Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Whole Food Diet???

I'm contemplating a switch over to a more whole foods diet. Fresh fruits, veggies, lean proteins, less processed foods, you get the picture. Up until now I've basically told myself I don't have time to prepare food for every single meal, so I've stuck with popping a Smart Ones or Lean Cuisine meal into the microwave for lunch. Here's the thing though, I WORK FROM HOME! There's no reason I can't make time to spend a few extra minutes putting something together. I have the time I'm just lazy and not using my time wisely.

Recently I was at the grocery store checking out with all of my goods. I had planned a few fresh meals for this week. One was a Jamaican Jerk Chicken Sweet Potato Chili. Another was a Roasted Butternut Squash, Corn and Bacon Soup. And the last I've already made was a Cabbage & Apple Slaw to go with some boneless ribs I already had at home. When I pile all of my stuff on the conveyor belt I put things in order so it's easier for them to bag and easier for me to put away at home: frozen box meals, other frozen items, fresh fruits and veggies, canned goods, etc. Anyway I'm about to swipe my card and he's ringing up the fresh fruits and veggies and I'm noticing how everything's like a dollar and change for the most part. That's when I first started contemplating this fresh food thing. It made me realize how much less expensive those fresh fruits and veggies were than some of the processed things I was buying. Plus they're obviously much healthier for me. And who doesn't love some fresh fruits and veggies!

I've been kind of mulling this idea over in my head and the other day I'm watching Tool Academy. Yeah, I know, awful show. Anyway, there was this part where they had to prepare a romantic dinner for their partners and one guy made a tomato and mozzarella salad with balsamic vinegar. I thought, I can do that! Maybe not with mozzarella, since I'm watching calories and all, but I can put in a little effort to make something so simple that will make us feel like we're having this great meal out instead of just ho hum cooking.

Finally, today I decided to really look over the receipt from that recent grocery shopping trip. I decided to calculate the average price per item of the whole fruits, veggies and meats versus the processed stuff. The average for the whole items was $1.82 (and that include a $9 meat purchase that was a splurge). The average for the processed items was $2.52. That alone makes it pretty clear that if I start to move to more whole foods it might save me a bit of money, but it'll definitely save me a lot of unnecessary calories and sodium.

Anyone have any suggestions for how to make this switch? Any tips as far as making extra and portioning it out for later meals. Any tips on how to keep food from spoiling? Or maybe just some simple healthy recipes I should try? I'm open to any and all advice to get me moving along this path and make me more comfortable with the idea of taking the time to prepare healthier meals.

**Edited** I just wanted to add that I talked to Steve about this and he said "sounds good to me". We both love fruits and veggies, so that's never been the issue. Laziness has always been the problem. Plus, he knows I'll be the one cooking since he has a crazy schedule with working on his PhD and all, so all he has to do is eat the foods I prepare. However, he's a snacker, so when I stop buying crackers and stuff for him I'll be curious to see if he starts complaining. I'll just have to have fruits and veggies cut up for him to grab when he feels like snacking. Also, what about breakfasts? I can do omelets or oatmeal for myself, but he usually gets up before me and just grabs something as he heads out the door (or doesn't eat at all). I'd like to prepare something the night before that he can just take with him. He said he has access to a microwave and a sink, so oatmeal is a possibility, but I don't think he'd want to do that regularly. Any ideas?

4 comments:

  1. I am no expert on this subject whatsoever- but I do completely agree with you on the fact that fresh foods are much much cheaper.

    Being in college, and living in two places (my apt, and my boyfriends apt) I decided that on mondays I would cook a meal and then separate all the the portions into glad plastic boxes and then eat them throughout the week. It has worked out pretty well-- but it can definitely get mucho boring. I bet, if you wanted you could freeze the extra portions and that would be like your own little homemade lean cuisine.

    As far as recipes I always go to cookinglight.com which then takes you to another website where there are just tons and tons of different healthy recipes with all the nutrition info and everything.

    Good luck- I think this is a great idea, b/c you are right, it seriously decreases sodium and it gives you the control and knowledge of knowing exactly what you are eating (instead of just trusting the labels).

    p.s. butternut squash soup is my fave

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  2. One issue we have with freezing stuff is that we don't always eat it. I made this meal probably a month ago, maybe a little more, that was really good. I froze 3 portions, one of which I ate the next day. The other two haven't been touched and I just need to throw them out now. Part of the reason we didn't eat them is probably because they are in our freezer in the fridge in our garage. Out of sight out of mind. I definitely need to keep any meals I freeze in the kitchen, otherwise we'll probably never eat them.

    I'm totally stoked for the butternut squash soup. I'm making it tonight. This will be my first attempt at soup made from scratch. Hopefully it'll be as good as I imagine. :-)

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  3. I'm no expert, but it sounds like an awesome idea. I'm right there beside you on the lazy train, so lately I've been received fresh fruit and veggie deliveries from a local CSA and that's been forcing me to cook more and eat more veggies.

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  4. Good luck! As far as tips, I'm not an expert but I would just say make the crock pot your friend. Very little effort is needed for most slow cooker meals and usually it makes a batch big enough for several lunches and dinners.

    Also, find veggies that you love and are easy to prepare. my faves are roasted sweet potatoes and roasted or steamed asparagus.

    Have fun!

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