Going grocery shopping is one of my favorite activities. It is almost a hobby for me to go into a grocery store, walk the aisles, check for new items and read the labels on products. Needless to say, this is time consuming, but when you’re retired, what better way to spend time educating yourself on nutritional facts and watching for the latest items out there?
I spend most time concentrating on foods that are on my menu plans for the week.
I have become more attentive to nutritional facts and read labels very carefully not only for calories or serving size, but for fat, especially trans-fat, sodium, sugar (i.e. corn syrup, fructose or any word ending in “ose”, protein, carbohydrates and the origin of product. With many food items being recalled these days, I feel it very important to know where produce, meat/poultry, and dairy products originate.
I also look for products that are organic. Prices for organic foods may be higher, but if we bought more, the demand would eventually lead to lower prices. In addition, I have learned that if there is an item that your store doesn’t carry, just a word or note to the manager will usually cause that item to be stocked. I remember the days when my time was limited; either busy working or raising children and I wasn’t able to devote time to searching out these nutritional facts.
Below are some of my favorite food items along with a few ideas on how I use them in our meals:
Greek yogurt – Two brands that I have tried are Fage 0% fat, 15 grams protein and no added sugar, either plain or fruit flavored. The other brand is Chobani 0% fat, 14 grams protein, fruit flavored or plain. Both are very creamy and delicious plus you can’t find 14-15 grams of protein in any other yogurt.
V-8 Fusion Fruit Juice – An 8 ounce glass gives you one full serving of fruit and vegetables. It has no additives and comes in a variety of fruit flavors. It is delicious and children will love the taste and not know they are getting their vegetables. It has a sweet fruit taste.
Panko – Japanese bread flakes makes an excellent coating for chicken, veal cutlets and also can be added to meatloaf or meatballs. Progresso has introduced their Panko bread crumbs and I prefer them over the Japanese brand. Progresso makes the crumbs in plain and Italian style seasoning. However, be aware the fat content is higher in the Progresso brand. I find I use less coating when using Panko crumbs and I also get a crispier finished product.
Smart Balance – This is a staple brand in our house. I started out a few years ago using their butter spread which has no trans-fat. They have expanded their products to cover mayonnaise, oil, spreads and the best of all MILK. Their fat-free milk is so creamy, you would never know you are drinking fat-free dairy. Check out their web site www.smartbalance.com and see all their products. Some stores are not carrying the milk, but be sure to ask your store manager to get it as it will sell off the shelf.
Bolthouse Farms – This Company makes the best salad dressings on the market. They are yogurt based (don’t let that turn you away, you wouldn’t even know it) and have half the fat and calories of other dressings. The dressings are usually shelved in the produce department. Bolthouse’s line of beverages are 100% natural and there are a good variety of flavors and types, e.g. smoothies, protein, latte, and fruit and vegetable drinks. You can find the beverages where fresh juices are shelved. Our favorite beverages are the protein drinks with 10 grams of protein per serving. www.bolthousefarms.com
George, my husband of 48 years, has always been conscious of nutrition, but hated grocery shopping and his business always kept him too busy to go to the grocery store. However, now he finds time, at least occasionally, to accompany me to the store and most of the time I spot him reading labels and either rejecting the item or putting it in the cart. So if he can do it, I guess we all can!
If you have a favorite food item you would like to share with me, please post a comment here and I will be sure to pass it on.