Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Grocery Store Staples

Most weeks I go to the grocery store with a pretty well defined plan:
- I typically have a detailed list (which is an absolute must if I don't want to forget a handful of things).
- I'm mindful of a tentative weekly menu
 - And, as I cross the threshold through those big, glass, automatic doors, I try to focus on the mission at hand so as to avoid ending up with any unnecessary (and typically, unhealthy) impulse buys (think a bag of licorice flavored jelly beans or a package of chocolate covered gummy bears… Yeah.  This girl's got a sweet tooth).

This week however, was a little more haphazard.

Believe it or not I, like many people I know, go for many of the same things week after week.  I call these my "STAPLES."  These are foods that are convenient, nutritious, and I really just don't get tired of them.

MY TYPICAL STAPLES look something like:

  • Fruit
    • two to three different kinds of apples
    • mangoes 
    • pears
    • bananas
    • a variety of citrus fruits (tangelos, pink grapefruit, navel oranges, clementines)
    • cantaloupe
    • watermelon
    • pineapple
    • a medley of berries (blue, rasp, black, or straw)
    • kiwi
  • What I call "Salad Stuff"
    • container of Spinach
    • head of romaine (or bagged)
    • cucumber
    • tomatoes
    • avocado
    • a variety of beans (black, dark red kidney, garbonzo, black eyed)
    • frozen edamame
    • frozen peas
    • jarred olives
    • jarred peppers
    • canned or jarred artichoke hearts
    • canned or jarred slivered beats
    • dried cranberries
    • slivered almonds
    • walnut halves
    • baby carrots
    • white mushrooms
    • a variety of fresh peppers (orange, green, red, yellow)
  • Other
    • quinoa
    • oatmeal
    • raisins
    • almond milk
    • salsa
    • hummus
    • eggs
    • some medley of meats for my man (chicken tenders, steak, pork, or sliced ham or turkey)
    • some kind of nut butter (it alternates between almond and peanut)
Now, I don't purchase everything from this list weekly.  I sort of rotate through these items on a week to week basis depending on what's in season and what I "feel like" for that week.  

For the most part though, these items cover our needs for both Breakfast and Lunch time meals.  You can get pretty creative with the combinations you choose to put together from the items listed above but, for the most part, our breakfasts look something like a little carbs + a little fruit + a little protein (think, oatmeal w/ raisins + a banana & peanut butter) while lunch usually consist of a salad made from a combination of yummy things + some kind of snack (like bell pepper and cucumber slices + carrots + a few tablespoons of hummus).  

Here's a glimpse of my lunchtime salad today
Now, you may be thinking, one - "Holy Cow!  I don't eat that much salad in a week, let alone all at one time!"  And two, "There's just no way my hunger could ever be satisfied by a salad."

But, the reason I love a good salad is because:
A) you get to eat a ton of food with very few calories*
B) you benefit from all the super good-for-you things that all these salad toppings have to offer (the vital nutrients in dark leafy greens, the antioxidant power of black and dark red kidney beans, the carotenoid lycopene in red tomatoes, protein packed edamame, immune system support from mushrooms, and cancer protective properties of beets… you get the picture)
C) and, the lingering satisfaction that my body feels do to the amount of natural, dietary fiber this kind of meal contains

Okay.  So, lunch time salad aside, most of my creativity comes into play at Dinner time.  

This week Dinner will consist of the following:
- a hearty bowl of Butternut Squash Bake plus a side of baked beet chips to share and baked chicken tenders for my man
- a tofu dish (I've started experimenting with it), including sautéed spinach with olive oil and roasted garlic, a can of diced, seasoned tomatoes, dark red kidney beans, and a sprinkling of toasted almond dust
- veggie stir fry (I might try throwing a little tofu into that mix too)
- and, since I didn't have a super clear plan at the grocery store this week, there are a few nights open for spontaneity; which, sometimes, is when the best things come together.

I'll share pics and recipes when I come up with a good new recipe and a post on beet chips is definitely in your future.

Until then, Happy Shopping!

* This salad totaled about 340 calories; between about 2 cups spinach (20), 1 cup butterhead lettuce (5), 1/2 c. beans (90), 1/2 c. edamame (100), sliced mushrooms (25), cherry tomatoes (25), 1 Tbl. dressing (30), and 1/4 c. sliced beets (20).  For anyone trying to decrease their calories while maintaining a feeling of fullness and their health, this ain't a bad way to go.  There are a lot of six inch subs that contain about as many calories but not nearly as much sustenance and volume.  Large plate + low calorie count = A-Okay in my Book!


  1. YES! BEET CHIPS! That's my girl.
    Okay, when I first started reading this entry I definitely thought that was a weekly grocery list and I was like,"Oh my gosh! I'll have a totally abundant week of health and then I'll have to go back into the grocery store the next week and only buy Ramen and Manwich...boo." Then I saw what you said after. :)

  2. That salad looks divine! I think a giant brightly-colored salad is the absolute best thing for lunch- I don't get any kind of crashing around 3, like I usually do with a heavier meal (carb or no-carb).

    I would love to see some of your tofu experiments! I'm trying to be more mindful of my animal protein consumption, and I loooove tofu. But for some reason I've been pretty shy about cooking with it. I could use some inspiration!

  3. @Wishingbee: Thank you! I love your comments by the way. :) I tested a tofu recipe last week and it passed the taste test so, I'll be sure to share that one here. I'm a tofu-novice to be sure but, it's kind of one of those things that seems pretty hard to mess up. You'll have to let me know if you come up with any recipes you feel like sharing!