Foods to Help Lower Blood Pressure

Foods to Help Lower Your Blood Pressure

After your blood pressure check, the first thing your doctor might ask you is, "how much salt do you eat?" Great question, as salt is the easiest culprit in our diets. The problem is that most of us haven't got a clue what the answer is to that question.
The obvious first thing to cut out is fast food and restaurant dining. Salt is the go-to seasoning for restaurant cooks and chefs, since it's cheap and plentiful.  But what else can you do?

First, take a look at what you're cooking with at home. If you use canned beans, for instance, rinse them well 2-3 times to flush away some of the hidden sodium. You won't get it all, but this does help. When your recipe calls for tomato sauce, reach instead for canned tomato paste - and put the kettle on to boil. If you mix tomato paste with an equal amount of hot water, you will get a richer tomato flavour without the high sodium of tomato sauce. Some brands, such as Hunt's, now offer a No Salt Added version that's even better for you. Add some fresh chopped herbs, or dried herbs, to add depth of flavour. Be generous with the herbs to get an out-of-the-ordinary taste.

Cut down on breads and crackers. They contain a lot of sodium but we tend to see these foods as essential. But most of us are eating much more than we need. Instead of crackers for the salsa, dip or peanut butter, try celery or carrot sticks, cucumber slices,  or slices of sweet peppers.

Right now in the summer we're eating a lot of asparagus and green beans. We do get bored with simple steamed vegetables, so mixing 1/4 cup each of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon of grated garlic, and a tablespoon or two of chopped herbs, such as rosemary, basil and sage, makes a great marinade for many vegetables. Marinate for at least a 1/2 hour, then cook them on the barbeque or in a shallow frying pan until done.

Really look at the amount of sodium in everything you buy. We generally need no more than 1,500 mg daily of sodium. We do need some sodium  to transmit nerve impulses around the body and help your muscles contract (including the heart). Sodium also controls senses such as taste, smell and touch. But 1,500 mg isn't much - about 2/3 of a teaspoon of salt. Daily.

Finally, get in the habit of eating foods rich in calcium magnesium and potassium instead of eating high salt/high fat foods.  Some of these foods include:

1. White beans.  One cup of these gives you 13% of the calcium, 24% of the potassium and 30% of the magnesium you need daily. Use the No Salt versions or rinse thoroughly.

2. Fat-Free Plain Yogurt.   25% calcium, 10% potassium and some magnesium.

3. Pork Tenderloin.  15% potassium and 6% magnesium
Some other foods to look at include nuts and seeds; whole grains such as quinoa, teff and amaranth; fish such as salmon, bass, herring, sardines and mackerel; fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, radishes, and garlic; leafy greens such as spinach, Swiss chard, turnip and beet greens provide significant amounts of these very important elements.

Eating Less Sugar for Better Health

We know that eating too much sugar can cause or contribute to a lot of health problems, such as diabetes, obesity, elevated blood pressure, certain types of cancers, stroke, gallbladder and liver disorders, respiratory problems, and more.

The first thing to do is to track how much sugar you are taking in each day. This involves a little detective work, since sugars often masquerade as other words in the ingredients list. These "disguised" sugars may be listed as "anhydrous dextrose, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, liquid fructose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, pancake syrup, raw sugar, sugar, syrup and white sugar. Other types of sugar you might commonly see on ingredient lists are fructose, lactose and maltose. Fructose is sugar derived from fruit and vegetables; lactose is milk sugar; and maltose is sugar that comes from grain." (http://healthyeating.sfgate.com).

But wait - there are many more! The Food Label Movement cites these examples too: "Some of the less apparent sugar names include carbitol, concentrated fruit juice, corn sweetener, diglycerides, disaccharides, evaporated cane juice, erythritol, Florida crystals, fructooligosaccharides, galactose, glucitol, glucoamine, hexitol, inversol, isomalt, maltodextrin, malted barley, malts, mannitol, nectars, pentose, raisin syrup, ribose rice syrup, rice malt, rice syrup solids, sorbitol, sorghum, sucanat, sucanet, xylitol and zylose." (http://healthyeating.sfgate.com).

What is the goal for sugar consumption? Unfortunately, in Canada, we have murky and outdated guidelines for this. But the World Health Organization advises us to keep our sugar intake to between 5% and 10% of our daily calories. Read more here.

It isn't always possible to count up the grams of sugar(s) in the food you are eating, but keep in mind that the ingredients are listed by weight from more to less of that ingredient. So if you see several of these sugar types in the ingredients list, better look for a healthier choice.

Some tips for choosing lower sugar foods:

1 .Pick veggies over fruits or bread-based snacks. Vegetables have naturally low sugar content.

2. Choose fruits with lower sugar content and keep fruit intake lower than vegetable intake. For a comprehensive list of sugar content of fruits and vegetables ,click here.

3. Take in more high quality protein, whether it is meat- or plant based. Protein fills you up and keeps you satisfied for up to three times as long as a sugary snack does.

4. If the very thought of cutting your sugar intake causes you stress, relax. Cut it daily by a little bit - say 10-15 grams - until your cravings have lessened and you are tracking the guidelines above.

5. When you just have to have something sweet - plan for it. What the treat will be, when you will eat it, and predetermine the portion size. If you are having a cookie or brownie, for example, keep the rest of them wrapped singly in the freezer, to lessen the temptation to eat more than the single serving.

The Health Benefits of Lemons

two lemon fruits 1367232
The sharp, clean scent of lemons gives a hint of the wealth of positive benefits hidden inside. They contain vitamins C, B6, A, E, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, coppe,r calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, folate, and some protein.

Lemons also contain flavonoids, containing antioxidant and cancer fighting elements. They have a positive effect on high blood pressure, fever, diabetes and upset stomach, among many other benefits. They also can fight kidney stones by forming urinary citrate, thus preventing crystals forming in the kidneys.

However, turning to commercial lemonades is a step backwards, because of the chemicals, colouring, and sugar/sugar compounds added. Instead, mix a pitcher of water, fresh lemon juice to taste, and let one or two juiced lemon rinds sit in the bottom of the pitcher for even more flavour. If you want that hit of sweetness, use a bit of honey. Honey itself has many positive compounds, such as potassum, calcium, sodium, fibre and several vitamins and minerals.

Here is a link to a herb-lemon marinade that is excellent with chicken and pork,  from the wonderful chef Ina Garten.  So look for new and exciting ways to add lemons and their juice and zest to your marinades, water, salads and meats!

Safe Food Storage

 Safe Food Storage

One of the most persistent myths about refrigerated food is that if it smells okay, it's okay to eat it. Wrong. Lots of food can go bad without even a whiff of decay, and can cause you serious and even life-threatening food-borne illness. Refrigeration doesn't stop the clock on decay - it only delays it.

So how long can you safely store food in your fridge? That depends on a few factors.

1.       Is it raw meat or seafood?  the Government of Canada recommends between 2 and 4 days for cuts of meat, 1-2 days for ground meat, 2-3 days for fresh poultry, and 12 hours to 2 days for various types of seafood. Click here for a complete printable list  of all types of food- handy thing to put on your fridge door. 

2.       Is it a leftover? Don't keep them any longer than 3-4 days. Bacteria can flourish without affecting the appearance, smell or taste of food, so get into the habit of keeping a roll of masking tape and a sharpie in your kitchen. Slap a "Eat by ..." label on every leftover in your fridge - and go through your fridge every couple of days to eliminate out-of-date food. If you are not sure that you can eat the leftover in time, freeze it  immediately.

3.       Is it a condiment? Most condiments are marked with an expiration date - but that is for the unopened container! Click here for a list of tips on safely storing condiments.

 

 Tips to keep yourself safer from food-borne illness:

 

1.       Keep your fridge at 4°C or lower. Your freezer should register -18°C or lower for optimal safe storage. Get a good quality fridge/freezer thermometer and check it every few months.

 

2.       When cooking, use a meat thermometer to ensure that your food is cooked or reheated to a safe temperature. The safe temperature varies from item to item. Invest in a good-quality thermometer, and follow this guide.

 

3.       When you do your grocery shopping, pick up your meats, seafood, and dairy last. Store them with cold packs in a cooler in your vehicle. As soon as you get home, store everything in your fridge right away.

 

4.       When shopping, keep raw meats and seafood away from the other food in your grocery cart. This will help prevent cross-contamination of foods. Keep a couple of reusable grocery bags just for raw meats/seafood. Label them to avoid contamination. Clean all your reusable grocery bags regularly with a bleach bath.

 

5.       Your fridge is colder at the back, and warmer near the front. Store raw foods near the back for extra safety. Avoid the top shelf as well - it is warmer than the rest of the interior.

 

6.       Clean your fridge thoroughly once a month by removing all food, containers, shelves and crispers. Wash them well with hot water and soap. Dry completely and restock the refrigerator.

 

7.       Reheat your leftovers only once. If you eat part of a leftover meal on Monday, and then stash the rest until later in the week, the more likely it is that bacteria will grow in your food.

 

8.       Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your vehicle, and use it each time you come out of a store. Wash your hands as soon as you get home, and after you unpack and store your groceries.

 

Carbs- What Should I Be Eating?

 Carbs- What Should I Be Eating?

 

There are some “diets” that have gained notoriety in the last several years that suggest we avoid carbohydrates. But carbs-as-evil is a huge misconception. Carbs are the gas in your gas tank! They are essential for boosting energy and improving your mood and emotional state. In fact, carbohydrates are what the body likes to use best as fuel.

The Canada Food Guide suggests that two-thirds of our food should be carbs. But not just any carbs will do the job.

We need to minimize the amount of sugar-laden fuel we eat, such as cookies, candy, cakes, and regular pop. Check labels in the grocery for the amount of sugars listed. Often there is a lot of hidden sugar in food products (ketchup, for example). These types of food will spike your blood sugar, giving you temporary energy, but soon you may experience a “crash” in energy levels. That’s because these simple sugars won’t give you the sustained, longer-term energy boost that complex carbs can. Simple carbs are like fireworks – they give off a big bang, and then fade quickly.

Whole grains in cereals and breads are a great example of good carb nutrition. Our bodies process these foods at a slower pace than simple carbs, and so we feel satisfied longer.  Complex carbs stabilize our energy level and help us to avoid the nose-dive into fatigue and irritability that comes after taking in simple carbs.

 

Cruciferous Veggies

 Eat Well: Cruciferous Veggies

 When planning a lunch or dinner, we all tend to choose from a small group of vegetables – the tried and true that we know well. Some of the most popular vegetables in Canada include potatoes, lettuce, onions, and tomatoes (technically a fruit, but used as a veggie!). These are all great foods and each brings good nutrition to your diet, but there is another family of vegetables that will add variety and impressive health benefits to your plate – the cruciferous vegetables.

This family includes old standards such as cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, and others that may be less familiar, such as turnip (rutabaga), radish, spinach, daikon, kale, bok choy, and arugula. 

What are the benefits of including cruciferous vegetables in your menus? First, they can lower your risk of cancer. People who eat these veggies regularly, particularly broccoli, have a significantly reduced risk of cervical, lung, bladder and colon cancers, due to the high level of the antioxidant sulforaphane.

When you eat these vegetables, their sulforaphane prompts your body to produce its own antioxidant exzymes, which combat free radicals that cause cellular damage. The high level of Vitamin C in cauliflower also fights heart disease. One cup of cauliflower gives you about 75% of your daily Vitamin C requirement. In this case, the antioxidant levels are higher in raw, rather than cooked, cauliflower.

Cruciferous vegetables also can lower your risk of diabetes (along with overall healthy food and lifestyle choices). Chewed cabbage forms a gel-like substance in the digestive system that slows down the digestion of your meal. That slower digestion helps to control blood sugar levels. Studies have shown a significantly lower incidence of diabetes in people who consumed higher quantities of cruciferous vegetables.

Kale, broccoli and bok choy are all very good sources of calcium. Chop up some kale or bok choy and add them to a stir -fry or soup to bump up your level of calcium for the day. Kale and spinach are also great sources of Vitamin K (potassium), which helps to form and repair bones, and also helps your body form blood clots, in case of wounds.

It’s easy to incorporate these low-calorie vegetables – only 54 calories for a cup of cooked broccoli -into your meals. For instance, finely shred red and/or green cabbage to top your burger instead of lettuce. You can add chopped broccoli and cauliflower to your omelette or frittata for a healthy and colourful nutrition boost. Steam these two with a medley of different coloured sweet peppers for an attractive side dish – finish with a bit of reduced-fat butter, a splash of fresh lemon juice, and a grinding of black pepper, and toss to mix the flavours. Finely grate radishes and toss them into a salad for an eye-catching touch of colour.

So explore the world of cruciferous vegetables, and discover new and delicious ways to eat well.

 

Put Potatoes On Your Plate

 Put Potatoes On Your Plate

The lowly potato has gotten a bad rep. Many of us steer clear of potatoes, assuming that they are a fattening starch, or “bad carb”. The truth is, the potato is a powerhouse of good nutrients and dietary antioxidants, which help fight age-related diseases.

Potatoes are a good source of fibre, and of vitamins B-1, B-3, and B-6. B vitamins help to maintain healthy skin, and skeletal muscle tone and increase metabolic rate (more calories burned!). These vitamins also boost the production of red blood cells, which helps prevent anaemia, and also lower the risk of pancreatic cancer, when eaten in food, rather than in a vitamin tablet form. The potato’s complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides) help you to feel full longer.

Its high level of vitamin C – one potato with skin gives you almost half of your daily vitamin C requirement – and that helps you to absorb iron. A medium-sized potato weighs in at approximately only 85-150 calories, with very little fat.

However, the nutritional value of the potato on your plate changes radically in two ways – how it’s prepared, and what you put on it. All methods of cooking the potato will deplete some vitamins and minerals, but some methods cause greater change than others. Boiling them leaches away a fair amount of vitamin C, especially if the potato has been peeled. Baking also destroys a lot of vitamin C, but the baked potato retains a lot more of its other nutrients than its boiled counterpart. Of course, frying the potato for French fries or potato chips really decreases its nutritional value, and the potato absorbs a high percentage of fat as well.

 

The potato’s fate on your plate matters too. Regular butter, sour cream, bacon and so on are delicious - and dangerous. A tablespoon of regular butter has approximately 11 grams of fat, and 100 calories (this could double the calorie count of the potato!) Sour cream? Six grams of fat, and about 61 calories. Salsa is a good choice for a topping – virtually no fat, and about 35 calories for a quarter-cup. Or choose reduced-fat butter or sour cream, and be aware of how much you’re using.

 

So if you’ve banished the potato from your diet, take another look at this amazing source of complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and protein, and invite it back into your kitchen!

 

 

 

How much sodium do we need?

 How Much Sodium Do We Need?

 

Sodium is one of the most common sources of flavour in our food, and is found in virtually everything we eat. Overconsumption of sodium is a major factor in our self-inflicted poor health.  Health Canada reports that the average Canadian takes in about 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day. However, the government-recommended daily limit now is 2,300 mg, with the current medical and scientific communities recommending a limit of 1,500 mg per day.  Check out  the Global news story at this link for more details and stats. http://www.globalnews.ca/health/health/6442577217/story.html

 

 

The effects of excess sodium on our bodies are wide-ranging. First, it can cause us to retain fluid in our bodies, causing bloating.  This fluid retention can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension), which can then be a significant factor in heart disease and stroke. Another by-product of excessive sodium over a period of time can be kidney disease. One of the kidneys' jobs is to filter out and purge excess sodium from the body. Unfortunately, putting that much extra stress on the kidneys over the long term can damage the kidneys - and once they are damaged, kidneys don't recover.

 

There are three main sources of sodium in our diet. There is naturally occurring sodium in many foods including meat, vegetables and dairy products.  The second source is sodium added to prepared  or processed foods, which includes takeout, restaurant meals, and snacks.  The third source, often overlooked, is condiments. For example, one tablespoon of Heinz ketchup contains 140 mg, or 6% of the daily recommended sodium - and who uses just one tablespoon of ketchup with their fries, meatloaf, or Western sandwich? Kikkoman Stir Fry Sauce contains 520 mg, or 22% RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance)in a single tablespoon. Fond of curry paste? Patel's Tandoori Mild Curry Paste has a staggering 1180 mg of sodium in 2 tablespoons, or 22% of the RDA.

 

 

 

Let's look at a  popular breakfast choice:

 


Tim Horton's Breakfast Bagel BELT, orange juice, milk and coffee:

 

 

 

Bagel:

1000 mg

Orange juice (1 cup, 250 ml)

2 mg

Milk (1 cup, 250 ml)

100 mg

Coffee, medium size, double-double

50 mg

 

 

 

 

 

So now we'll build a ham and cheese sandwich at home to take for lunch.

 

 

 

Two slices of commercial bread

480 mg

1 slice (55 g) Maple Leaf ham 

450 mg

2 tablespoons Hellman's Light Mayonnaise

270 mg

1 slice (28 g)  Swiss Cheese 

54 mg

1 spear of dill pickle on the side (35 g)

306 mg

 

 

 

 

And for dinner, let's choose some pasta:

 

 

Meatless Cheese Filled Tortellini with Tomato Sauce, 1 cup  (250 ml)

1560 mg

2 small slices garlic bread with butter

195 mg

Tossed Salad, Dole American Blend packaged salad, 1.5 cups (85 g)

10 mg

Renee's Original Caesar Dressing, 1 tablespoon

60 mg

Dessert: 3 Original Oreo cookies

160 mg

 

 

 

 

The sodium totals are:

 

 

Breakfast: 

1152 mg sodium

Lunch

1560 mg sodium

Dinner

1985 mg sodium

Grand Total

4697 mg sodium

 

 

 

Granted, you may not make all of these high-sodium choices in a single day, but it serves to illustrate some of the surprising sources of sodium we take in on a regular basis.

 

However, our bodies do need some sodium every day, for some critical functions. Sodium in appropriate amounts helps to control blood pressure and blood volume.  This important electrolyte helps control the volume of fluid in and around our cells, helps muscles to contract and release, and helps our nerve impulses transmit efficiently.

 

So what can you do to reduce your sodium intake? First, become a label reader. That 5% here and 12% there may seem like not much, but they do add up.  Second, choose to cook at home much more often, being conscious of how much sodium is in the ingredients in your recipe. A recipe that calls for a can of this, a box of prepared that, and so forth, is likely a landmine of hidden sodium. check out recipe books that give nutritional information per serving - and make sure you measure the serving correctly!

 

 

 

Also, make good use of herbs and spices to punch up flavour in your recipes, instead of salt. Don't be afraid to leave out the salt and experiment with herbs and spices that are new to you. You may create a new family favourite.

 

A good tip for grocery shopping is to shop the perimeter of the store for fresh, non-processed foods, and avoid anything that        calls itself processed, a "food product", or "convenient". These items are usually high in sodium and nutritionally poor in other ways as well.  Products that are marketed towards kids are often suspect, not only for high sodium, but also for very high sugars, and low fibre content. Follow this link for more information.

 

http://blog.fooducate.com/2009/10/26/kids-cereal-high-in-sugar-low-in-fiber-new-report/

 

Myths and Misconceptions About Fat

Myths and Misconceptions About Fat

 

What exactly is fat anyway? First, the fat we take in through food is made up of lipids or fatty acids, and it comes in various forms, ranging from liquid oil, such as olive oil, to solid, such as hydrogenated margarine and shortening. However, the fat in our bodies is a type of tissue made up of cells containing stored fat. This fat can be "white fat", which is found in large cell sacs, or vesicles.  Stored fat can also be "brown fat", which is made up of lipid droplets. Let’s address some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding fat.

 

1. "I should cut out as much fat as possible."

 

Actually, we need a certain amount of fat in our food every day. There are certain vitamins, such as Vitamin A, D ,E and K that are fat-soluble. This means that these vitamins have to have fat on board in order to be absorbed into the body, and they also need fat in order to be metabolized, or broken down. Other vitamins, such as B complex, and C, are water soluble. So we need both fat and water in our diet to get the most nutrition out of our food. Ideally, we should take in as little saturated fat as possible. However, we should eat 2-3 tablespoons (30-45 ml) of unsaturated fat each day. This fat comes from sources such as cooking oil, salad dressings, non-hydrogenated margarine and mayonnaise. This will give us the fat needed to absorb our nourishment properly. About 25-30% of our daily caloric intake should be from fat.

 

2. "Food products advertised as "low-fat" are always a better choice."

Not necessarily. While it's good to cut down on fats, particularly saturated and hydrogenated fats, often food manufacturers replace the missing fat with extra sugar and/or sodium, making a "low-fat" food a poor choice in the end. So it's a good idea to check out the labels on food packaging, and get an idea of how much of each element is in your food.

 

3. "The type of fat I eat doesn't matter."

Oils and fats vary widely in what they deliver. Key concepts are saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated types of fat. Saturated fats are saturated with hydrogen atoms. All fats are a source of energy for the body, but saturated fats can raise both good and bad types of cholesterol, and has been linked strongly with heart disease. Although saturated fats have their uses, such as helping absorb certain vitamins and building cell membranes, the human body can make all the saturated fat it needs! So we look for mono- and poly-unsaturated fats.

 

Monounsaturated fats have been associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Olive oil is great for this element, because 75% of it is monounsaturated. Canola and peanut oils are also good sources. Surprisingly, almost half of the fat in beef in unsaturated (yes, you still need to trim off the excess fat!).

 

Polyunsaturated fats are liquid both at room temperature and when cold. This type of fat contains both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid, and current science suggests that more omega-3 should be eaten than omega-6. Soybean, high oleic sunflower and safflower oils, and fatty fish such as salmon, trout, and mackerel are good. Walnuts, olives and avocados are also good sources (but restrain yourself on the olives because of the sodium content!)

 

Trans fats started out as unsaturated fats, and manufacturers have added hydrogen bonds to the fat. This makes the fat more stable, so the food has a longer shelf life. But our bodies pay for this convenience - trans fat increase total cholesterol levels, and have been solidly linked to cardiac disease and diabetes. Typical culprits include commercial baked goods, such as doughnuts. Fast food restaurants can be awash in trans fat. Do your homework - go on the internet and check out the nutritional information for your favourite fast food destination. You may be shocked.

 

4. "I should have as low a percentage of stored body fat as possible."

 

Our bodies are made up of four elements: water, protein, minerals and fat. There are some widely accepted standards as to how much of our body composition should be fat. Check out Dr. Len Kravitz's research on the subject:

http://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/underbodycomp.html. In a nutshell, for women, our minimal fat weight should be 15% of our body weight; for optimal health, we should be carrying 18-30% of body weight in fat, and for optimal fitness, 16-25%. For men, it's a bit different: minimal fat weight is 5%; for optimal health, 10-25% of body weight in fat, and for optimal fitness, 12-18%.

 

Although excess body fat in certain areas, such as around the waist and abdomen raises concerns about health risks such as diabetes and cardiac disease, clearly we need some fat. What role does fat play in the body?

 

 Fat is a source of energy, or fuel for the body. We are burning fat constantly, although at different rates depending on our activity level.

 

 Some fat is necessary to act as a cushion to our organs, in particular the heart, and also helps to insulate us from cold weather. Fat also provides insulation for our nerves.

 

 Fat is essential to keep our hormone levels balanced.

 

 Fat helps our cells to transport nutrients through the cell membranes.

 

 Fat also builds brainpower, by producing myelin, which is the fatty insulating sheath that coats nerve fibres. This allows the nerve fibres to transmit information faster.

 

 

5. "If I work out hard enough, I can turn my extra fat into muscle."

 

We're talking about two different types of tissues here. We can't transform one tissue into another type of tissue. Exercise is a key component in a healthy body composition, with an optimal share of both stored body fat and lean muscle mass. So exercise to burn excess fat AND build more lean muscle mass. Bonus:  your body burns more calories to maintain lean muscle mass than stored body fat. So, the better your body composition is, the more calories your body uses to sustain your functions.

 

A Grocery Inventory

Grocery Inventory

First, write down every category of food in your cupboards, refrigerator and freezer. You'll have a list that includes things like meat, fish, dairy, vegetables, (fresh, frozen and canned) grains and pasta, breads, condiments, etc.

Next, create an inventory spreadsheet or document where you can write down how many of each item you have. For instance, under meats, create a section of chicken. Under that, make entries for boneless, skinless breasts, thighs, whole chickens, and anything else you may keep in stock. Under dairy, you can have entries for cheddar cheese, butter, margarine, milk, etc. Leave a couple of blank lines in each major category for special items you don't always stock. This part will take a little time, but you have to do it only once, and update periodically. Then print off a copy and grab a clipboard - here's the eye-opening part.

Take inventory of absolutely everything you have, writing down your count on your inventory sheet. While you are doing this, check the expiry dates on everything you own. You may be astonished to see some long-expired items lurking at the back of the cupboard! Pitch these, and organize your shelves how you like them. Again, this first inventory will take a bit of time, but once you are organized, you can take inventory before you go shopping in much less time. You can take this sheet with you to the grocery store in case you forget just how much of something you already have. And while you are reorganizing, take the chance to get rid of the low-nutrient items such as chips, candy and sugary treats.

 

Now you translate what you've got into some healthy meals. The key is to plan dinner menus and some lunch choices for a week at a time. Look over your inventory and see what suggests itself to you, and write it down. Have some fun with your cookbooks and look up recipes that will use what you already own, in new and creative ways. Use up as much as you can of current inventory, and write down what you absolutely have to buy. Plan to make some double batches of meals that freeze well. That way you'll have something easy and healthy available for when life gets in the way, and you won't have to resort to takeout. Another benefit of this plan is that you will find some new recipes using ingredients that you haven't tried yet. It's an easy way to experiment with new vegetables or grains.

 

Of course, the best laid plans do go awry sometimes. If you had planned to thaw chicken breasts and marinate them, but forgot to do that in time, look over your planned menus for the rest of the week. See what you can shift around and do perhaps Thursday's dinner on Monday instead. The beauty of having everything you need for that week at hand means that you will avoid most of those last minute trips to the supermarket, and cut down on your bill too.

 

The next step is to create your grocery list, using your menus as a guide. You will shorten your shopping time, reduce your grocery bill, expand your healthy food repertoire, and avoid duplicating items you already have.

 

 (Down load links coming soon!)

GROCERY INVENTORY SHEET

Chicken

Beef

Pork

Seafood

Reg.breast

 

Roast

 

Chops

 

Haddock

 

Bls breast

 

Ground

 

Tenderloin

 

Shrimp

 

Legs

 

steak

 

Loin roast

 

Trout

 

Thighs

 

stew

 

bacon

 

salmon

 

ground

 

burgers

 

hams

 

Shr. ring

 

 

 

 

 

Sliced ham

 

oysters

 

Frozen

Fresh Veg.

Canned

Tomato

 

Peas

 

Asparagus

 

Peas

 

Diced

 

Corn

 

Beans

 

Corn

 

Paste

 

Fruit

 

Broccoli

 

Lima

 

Sauce

 

cranberry

 

carrots baby

 

Green beans

 

Pizza sce

 

 

 

Carrots  reg.

 

Crm corn

 

Pasta sce

 

 

 

Celery

 

Baby corn

 

 

 

Legumes

 

Cauliflower

 

Bl olives

 

Fish

 

Black bean

 

Cucumber

 

Gr. olives

 

Clams

 

Chickpeas

 

Garlic

 

W. chestnut

 

Salmon

 

Kidney

 

Mushrooms

 

cranberry

 

shrimp

 

Mixt bean

 

Onions

 

Peaches

 

tuna

 

 

 

Peppers red

 

Pears

 

 

 

Soups

 

Peppers, other

 

Mandarin

 

Juices

 

Ch noodle

 

Romaine

 

pineapple

 

Apple

 

Mushroom

 

Head lettuce

 

applesauce

 

Grape

 

Tomato

 

Kale salad

 

Fruit mxt

 

Lemon

 

Other

 

Potatoes

 

 

 

Mixt

 

Ch stock

 

Shallots

 

Condiments

 

Clamato

 

Bf stock

 

Squash

 

Mustard rg.

 

Juice box

 

 

 

turnip

 

Dijon reg.

 

Clam juice

 

Oil/Vinegar

 

 

 

Dijon grainy

 

Sauces

 

Red wine

 

Miscellaneous

 

Dijon honey

 

Bl. bean

 

Balsamic

 

Popcorn

 

Ketchup

 

Shrimp

 

Cider

 

Cocoanut milk

 

Relish

 

Soy

 

w. wine

 

Almond  milk

 

Horseradish

 

Stir-fry

 

White

 

Rice milk

 

Plum sauce

 

Worchest.

 

Raspberry

 

Wild mush.

 

diana marinade

 

 

 

Canola

 

 

 

Soy sauce

 

Spreads

 

olive x. virgin

 

Fresh Fruits

 

Fish sauce

 

P. butter

 

Olive

 

Apples

 

BBQ sauce

 

apple butr

 

Sesame

 

Bananas

 

Dill pickles

 

Rasp. jam

 

 

 

Grapes

 

 

 

Straw jam

 

Dressings

 

Kiwi

 

 

 

marmalade

 

Caesar

 

Lemons

 

Cereals

 

honey

 

Cucumber

 

limes

 

Oatmeal

 

 

 

Balsamic

 

Oranges

 

Granola

 

 

 

Ranch

 

Strawberries

 

 

 

 

 

mayo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baking

 

Pasta/Grains

 

Coffee/tea/oth

 

Dairy

 

Bk pdr

 

wh. rice

 

Tea bags

 

w. milk

 

Bk soda

 

br. rice

 

Tea bags, decaf

 

Ch. milk

 

wh. flour

 

Linguine

 

Coffee, drip

 

Butter

 

ww. flour

 

Fettucine

 

Coffee, instant

 

Margarine

 

Gluten flr

 

Rotini

 

Herbal teas

 

Cr. cheese

 

Dry milk

 

Lasagne

 

Koolaid etc.

 

 chedder

 

w. sugar

 

Farfalle

 

Sweetener pkts

 

marble

 

b. sugar

 

Macaroni

 

Sugar Twin

 

Mozzarella

 

Icing sugar

 

Spaghetti

 

Coffee filters

 

Feta

 

Fruit sugar

 

Barley

 

 

 

Ricotta

 

Dry milk

 

Egg noodles

 

Pet Supplies

 

Parmesan

 

Yeast

 

Vermicelli

 

Cans wet food

 

Gruyere

 

Cocoa

 

Fusilli

 

Dry food

 

Brie

 

Bran

 

 

 

Treats

 

Sour cream

 

raisins

 

Bread/Crackers

 

Litter

 

Condns mlk

 

Salt

 

Bagels

 

toothpaste

 

eggs

 

Muffin cps

 

Gluten free cr.

 

toothbrushes

 

Pln yogurt

 

molasses

 

Pitas

 

 

 

 

 

Bran cereal

 

Soda

 

 

 

 

 

Cornstarch

 

Triscuits

 

Cleaning

 

Toiletries

 

Vanilla

 

Tortillas sm

 

Laundry soap

 

Shampoo

 

Vanilla bean

 

Tortillas lg

 

Bleach

 

Condition

 

Corn syrup

 

Taco shells

 

Fabric softener

 

Hair spray

 

Choc chips

 

Croutons

 

Spot -laundry

 

Hair gel

 

peppercorns

 

 

 

AP cleaner

 

Mousse

 

 

 

Paper Goods

 

Windex

 

Floss

 

 

 

Paper towels

 

Mr. Clean pads

 

Toothpaste

 

Herbs to buy

 

Toilet paper

 

Sponges

 

Body wash

 

 

 

Kleenex, lg

 

Windex

 

Ivory bars

 

 

 

Kleenex, sm

 

Tub cleaner

 

Sunblock

 

 

 

Napkins

 

Liq. dish soap

 

Deodorant

 

 

 

 

Dishwasher det.

 

Mouthwsh

 

 

 

Food Wrap

 

Liq hand soap

 

Bandaids

 

 

 

Foil, reg

 

Jet Dry

 

Body lotion

 

Drinks

 

Foil, nonstick

 

Toilet cleaner

 

Q tips

 

Water

 

Plastic wrap

 

Carpet spot cl.

 

Body lotion

 

Tonic

 

Ziplock,  md

 

Carpet cleaner

 

 

 

Iced tea

 

Ziplock, lg

 

Liq hand soap

 

 

 

Ginger ale

 

Zips,lunch

 

Lysol spray

 

 

 

Lemonade

 

paper bags

 

Lysol wipes

 

 

 

 

Kitchen bags

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green veg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toothpicks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compost bags

 

 

 

 

 

Deb Bailey Personal Trainer - in Home (Now On-line!)
Phone: 519-572-0986
debbailey@rogers.com
Kitchener, Ontario


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