahead: Most restaurants have their menus online and some even have the nutritional info posted (chains mostly). Go online, search for the nutrition information of the restaurant you want to go to, and plan out your choices. Popular restaurants that have all their nutrition facts posted online include Starbucks, Panera Bread, Au Bon Pain, Cosi, Hale and Hearty, Pizza Hut, Chipotle, The Keg, Milestones, Montana’s, Boston Pizza and more.

http://caloriecount.about.com/restaurants-mc1 – This website also has a pretty broad listing of restaurants and their menu item nutrition facts.

If you want the low-down on nutrition information for menu items, The Economist ran a great commentary on the issue as it pertains to New York when in first hit the fan in 2011. [ embed link http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2011/07/menu-labelling ]

Once you arrive:

TIP 2- Drink please! Try ordering a warm drink first thing such as hot water with some fresh lemon slices. You’ll be surprised how this warm calming drink can fill you up and soothe the craving/hunger beast. Herbal tea is also a great option while coffee tends to throw off blood sugar levels and may lead to cravings and bad decisions later on.

TIP 3 – Be an assertive orderer: Don’t be afraid to modify the menu. Trust me, in this age of “nutritionism”, waiters are used to it. Ask questions and know the terminology. Grilled, steamed, broiled, boiled and baked are fine but beware of terms such as creamy, smothered, lightly breaded, deep fried.   Ask for sauces on the side and leave out the fries/rice/pasta/potatoes that usually come with the main and ask for extra veggies instead (most restaurants are happy to do this).

TIP 4 – Start with soup or salad: both can be filling and satisfying. Order the dressing on the side and dip your fork lightly in the dressing before every forkful. Stay with non-creamy soups. Ask the server if dairy is added that will let you know if they add cream or cheese or even butter (you can even tell your server that you are lactose intolerant to make sure they don’t add cream, butter or cheese)

TIP 5 – Appetizers as the main course: Try ordering from the appetizer menu if you don’t find anything you want on the main menu such as grilled calamari ,caprese salad, or shrimp cocktail. Saves calories with smaller portions and is less expensive.

TIP 6- Liquor Control: Alcohol can stimulate hunger so never drink on an empty stomach (really throws off blood sugar) and try to follow the 1:1 rule; follow a glass of wine with a full glass of water. Even try to cut the wine with ½ club soda or Perrier in a wine Spritzer or mix vodka with soda water.

TIP 7 – Portion Control/Leftovers for the next day: Most restaurants provide huge portions-take a look at the size of the plate or bowl! Eyeball your serving size (palm of your hand) and divide your portion accordingly. Make a mental note to have the rest packed-up for home, or, better yet, ask the waiter for a to-go container and box it up right away. Bonus: Less for you to cook the next day.

The smart phone world is still trying to stay on top of restaurant nutrition. There are a few good apps out there, but they need constant updating. Here are a few free ones that are worth trying, just to get a sense of what your waistline is up against:

https://itunes.apple.com/app/restaurant-nutrition/id285180322?mt=8 – Restaurant Nutrition by Foundation HealthCare

Network

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.unifiedlifestyle.rn&hl=en – Restaurant Nutrition by Unified Lifestyle

http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/755/?countrycode=CA – Calorie Count Nutrition Search by Calorie Count