Welcome to Week 2!
I hope you were able to incorporate lots of fruits and veggies into your week last week. Each weeks challenge is separate from the last. If you choose to continue eating 2 fruits and veggies with each meal that’s terrific! Even we have a hard time maintaining that expectation!
The challenge was more for you to see how little fruits/veggies you and your family were really getting and how easy it is to replace the chips with a salad or fruit. If you start incorporating a fruit or veggie with each meal you can see how quickly and easy it is to get more into your diet.
So…. onto the next!
This week’s challenge is to:
Start going through your pantry and reading labels. Notice the ingredients and familiarize yourself with the hard to pronounce words. Also start noticing the amount of non-fat and low-fat items in your fridge and pantry.
Buy at least 4-5 alternatives this week for those items.
I’ve been blessed to be able to stay home with my kids since 2008, but before that I used to work full time and remember vividly getting 2 children under the age of 2 out the door to daycare before 7 am! The diapers, food, formula, extra clothes …. all of that! I also remember coming home and having either no clue what I was going to make or have convenience type foods that make spending time in the kitchen minimal.
I can also say it has only been within the last year that I stopped that ‘convenience’ type of shopping. (Update: this was first written in 2012). Supermarkets make it very difficult to stay focused as they get bigger and bigger by the day. The market was started so people didn’t have to go to the farmers market, the butcher, the seafood store, and the liquor store just to get a meal on the table. The market was smaller with fresh produce, some meat and dairy.
Today’s SUPERmarket is something entirely different. Staying on the outside perimeter is more difficult than it sounds as you have to venture in the middle at some point.
Although I have been home for a few years now I found I was still shopping with that ‘convenience’ mindset. Boxed noodles, canned cream soups, frozen chicken patties, crackers, cookies, chips, non organic fruits and dairy. So now that I was ABLE to spend more time in the kitchen and make better healthier meals was I really?
Sure I’d make mashed potatoes from scratch instead of instant (woo hoo!). But I was using potatoes sprayed with pesticides and milk with rBGH in it. I’d make chicken breaded with Ritz crackers. Or how about this one? Frozen fish sticks with Rice a roni and canned carrots? Now THERE’S a healthy meal for ya!!!
I’m sure you’re getting the idea. And it’s ok if you’ve done the same thing too. So let’s try and get out of this bad old habit of ours.
This week what I want you to do is start looking at your pantry. Take a picture of it, warts and all. Post it if you like because there will be many changes in that pantry in the coming weeks.
WHAT TO FOCUS ON:
If you’re anything like me I used to focus on the nutrition portion of the label, the calories, the fat, the sodium. And while all those things are important, they aren’t nearly as important as the ingredients on the label, especially the first 5 ingredients.
For example, The first ingredient in the El Paso taco seasoning is Maltodextrin. It isn’t even a spice!!
That’s what this weeks challenge is going to show you. The difference in one seasoning to another, or one peanut butter to another or one bread to another. I’m sure what you are going to find this week will SHOCK you!!
When preparing your shopping list for this week and you are going to replenish certain items, take a look at:
- your cereals
- your beverages (especially sports drinks and juice boxes)
- your condiments
- your cookies
- your crackers
As you are becoming familiar with the labels some of the ingredients I want you to be on the lookout for are:
- HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) – Read the blog post “High Fructose Corn Syrup” for more info along with a detailed list of foods that don’t contain them.
- MSG (mono sodium glutomate) – Read the blog post ” MSG” for more info
- Carageenan – Read the blog post “Carageenan” to find out what it is and where to find it in your foods
and any other 13 letter words you might find along the way!
Here are some common products that may be in your pantry or freezer right now that contain HFCS. Take a look at some of the alternatives for ideas in some of the choices you can make this week.
|Category||Foods with HFCS||Alternatives|
|Soda should be eliminated from your diet completely in my opinion
Water with lemon or fruit
|Bread||Even whole wheat and whole grain breads have HFCS as their top ingredient||I have combed the shelves of my supermarkets and the bad news is I couldn't find any bread worth naming as an altermative. We have stopped purchasing store breads now and only buy from our local bakery|
|Cereals/Breakfast||Most brands by Kelloggs, GM and Post||Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Crunch
Kashi Island Vanilla
|Cookies||Oreos, Choc Chip, the list is endless really||Make your own|
|Condiments||Heinz & Hunts Ketchups|
|Heinz was making Simply Heinz which is getting harder to find
Make your own
Annies Organic Yellow Mustard
|Crackers||Ritz, Townhouse, Club||Triscuits
Marys Gone Crackers
TJ Savory Thins (my fav!)
Mi-Del Graham crackers
|Dairy||some coffee creamers||Organic creamer|
|Frozen||Breyers Ice Cream|
|Haagen Daas Natural Vanilla
Make your own
|Kids Foods||Applesauce||Motts All Natural
Make your own applesauce
|Yogurt||Nearly ALL Yoplait and Dannon, especially colored GoGurts||Stonyfield Organic
Fage Total Greek
Avoid low fat and non fat yogurts as they are sweetened with sucralose and aspartame
Look for "live and active cultures"
Good luck with this week’s challenge and, as always, feel free to share your comments below to inspire others who are committing to putting their health above the big corporations pocketbooks!