- Shopping with a list helps resist impulse buying.
- When buying produce by weight buy exactly what you need. If you don't need the whole bunch of carrots, radishes etc. just take what you need. If you only need half of the head of cabbage ask an employee to cut it for you. (This only works when produce is sold by weight.)
- When buying produce that ripens quickly, such as avocados, bananas, peaches etc. buy some that are ripe and some that all almost ripe.
- Don't be afraid to buy produce that is not perfect looking. If you have grown your own produce you know it doesn't always have a perfect shape but that doesn't effect the flavor.
- Know how much produce equates to a cup, 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup. Check out my cooking conversion chart here.
- Put a list on the refrigerator (or another centrally located site). Keep track of items when you run out of them by writing them down as you use them. Write down anything you may need from meal planning.
- Menu planning can be complicated, but it will save you time and money. To make it easier, ask your family what they want for lunch and dinner for the following week, then post a menu of what you will be making for the week on the refrigerator. Everyone will know what's for dinner and you will know what you need at the store.
- If you don't like eating leftovers, make sure you only prepare what you will eat at meal time. Click here recommended for serving sizes.
- If you find yourself throwing things away because you haven't used it all or forgot it was there, buy less and shop more often.
- Don't be afraid to freeze food before it goes bad. Click here for tips on freezing produce.
- Make soups, salads or broths from any extra produce.
- Know what the use by, sell by and best by dates by clicking here.
Have you read the articles that 40% of food is wasted every year? The average family of four wastes between $1370-$2275 annually. Here are some tips that will help you save money and help you stop adding to the food waste problem. For more information on Food Waste click here.
It can be difficult to figure out how much to buy of an ingredient when it is sold by the pound or quantity but the recipe calls for 1/2 cup. Here is a chart to help you figure out how much of an ingredient you will need to purchase saving you from throwing out unused food.
I hope these conversion tables help those of you from around the world that follow my recipe website and tip blog.
Oven Temperature Conversions
US to Metric Measurement Conversions
When buying a fresh pineapple, choose one that has firm, gold to brown skin (not too green) with green, loose leaves. A ripe pineapple blushes yellow and smells fruity. Don't buy pineapple that is spongy, brown and discolored. You should be able to gently pull on the center leaf in the crown, if it comes out easily, it's ripe.
To successfully cut a pineapple use a sharp serrated knife.
Cutting off the ends
Cut off about 1/2-inch of the leafy top and trim about 1/2-inch off the bottom of the pineapple.
Cutting the pineapple in half
Stand the pineapple up, using either the cut bottom or top as a base, and cut the pineapple in half.
Quartering the pineapple
Cut the fruit lengthwise into quarters.
Removing the core
Remove the woody core by slicing along each quarter.
Cutting quarterers in half
Cut each quarter in half lengthwise.
Slicing the skin off
Keeping your hand and fingers out of the way from the knife, carefully slice the outer skin off.
Slicing pineapple into cubes
Now, slice the sections into chunks.
Fresh pineapple cubes
Enjoy your fresh pineapple!
The term "processed foods" usually refers to foods that are altered from their natural state. Processed foods often contain additives, artificial flavorings and other chemical ingredients and are sold in boxes, jars, cans, bottles and bags. Avoid processed foods and base your diet on whole food to get the most nutrition and maximize your health.
According to Melanie Warner, the author of the new book, 'Pandora's Lunchbox.' "It basically started 100 years ago. Nobody set out to dominate the American diet, to make everything we're eating so highly processed and so highly technical -- it was a gradual revolution."
There are estimated to be about 5,000 different additives that are allowed to go into our food, but as Melanie explains, "The FDA doesn't actually know how many additives are going into our food. This is in part because regulations are not only self-regulatory -- so the food industry is doing the testing -- but it's also voluntary. The ingredient companies don't actually have to tell the FDA about a new ingredient. If they choose to, they can simply just launch it into the market. The FDA doesn't know about them, and nobody else really knows about them."
To find out how processed a food is ask yourself, could I make this packaged food at home using the ingredients listed on the package? How would you even find polydextrose which is found in low-calorie salad dressings and baked goods or butylated hydroxytoluene found in cereal, potato chips and chewing gum?
Processed food range from minimally to heavily processed:
When buying processed foods, choose minimally and moderately processed foods instead of substantially and heavily processed ones.
I read a very interesting article the other day in Mother Jones written by Moises Velasquez-Manoff titled Are Happy Gut Bacteria Key to Weigh Loss? The article is less about weight loss and more about how the microbes in our bodies change by eating over processed foods that are so prevalent in today's eating meals.
The imbalance of the microbes in your intestine might effect your metabolism. This can have an effect on your weight and overall health. Studies done by Dr. Paresh Dandona show that eating fast food causes inflammation in your body. Chronic, low-grade inflammation can lead to diseases such as: diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. Eating foods rich in vitamin C provide an anti-inflamatory effect, so eating foods rich in vitamin C can shield your metabolism and provide an anti-inflammatory effect.
This is a very interesting article that I highly recommend.
Click here to read the article in Mother Jones.
Halibut Encrusted with Almonds
Here are more foods that have a lot of nutrients relative to the number of calories. These are foods you should try to add to your meal planning. For Part 1 click here.
Here is a recipe your kids can help you with. They can shell the nuts, measure them and with supervision blend the nuts.
Making your own nut butter so easy you will be wondering why you haven't made it before. All you need is nuts; peanuts, almonds or cashews all work wonderfully. You can also add a very small amount of peanut oil, a pinch of sea salt, some honey, or a touch of chocolate. Add the extra ingredients right along with the peanuts and blend.
3 cups (about 24 oz.) roasted nuts, shelled peanuts, almonds or cashews
optional ingredients: oil, sea salt, honey, sesame seeds, chocolate, etc.
1 tablespoon serving size:
Calories 103, Fat 0.9g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 3mg,
Carbohydrates 2.9g, Fiber 1.6g, Sugars 0.7g, Protein 4.7g
There is a new label coming to grocery stores that will make shopping for healthier options much easier. NuVal is a food labeling system developed by independent nutrition and medical experts. Food is scored on a scale of 1-100. The higher the score the more nutritious the food. The labels will be on the shelf right along with the price per unit tags. They will allow you to quickly identify which foods are more nutritious. The scores are the product of a patent pending algorithm that take into consideration over 30 nutrients and nutrient factors. Basically it takes the good nutrients and subtracts the bad nutrients to determin the nutrient value of the food.
For more information about the NuVal label or to find out if the labels are in use at a store near you, click the link to the NuVal website.
Perfect Brown Rice
I know a lot of people who tried making brown rice and were so discouraged they gave up trying to include it in their diet. Here is an uncomplicated way to make perfect, fluffy brown rice every time. It takes about an hour to make so, I like to double or triple the amount I need and freeze the rest to make quick meals later.
Follow these tips on making and storing perfect, fluffy brown rice.
This perfect brown rice recipe is adapted from Saveur.
If you love the convenience of pre-cooked frozen rice, here is how to do it yourself.