Do you become overwhelmed in the supermarket? Is shopping healthy your new priority but you don’t know where to start? Do you know someone that wants to lose weight, and wants to feel better? Are you confused as to where to start?
In this blog, I will go over breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas to shop for on your next supermarket run. I not only want to help you make yummy quick meals!
I have some big rules that I follow.
#1 Please don’t think I came up with this overnight. It took years to figure these techniques out. I am just trying to save you the aggravation. In this blog, I will not go over a lot of specifics in terms of manufacturers, but rather will discuss main ideas and objectives so you can use them at any market you frequent.
#2 I get most of my produce organic. If there are options between organic and not, I will always buy organic.
#3 To save time on shopping, I will buy in quantity, especially if the product can be stored in a pantry or frozen. So, that means things like rice pasta, rice or frozen berries will be bought in larger quantities then let’s say fresh berries that only last a couple days. I have a pipeline going and cook up the things that spoil, first.
#4 I usually plan on using up my freshest ingredients that have a short shelf life and then freeze it if I can. Then, I go through the rest of the product. Vegetables like squash, potatoes, and onions I also buy in bigger quantities as they can be stored in a cool place for longer periods of time.
#5 I rarely go down the center of the store. I focus more on the produce section than anything. I try not to depend on processed foods as much as possible.
#6 I let the produce aisle determine what I make for meals rather then me determining. That ensures I use a variety of fruits and vegetables. I base the meal around the produce. If I do this, it means I always have what I need.
I love smoothies. They are quick and easy and very, very satisfying. To make smoothies, you will need a base fruit and berries. Most people love bananas, but if you don't, you can also look for mangoes or frozen mangoes.
In my smoothies, I use bananas, berries, and greens. It is important for me to buy “organic” greens and berries. They are two of the most pesticide-laden products. Most stores now have protein powders. I make sure I get one that is made by a reputable company. I make sure the product is vegan, otherwise, they may use any part of any animal. Any dairy that is in these powders will be processed, so I avoid anything that says milk, dairy or whey.
I buy bananas by the dozens. I get them in all phases of green and yellow. I wait until they ripen and then peel and stick them in a ziplock bag. I put them in the freezer and always have them on hand. This is something great to do in quantity.
In terms of juices, I watch to get the freshest and least chemical-laden. That means if they have a juicer in the store, I will buy it. I might also buy juice if it has been bottled a couple of hours before. But, if it is a juice from a big company, that has been shipped across the country, I do not buy it. Also, if it has ingredients that are not the “juice.” I do not buy it.
I buy gluten-free oatmeal and granola and have occasionally. I will at times buy cereals too. Mostly, they are gluten-free and in the natural health section. Know that commercial cereals are laden with sugar and chemicals. All of these ingredients set you up for hunger and cravings later in the day. For me, what I eat for breakfast determines how I feel the rest of the day. I believe they really do damage to your system and give you a bloated belly. These cereals can also cause digestive issues later.
As far as a morning drink, most are comfortable with tea or coffee. I drink a tea called yerba mate. I drink this as it not only gives me my wanted energy boost, but also gives me incredible brain focus and health benefits.
Do you use creamer? Remember to not use regular creamers if you are wanting the best feeling in the morning, and by all means, stay away from the flavored and sugared creamers. These products lead to an over production of phlegm and congestion as well as weight gain. You might have seen almond, coconut, hemp or rice milk in your grocery aisles, and those are great for cereals and oatmeal. but I encourage you to look in the cold section for a non-dairy creamer like a coconut "creamer."
If you are looking for items that are "grab and go." Look for cups of soup that are from vegan companies like Dr Praeger. They have great options. Most brands that offer "cups of soup" are really laden with salt, MSG, and flavorings that will set you off and increase cravings further into your day. They will also leave you inflamed and possibly with a feeling of irritability.
These are pretty good options and would be choices to have waiting for you in your desk when you're at work, or you forgot lunch or didn't have time to bring your lunch that day.
I mostly do leftovers for lunch. I will make large pots of soup or chili, freeze it and then take it for a lunch option. If I do not have time to make beans from scratch, I will get some canned ones. For canned beans, go for the organic options and rinse well before you add it to your cooking. The rinsing will cut down on the gas.
A lot of markets now have salad bars. This is perfect for lunch. Stay away from the bottled dressings and go more for the olive oil and vinegar. All of the fresh veggies will be better than the ones that are cooked and/or marinated due to the amount of oil they contain.
Need a bottled drink for lunch? Need that pick me up? Be careful as so many of those bottled drinks are laden with sugar, colorings and preservatives. We suggest making your own iced tea with some yerba mate tea bags and either bringing it in your own bottle to work or using a thermal cup.
Chili is great for lunch because you can basically add it to anything. So, if I have leftover rice or potatoes, I can add some chili that I made and froze a month earlier.
If you are into nut butters like peanut or almond butter, make sure you get natural brands that do not have any added ingredients like sugar or denatured oils. Most major companies have nut butters that are shelf stable and will last for years. And, while you might have thought that was ok, it actually is a sign that preservatives have been added.
While I am all about sticking to plant based meals, I do know that a lot of people are still transitioning and need a bit of animal protein. If this is you, buy whole or real protein, stay away from lunch meats like bologna or other over salted and preserved meats.
I want to point out that for dinner, I am mostly "putting things together" rather than cooking from scratch. Since I usually work until 5, I can not cook an entire meal then as I wouldn't get to eat until 8 pm. So, dinner is when I pull rice, soup, or salad that I have already prepped.
We do a ton of potatoes for lunch or dinner. I try to get organic when I can and I buy in bulk. Since potatoes last a while, I keep them in our basement and buy a lot of them to save on times that I go to the market.
At times, I use frozen veggies. I buy them organic, which is usually a cheaper option than fresh, and I also make sure that there are no added ingredients. I will use them in soups or stir fry.
Organic canned tomatoes and tomato paste are not ideal, but great in a pinch and to have them on hand for soups. I also buy a lot of rice noodles like Thai noodles or Japanese noodles. I have never been a fan of "fake" or "gluten free" regular pasta. Throwing these noodles in a bowl and then ladling on a few scoops of soup, or tossing them in at the end of a stir fry makes a fabulous and yummy meal.
I always will buy greens that are organic. If there are no organic greens, I don't buy it. That is because greens as well as berries are some of the most pesticide-ridden items. So, I really stay away. If there is bagged organic lettuce, I will get some as it is a great way to make a fast salad. Throw the greens in a bowl and then shave some carrots in it and other veggies. This is a quick way to get some extra greens.
Whatever meal you're having the greens are super important a good source of protein and fiber. The main problem I have seen with salads are the bottled dressings. Be careful with pre-made dressings as they contain ingredients like sugar, dairy, and denatured oils. All of those ingredients will kick up hunger and cravings.
Dressings are actually quite simple to make and so much better for you. Use an organic extra virgin olive oil and some apple cider vinegar, mix in some fresh garlic and sea salt and you have an incredible mix of flavors. You can also play around with adding mustard or basil or other herbs to make it even better.
I love the company Bragg's and think anything from them is superclean. They have dressings, soy sauce and vinegars that are great. Their products will not cause inflammation. You can get your favorite vegetable and sprinkle some of their amino acids (soy sauce) on it and it is enough and will taste amazing. Plus your gut will thank you as that kind of a meal is easy to digest and will not leave you bloated.
Salt is key! Get a Celtic, black or pink Himalayan salt. Stay away from the iodized brands. Get spices that are "single ingredients" like basil or dill and stay away from mixes like "Herba de Provance" or "Chili Rub." That is because most of those are sweetened or have MSG or other stabilizers. And, you could be having issues and not even know they are caused by something like that.
Right now, I am buying products from a company called Beyond Beef. They have great veggie burgers and sausages. If I have them premade, I love to top off chili or a stir fry with them. They are also a great lunch option as they travel well.
I am hoping this gives you a basic way to go down the aisles and decide what to get. The more you control and are aware of different, cleaner food options, the better you will feel.