Planning is needed to make the best food choices while in the supermarket.

Want to Save Time and Money in the Supermarket?

FOLLOW THESE STEPS TO GET THE MOST OUT OF EACH TRIP TO THE SUPERMARKET

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so the post has been reproduced here.

Anyone who goes food shopping on a regular basis knows that supermarkets can be intimidating places. With over 80,000 items on the shelves, you are bombarded with decisions from the minute you push your cart through the revolving doors until you pick the right check-out lane on your way out.

What was once a simple trip to buy groceries has now become an excursion where you can purchase everything from pate to patio furniture. Even if you’re shopping for the same items each visit, the displays, prices, and available merchandise are constantly changing, so you’re never sure got what you came for. There are times I’ve felt I’ve needed a Ouija board to figure out where they put the salsa!

If that sounds familiar, don’t despair.

By doing a little preparation before each trip to the supermarket you can over-ride the confusion and take advantage of what’s on sale, avoid impulsive purchases, and have everything you need for all your meals. That adds up to big savings and better food choices for you and your family.

Follow these steps to make each shopping trip an opportunity to invest in good nutrition and have meals your family will love without spending any extra money.

  1. Start by looking at your household calendar to see who will be home for what meals in the week ahead.
  2. Decide what meals you are shopping for and how many people will be eating them from home.
  3. Review the store circular to identify any specials you would like to take advantage of.
  4. Go through your coupons to see which ones you can use.
  5. Create a basic menu plan to cover the days you’re shopping for by filling in the key foods or recipes you want for each meal.
  6. Check your recipe files to see what other ingredients you may need for the dishes you will be preparing.
  7. Write your shopping list in sections based on food categories or store layout, such as Produce, Meats, Dairy, Breads, Frozen, Staples, Condiments, Beverages, etc.
  8. Grab your reusable shopping bags and head to the store ready to cross things off as you load them in your cart.

Would you rather spend 15 minutes to plan your meals before you start shopping or an extra 30 minutes roaming around the store trying to decide what to buy?

Food Trends Forecast What We’ll Eat in the New Year

Best Top Ten Food Trends for 2012 From The Everyday Dietitian

TOP TEN FOOD TRENDS FOR THE NEW YEAR PICKED BY THE EVERYDAY DIETITIAN

The final predictions have been made for what we’ll see on restaurant menus in 2012 and what foods we’ll be serving at home. Based on all the forecasts from all of the experts, I have prepared my list of the Top Ten Food Trends I found most favorable, foreboding or fascinating for the coming year.

The Hartman Group – This market research firm studies consumer culture and behavior and sees a continuing shift away from traditional meals. Their forecast for 2012 and beyond has is eating alone more, less eating together as a family and more doing your own thing, more snacks/ fewer meals, distinct “food occasions” replacing traditional meal categories and food decisions for “immediate consumption” based on mood or whimsy.

Technomic – The visionaries at this food service research and consulting firm predict the uncertain economy will make consumers less willing to take risks when dining out, so familiar foods will be given a new twist instead. Expect innovations in sandwiches, wraps, pizza and pasta. Cost-consciousness will also be seen by the use of simpler ingredients, such as beans, artisan grains and cheaper cuts of meat, presented as “rustic fare” in place of premium ingredients.

Mintel Group, Ltd. Anticipating ongoing economic and health concerns, these forecasters say restaurants will feature more “Double-Sided” menus giving consumers the choice of healthy options on one side and the usual indulgences on the other. This concept will also allow restaurants to offer premium and value pricing on opposite sides of the menu.

Phil Lempert’s Supermarket NewsSupermarket Guru Phil Lempert describes “Xtreme Home Cooking” as a way people will save money in 2012. Home cooks will strive to make the ultimate “value meal” by placing price and taste ahead of convenience. Lempert also says stores will be catering to the 76 million baby boomers now turning 65 who will control over half of the $706 billion spent on groceries by 2015! As the largest food influencers and purchasers, manufacturers will be motivated to develop more products featuring health and wellness benefits.

Small Business Food Trends – Entrepreneurial restaurant owners looking for an edge will be serving more appetizers or small plate portions on their menus. Customers love them because they allow sampling and sharing, appeal to health-conscious diners and are less expensive than entrees. Chefs like them because they can experiment with new ingredients and recipes without great risk.

Leatherhead Food Research They predict a continuing rise in the sales of “free-from” foods, such as free-from gluten, lactose, soy or nuts, to meet the demands of both the growing aging population and more health and nutrition conscious younger consumers.

Functional Ingredients and Nutraceuticals World – Both of these ingredient suppliers anticipate consumers will continue their search for “clean” labels. They say “pure” is the new “natural” and the meaning of “green” has diversified beyond responsible and sustainable to also mean ethical, less wasteful and more authentic.

The Food Channel A key trend in their sights for 2012 is more “Shopping Schizophrenia” with the revival of butchers, bakers and other specialty food shops right in your neighborhood. These Mom & Pop shops offer a more intimate shopping experience to compete with one-stop shopping in big box stores.

National Restaurant AssociationKids are prominent in the NRA’s vision for 2012. They see more healthful kids’ meals on restaurant menus, children’s nutrition as a culinary theme, more whole grain items in kids’ menus and smaller versions of adult meals served as “children’s mini-meals.”

American Council on ExerciseWeight loss won’t just about diet and exercise in 2012, it will include “lifestyle coaching.” Gyms will staff nutritionists, physical therapists and psychologists in addition to personal trainers to conduct “wellness programs.” Local employers will use these services to try to keep their work force healthy. There will be more mobile apps for interactive and online workouts accessible from smartphones and tablets.

What’s on your list of Top Ten Foods to Eat in 2012?

Control unwanted calories when eating out to control weight

Calorie Control Means Weight Control When Eating Out

USE THESE 10 TIPS TO KEEP UNWANTED CALORIES OUT OF YOUR DIET WHEN EATING OUT

Eating out is no longer just for special occasions. For many, eating in restaurants is a means to survival. But with it come all those extra calories from larger portions, hidden ingredients and menu temptations that can wreak havoc on any diet.

If you are trying to control your weight, you’ve got to control those extra calories when eating out. This doesn’t mean you should only order broiled fish and undressed salad. To control unwanted calories you’ve got to control the situation.

Here are 10 Tips for Calorie Control When Eating Out that put you in charge.

  1. Choose wisely when deciding where to eat so you know in advance what’s on the menu.
  2. Decide what you want to eat before looking at the menu to avoid being distracted by tempting choices.
  3. Don’t arrive famished, it’s much harder to resist temptation.
  4. Refuse the complementary bread, tortillas or fried noodles if offered.
  5. Don’t be shy. Ask how things are prepared and request what you want – you’re paying the bill.
  6. Skip the shared appetizers and just pass them along if they weren’t what you ordered.
  7. Listen to your stomach. When you start to feel satisfied, STOP eating and pack up the unfinished food for another meal.
  8. Beware of the effects of alcohol. Cocktails contain calories AND impair your judgment about how much you’re eating.
  9. Fit the meal into your day by making adjustments at other meals so you have room for some of the extras calories.
  10. Remember, there is always tomorrow. When everything just looks too good to pass by, plan a return visit for another meal.

How will you be controlling calories on your next meal out?

Stress can be removed from holiday traditions so original intent can be enjoyed

Don’t Let Stress Become a Tradition at Holiday Meals

SUGGESTIONS TO REDUCE HOLIDAY STRESS AND ENJOY THE MEANINGFUL TRADITIONS

The biggest family meal of the year is just a week away, and that can trigger a big jump in the stress levels of everyone at the table. Traditions are supposed to provide a reassuring foothold in otherwise uncertain times. But that can only happen when everyone shares a common memory of how and why the tradition started. Once the memory of those origins fades and expectations change, anxiety sets in.

Of course, any six year old can tell you the story of the first Thanksgiving meal shared by the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. Or at least the version taught in schools. Yet somewhere along the way the tradition that evolved from that event got side tracked into debates over who bakes the best pie and disputes about how the kids are being raised.

Family and friends who don’t get together often may indeed have different expectations about a lot of things. But Thanksgiving is not the day to express our differences. It’s about a tradition of giving thanks, no matter what is on the menu or who is winning the football game.

Here are some suggestions to help make your day less stressful and a whole lot more enjoyable for generations to come.

  1. Smile – It’s the quickest way to relieve tension. The change in countenance on your face does wonders for you and anyone around you. Try it, you’ll be amazed!
  2. Breathe – Take a deep breath, hold it a few seconds, then exhale fully. It’s called a “sigh of relief” because it has the power to relieve what worries you.
  3. Refocus – Stop fretting about the crumbs in the carpet and look at the faces of those in the room and what each person means to you. When you stay focused on the big picture, the little stuff won’t matter.
  4. Love – Give and get it as often as you can. Find a small child to hug or a furry pet to pet. Look into the eyes of someone dear to you and tell them how much you really love them. The expression of unconditional love is powerful antidote to all that ails you.
  5. Forgive – First be prepared to forgive yourself if everything is not perfect. Then be willing to forgive others who have been thoughtless so you don’t have to feel the burden of that resentment.
  6. Simplify – Take some short-cuts, scale back, do less. Remember why you’re together.
  7. Help – As in “I need help!” No one knows you need it until you ask.
  8. Stretch – Give yourself a mini-massage by tightening and relaxing individual muscle groups, working from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. Close your eyes while doing it and visualize a peaceful place.
  9. Listen – Find someone in the group you haven’t seen in a while and ask them to tell you what they’ve been up to. Offer praise for their accomplishments and they will be immediately uplifted, and take you along on their high.
  10. Smile Again J – If this can lead to a good belly laugh, all the better!

Wishing You All A Traditional Thanksgiving Day Without Any the Stress!

How to select the right diet foods for your holiday menu

Diet Foods for the Holiday Menu

USE THIS CHECKLIST BEFORE SHOPPING FOR SPECIAL DIET FOODS

Preparing a holiday meal is no longer a matter of recreating the traditional family recipes handed down through the generations. Now more than ever people are following medically prescribed or self-styled diets that make menu planning a challenge. And when extended family members don’t gather around the table that often, it’s even harder to know who eats what?

Let me offer some advice.

If you’re hosting the meal, ask in advance about special food restrictions so you’re prepared. You don’t have to be a short-order cook, but you should have something on the menu for everyone. Recipes can be modified and alternate ingredients used to make them fit.

If you’re going to be a guest, don’t make assumptions about what will be served. Call ahead to explain not only what foods you can’t have, but what you can. Then offer to bring something from the “can eat” side of your diet.

Here’s a quick checklist of 10 lesser known diets to guide you before you go shopping:

Special Diet Checklist

  1. Baby Food Diet – Only allows pureed baby food in jars as snacks or for up to two meals a day
  2. Gluten-Free Diet – No croutons, bread stuffing, crumb-topping, rolls, pie crust
  3. Low Carb Diet – No potatoes, yams, winter squash, any of the gluten-free choices, anything candied, cranberry sauce, fruit, dessert other than nuts
  4. Halal Observant – No coffee, tea, alcohol, pork, gelatin, improperly killed animals
  5. DASH Food Plan – Very little added salt and mostly low sodium foods, no processed meats or high fat cuts, only low fat or fat free dairy products, lots of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds.
  6. Low Purine Diet – No organ meats, gravy, goose, butter and spreads, nuts, cream
  7. Macrobiotic Lifestyle – Depending on the stage, they may eat nothing more than brown rice or be a vegetarian who eats fish, but preferably only locally grown foods that are minimally processed
  8. Raw Food Diet – No cooked or commercially processed plant foods, although blending, pureeing and dehydrating them is acceptable
  9. Stone-Age, Caveman or Paleo Diet – Only those foods that could be obtained by hunting, fishing or gathering, nothing grown by modern agriculture or made by food processing
  10. Low Residue Diet – No whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, coconut, raw vegetables, edible fruit skins or seeds
Pumpkin deserves a place on the menu all year long for its high nutritional value.

What’s So Great About Pumpkins? Everything!

Pumpkins are a nutritious addition to the diet all year round

The capital O in October is just one of several reminders that it is the month that celebrates pumpkins! Of course, there is no reason to wait until the 10th month of the year (there’s another big circle) to enjoy this nutritious vegetable, but for most Americans, this is the season when they’re sure to have their fill.

Little Known Facts About Pumpkins

Pumpkins are believed to be native to North America, with the oldest pumpkin-related seeds found in Mexico and dated between 7000-5500 BC. Today they are grown on every continent except Antarctica. The U.S., Mexico, India and China are the biggest producers of pumpkin, with 95% of the U.S. crop grown in Illinois.

Pumpkin is included in cuisines around the world and used by veterinarians as a digestive aid for dogs and cats. It is also used raw as poultry feed and added to other animal food.

The current world record for the largest pumpkin weighed in at 1,810 pounds. There are also pumpkin chucking contests where various mechanical devices are used to see how far a pumpkin can be hurled. The world record was placed on September 9, 2010 using a pneumatic air cannon that fired a pumpkin 5,545.43 feet.

Pumpkins enjoy a special place in folklore where witches turn people into pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns ward off demons. In fiction pumpkins have run the gamut from being turned into a carriage for Cinderella and consumed as a favored drink by the students of the Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft in Harry Potter novels.

Important Nutrition Information About Pumpkins

Like most fruits and vegetables, fresh pumpkins are 90% water. And just like every other plant, they contain no cholesterol. One cup of boiled, drained and mashed pumpkin flesh contains these nutrients:

Macronutrients: Calories 49 , Fat 0g, Carbohydrate 12g of which naturally occurring sugar makes up 2g, Fiber 3g, Protein 2g.

Minerals: Potassium 565mg/16%*, Copper 0.2mg/11%, Manganese 0.2mg/11%, Iron 1.4mg/8%, Phosphorus 73.5mg/7%, Magnesium 22mg/6%, Calcium 36.7mg/4%, Zinc 0.6mg/4%, Sodium 2.5mg/0%.•

Vitamins: A 12231 IU/245%*, C 11.5mg/19%, B2 0.2mg/11%, E 2.0 mg/10%, Folate 22.0mg/6%, B1 0.1 mg/5%, B6 0.1mg/5%, Pantothenic Acid 0.5mg/5%, K 2.0mcg/2%

*Percentage of the Daily Value based on a 2000 calorie per day diet

Phytonutrients (plant nutrients that are neither vitamins nor minerals): Alpha and Beta carotenes, which can be converted into Vitamin A once consumed, and both Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which help protect the eyes from macular degeneration.

Uses Beyond Your Holiday Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkins are members of the winter squash family of vegetables and can be prepared in many of the same ways as members of that group, like butternut, Hubbard and turban squash. Whether you carve and cook your own or buy a canned pumpkin, it deserves a place on your menu all year long.

Here is a sampling of some of the many recipes you can find that include pumpkin:

Biscuits • Bread • Brownies • Brulee • Burgers • Cheesecake • Chili • Cookies • Crackers • Cream Cheese • Curry • Custard • Flan • Hash • Fudge • Muffins • Oatmeal • Pancakes • Pudding • Ravioli • Risotto • Salad • Scones • Smoothies • Soufflé • Soup • Stew • Waffles • Yogurt