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When the Servings Per Container “Varies”

Once upon a time when plates were not the size of serving trays,  our sense of a “portion” was much more likely to be in tune with what our body actually needed. These days, intuitive eating is “a thing” instead of just plain eating. Determining appropriate serving size is something we need to reteach ourselves after we’re old enough to read.

So maybe you do your homework and read food labels and try to keep in mind how many servings come in the container before absentmindedly dipping into the bag or breaking off a piece. But what to do when the Servings Per Container “varies.” Perhaps you think to you yourself “What the f*** is that supposed to mean? ”

Because I spent 4 years in grad school learning how much cheese is enough cheese, I can help you with this. Allow me to demonstrate using this week’s impulse buy form Trader Joe’s:Truffle Cheddar

Let’s do some Truffle Cheddar math:

  • One serving of hard cheese is 1 ounce.
  • There are 16 ounces in 1 pound.
  • The cost of this cheese is $9.99 per pound.
  • This particular hunk of cheese weighs 0.65 pounds (aka 65% of 1 pound—aka 65% of 16 ounces).
  • So… 0.65 x 16 = 10.4
  • This hunk of cheese weights 10.4 ounces.
  • There are 10.4 servings of cheese in this particular container.

For the sake of sanity, I would probably round this to either 10 or 11 servings. What you choose to do with that information is up to you, of course! I’m just saying, when it comes to ambiguous, confusing food labels, a reference point never hurts.

What’s your favorite cheese? 

 

Budget-Friendly Shopping List

After last week’s post on grocery shopping, I got a few requests for a list that would work for a tighter budget.

groceriesYou can actually  stock a pantry pretty well for very little cash. Here are some staples to have on hand so you can always whip up a tasty, healthy meal instead of ordering in!

Fruits & Vegetables

  • Greens-kale, spinach, etc
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli/Cauliflower
  • 2-3 Seasonal veggies such as brussels sprouts, squash, fiddleheads, asparagus, etc.
  • 1-2 Seasonal fruits such as plums, berries, fresh figs, cranberries, tomatoes, avocado, etc
  • Frozen non-seasonal fruits and veggies if preferred (ex: berries in the wintertime)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Canned tomatoes

Protein

  • Eggs
  • Canned or dried beans
  • Peanut butter

Dairy

  • Yogurt, plain, non-fat
  • Grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
  • Goat cheese

Grains

  • Old-Fashioned/Rolled Oats
  • Whole Wheat bread
  • Whole wheat pasta or brown rice
  • Whole grain cereal

Fats & Oils

  • Olive Oil

Misc

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Green tea
  • Coffee
  • Ground Flax
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Spices: salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, cumin, rosemary, oregano, etc,

My Grocery List

I recently received a request from the lovely Karen Skogland to do a grocery shopping post.

I’m not sure if I’ve written before about how much I love grocery shopping, but it’s one of my favorite day-to-day things. My hairdresser and I were laughing recently about how we kind of hate clothes shopping—we like to just go in and get out with what we came for ASAP—but love shopping for food. It doesn’t even feel like a chore! I love the whole experience of looking around, selecting the perfect produce, gathering together the components for a meal…it also satisfies the workaholic side of me that loves crossing items off a list.

Generally, I try to stick to the basics,  I usually allow myself one impulse buy per shopping trip. I find that budgeting for that keeps my finances in check without making me feel deprived or bored.

groceriesIn general, I keep a well-stocked pantry, so my weekly shopping list is not quite this long. Here’s what I would buy if I were moving—or returning from a long trip and had basically nothing left in the fridge or cabinets. This is not intended to be an Eat Like Me list, but more a glimpse into what one nutritionist keeps in her kitchen.

Read More »

Back to the Life

Happy Monday! I am so glad I took today off because I am still feeling all the miles I walked in Toronto this past weekend. I’ll be back with a re-cap post. After I finish putting away all these groceries…groceries

How was your weekend? Do you ever take a day off after a trip to play catch-up? 

Pumpkin Things

OMG so many pumpkin things at Trader Joe’s right now! And so many more to try…I allowed myself a few impulse buys yesterday afternoon on my after-work grocery run. Can’t wait to give these a try.

IMG_3568I am also amused that the pumpkin things match my orange kitchen: )

What was your last impulse buy? 

How much food could that $5 buy around the world?

It’s not just my New York sticker-shock-jaded brain talking: in the good ol’ U.S. of A, five dollars rarely buys you a filling meal—unless you’re willing to put in the time and elbow grease to turn a few humble ingredients into something. Think: soup, pasta, a lot of peanut butter sandwiches…

However, I’m sure I’m not alone in rolling my eyes over the fact that it’s not uncommon for to spend five dollars on, like, a Greek yogurt, a piece of fruit, and (maybe, depending on the priciness of the deli/convenience store/kiosk) a coffee. Kombucha, one of my guilty pleasures, sets me back around $3.50 a piece. To my credit, it’s not like I’m trying to feed a family, but still…

I always find it fascinating to see what a certain amount of money can purchase in other places. This video from Buzzfeed gives you a little glimpse into how much food that five dollars can buy around the world…

When it comes to food, what do you spend $5 on?

Choose Your Meat

I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but whenever I walk into a grocery store without a specific recipe in mind, I get overwhelmed when I get to the meat section. Even if I have the vague idea that I want to make something with, say, chicken in it over the course of the next few days, I often leave empty-handed, having talked myself into finding ways to use up things I already have on hand, like eggs, canned beans, or frozen fish.

Not that using what you have is a bad thing at all! It just gets a little repetitive sometimes—I’ve been eating a lot of salads and stir-fry concoctions. Note to self: plan ahead. I actually think meal-planning is really fun, and I also love coming across new resources and tools to make it happen.

I saw this great infographic floating around the internet for choosing the healthiest meat, and I wanted to share it with you guys.

Get health and fitness tips at Greatist.com

Could rebates on healthy foods boost sales?

I wonder if dark chocolate would be on the "healthy foods" list. A gal can dream...

I wonder if dark chocolate would be on the “healthy foods” list. A gal can dream…

A conversation I feel like I have all the time usually involves one of us saying at some point, “It’s not that healthy foods are too expensive, it’s that crappy food is too cheap!” And then we talk about farm subsidies and wax on about how nice it would be if fruits & veggies were subsidized by the government or if consumers were offered some sort of incentive to buy more good-for-you stuff, since potential prevention of chronic disease doesn’t exactly seem to be selling, like, apples.

A South African study where members of Discovery Health, the country’s largest private health insurance company, are provided rebates of 10% or 25% on healthful foods has shown some promise.  The program involves 800 supermarkets and 260,000 households. Researchers are finding that lowering the cost on items such as produce, whole grains, nonfat dairy items (a ~6,000-item list drawn up by nutritionists, doctors and others), purchase of these nutrient-dense foods increased. These foods are marked in grocery stores so consumers can locate them.

Roland Sturm, a study co-author and a senior economist at the nonprofit research organization Rand, noted that changes were proportional to the price changes, but said in a statement. “When there is a large gap between people’s actual eating behaviors and what nutritionists recommend, even a 25% price change closes just a small fraction of that gap.”

Cheers to that. While there’s no evidence that participating in the program reduces incidence of obesity, it’s still encouraging. While I’d encourage anyone to work toward a healthy body weight for their height and frame, it’s still better to be well-nourished than not.

Man, I wish my insurance company offered me rebates on produce. I realize this is the second post in, like, 3 days in which I wistfully mention something I’d like my insurance to help out with. I know I should be thankful I have it at all, but sometimes I feel like some suit in an office somewhere is laughing at me.

Do you think rebates on healthy food would be effective here? If you have it, what do you wish your health insurance covered? 

Do you wash your reusable bags?

I tend to be kind of a germ-phobe. Working in a hospital is, in some ways, perfect for me, since there’s always hand sanitizer or a sink just a few steps away. In fact, it’s policy to sanitize our hands before and after entering a patient’s room, so it’s kind of a relief not to stand out as the hypochondriac I am. Yes, I think there’s something to arguments that our anti-bacterial efforts are going to  f*** us over in the long run, but I can’t help it. I see a Purel dispenser, and my eyes light up.

In my personal life, I’m also known to be kind of fussy about not putting my handbag on my bed or shopping bags on the kitchen counter, and I had to give up on keeping a sponge by the sink because it just led to spiraling thoughts about spreading germs. This decision came after a guy tried to be nice by doing the dishes, opting for the pink sponge on the ledge instead of the dishwasher. Was I wrong to find that weird? When he left, I took the glasses and plates out of the cabinet and threw them right into the dishwasher. Yeah…Let’s not talk any more about my dating habits.

One thing I often overlook, though, is the inside of those grocery bags themselves. Like many folks, out of the interest of generating less waste/reducing the plastic bag pile in the closet, I often carry my own cloth shopping bag when I go food shopping. However, if I buy meat or fish, I prefer to just get a plastic bag for it because I’m squeamish about raw, drippy stuff.

Naturally, this article from the Boston Globe  and this article about a norovirus outbreak being linked to a reusable grocery bag got me all skeeved out by discussing the potential for cross-contamination and food-borne illness. I guess already throw my lunch bag into the wash, so what’s another piece of laundry? But wow. Ew.

Do you wash your reusable grocery bags? Do you think you’ll start? 

Deep purple thoughts for Saturday

I’m almost disappointed no one saw all those eggplants fall on me at Whole Foods this morning.

DEFINITELY not the eggplant I wanted

As a petite gal, grocery shopping can be something of an adventure in comic timing. It’s also a good time to practice my decision-making skills. Is xyz worth the reach? I guess you could look at it as a metaphor for dating. Or life—whichever one takes up more real estate in your brain.

But wow. There is nothing quite like when you take a risk, get on your tip-toes to grope around for that Good Eggplant you think you saw, only to wind up overwhelmed by a whole bunch of “Not the eggplant I wanted.”

Anyone agree with me on this?

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