I got a request on Instagram to feature a recent grocery shop on the blog and explain what I intended to do with it. I (of course) absolutely loved the idea. One of my favorite places to spend time is the grocery store and one of my favorite things to do is to pull together creative, satisfying meals!
Since I haven’t gone grocery shopping for the week yet, I thought it might be fun just to share a little about the food I eat, why I eat it and what it offers my body. Because this is one of my absolute favorite subjects, I’m going to break it out into meals – focusing first on breakfast and then featuring posts on lunches, dinners and maybe even snacks!
Once I do a big grocery shop, I’ll be sure to photograph it and share with you what I plan to do with it (and hopefully I can manage to get photos of the meals I make with the haul for the week).
My goal with breakfast is to replenish my stores. Because you’ve been fasting all night, breakfast is absolutely one of the most important meals you can eat. i’m sure you’ve all heard this analogy time and time again, but trying to start your day without breakfast would be like trying to start your car without gas. Food is your body’s fuel and it needs it to run effectively.
BREAKFAST #1: Greek yogurt with chia seeds, fruit, granola and nut butter
For those of you that know me, this is one of my favorite breakfasts. The heft from the nut butter and the extra protein in the Greek yogurt carries me well through the morning and the crunch of the granola mixed with the sweetness of the fresh fruit just can’t be beat!
NOTES & TIPS:
- GREEK YOGURT contains a large amount of protein which will not only help keep you fuller longer but will also help to build lean muscle! My go-to brand is Chobani.
- CHIA SEEDS have so many amazing benefits. Rich in OMEGA-3s (which can help reduce inflammation, enhance cognitive performance and reduce high cholesterol), FIBER (which helps to keep you fuller longer AND keeps things moving) and ANTIOXIDANTS (which help protect the body from free radicals, aging and cancer) there’s no reason NOT to include these. Especially since they amp up the volume of food and make them super thick!
- TIP: Try to find them in bulk – many health food stores have started carrying them that way and they’re much cheaper! If you can’t, go to your local Trader Joe’s! They sell a bag for around $5 and because you only need a tablespoon or so, it lasts a good while.
- NATURAL NUT BUTTER is just nuts (and sometimes a little salt) that have been processed until smooth. There’s a big difference between natural and not. Always check the label to be sure what you’re getting. If you see things like “sugar,” “palm oil” or “molasses” – put it back. All you want to see under the ingredients is the name of the nut and maybe some salt. This ensures you’re getting healthy fats from the most natural source without all the added sugars and saturated fats! My favorite brands are Trader Joe’s and Smucker’s Natural.
- FRUIT: As far as fruit goes, the sky’s the limit! My favorites are strawberries, peaches, apples and pears.
BREAKFAST #2: Whole grain cereal with fruit and milk
It seems like such a simple breakfast but it carries a powerful punch. You’re getting all that you need for your daily meal – whole grains, fiber, fruit and protein – in one bowl.
NOTES & TIPS:
- WHOLE GRAIN CEREALS: These are not only super quick and easy on rushed mornings, but there are so many delicious brands out there now. It’s the perfect way to get satisfying whole grains and fiber to help carry you through the morning. Many on the market today include a good dose of protein as well as a pinch of healthy fats. My go-tos are Kashi Go Lean Crunch (I love the Honey Almond Flax as I’m getting a a bit of healthy fat from the almonds and the extra kick of fiber and disease-fighting power from the flax), Quaker Oatmeal Squares and Frosted Mini Wheats. TIP: In general a good rule of thumb is to shoot for a brand that has less than 5 grams of sugar and at least 5 grams of fiber.
- MILK: Go with whatever milk you like best but try to stick with reduced fat or fat-free. I use Silk soymilk but if you prefer almond, rice or plain old fat free cow’s milk, all are good choices! Remember the key to eating healthy for life is liking what you eat!
BREAKFAST #3: Eggs (or egg & egg white or all egg whites) scrambled with veggies and reduced fat cheese with whole wheat bagel and a piece of fruit
NOTES & TIPS:
- EGGS: Eggs are considered the perfect protein because their amino acids are the most digestible to humans. The whites are a great low-fat and calorie source of lean protein and the yolks provide carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect sight. Eggs are also high in sulfur which aids in absorption of vitamin B as well as plays an essential role in liver function. Additionally, the sulfur found in eggs help maintain shiny hair, strong nails and glowing skin.
- VEGETABLES: Little needs to be explained here. Vegetables are not only full of healthy fiber to help you feel fuller longer and keep your digestive system on track, but they’re fat-free, low in calories and contain a wealth of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that your body can benefit from.
BREAKFAST #4: Whole grain waffles or pancakes topped with natural nut butter, a spoonful of Greek yogurt and fruit
This is another one of my favorite breakfasts. Anytime I have waffles or pancakes it just feels special – add a little melted nut butter and some yogurt and fruit and it feels completely decadent! The protein from the Greek yogurt and nut butter as well as the fiber from the whole grain waffles or pancakes, fresh fruit and chia seeds easily keeps me going until lunch!
NOTES & TIPS:
- WHOLE GRAIN WAFFLES OR PANCAKES: If you don’t want to be making your pancakes and waffles from scratch, there are plenty of whole grain mixes on the market. In fact, you can make up a bunch of Sunday night and freeze them for the week (I do this often). Frozen brands I love include: Kashi, Van’s and De Wafelbakkers.
- GREEK YOGURT TOPPING TIP: To make your Greek yogurt topping extra thick, add a small amount of chia seeds (2 tsp – 1 tbsp. depending on how thick you like it) and mix in the container before topping the waffle off!
BREAKFAST #5: Oatmeal prepared with milk and topped with fruit and a small spoonful of nut butter
NOTES & TIPS:
- OATMEAL: Oats are a wonderful whole grain. They’re full of fiber which is great for keeping you full and they’ve also been shown to bring down your bad cholesterol without lowering your good.
- CHIA SEEDS TIP: Chia seeds go great in this dish. I add them to the oats once I’ve added the liquid and before I cook the oats and it makes them fluffy and thick – just how I like them!
- FRUIT: Some people have an issue with warm fruit…I happen to love it so I usually cook my oatmeal and then add my diced fruit in for the last 30 – 60 seconds so it gets nice and warm but not mushy.
- NUT BUTTER ADDITION TIP: The key to adding nut butter to oatmeal is to get a spoonful ready to plunge into the center so that the heat from the oats make it spread nicely throughout the dish
NOTE: You’ll notice for the most part that I don’t include measurements. While I DO believe that appropriate portion size is important, I also feel like people tend to get too caught up in measuring and forget that they can just listen to their bodies. If you need to measure at first, by all means, do so! But in general I think it’s important to worry more about tuning into what your body is TRULY telling you, than worrying about eating exactly 1 cup of cereal. It makes you a much more mindful eater and you learn that you really can trust your body to tell you what it needs.