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Updated TJ’s Shopping List

I am a loyal shopper of Trader Joe’s.

I discovered this find a couple of years ago and have never turned back. They have great, healthy selections with very reasonable prices. Although, like every supermarket, not everything they sell is “healthy”. You still have to read packages and ingredients.

I published this list quite a while ago and have since learned even more about healthier choices and selections. Plus, TJ’s has expanded it’s organic/non-GMO offerings – always a plus!

As before, I am not suggesting everything on this list is the perfect balance of nutrition, but most on the list are excellent choices. I have spent the time reading the packages and narrowing down selections.

Here ya go:Healthy-Nutrition-For-Optimal-Tennis-Fitness

Breads/Pastas/Crackers

Ezekiel Bread

Organic French Baguette

Organic Shells and White Cheddar Mac & Cheese (for the kids)

 

Organic Tri-Color Pasta

Organic Tri-Color Quinoa

Organic Brown Rice (in freezer section)

Organic Quinoa (in freezer section)

Organic Peanut Butter Crackers

Organic Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs

Multi-grain and Flaxseed Water Crackers

Cereals

McCann’s Irish Oatmeal (non-GMO)

Organic Oatmeal (or Steel Cut)

Uncle Sam’s

Organic Nature’s Flax Plus

Organic Heart to Heart

Organic Heritage Flakes

Organic Golden Flaxseed

Organic Chia Seeds

Sauces / Condiments/ Dips

Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole (my addiction – half the calories of normal guac – it’s made with Greek yogurt!) – this is NOT organic, but I just can’t resist!

Organic Hummus

Balsamic Glaze (I use on mozzarella & tomato sandwiches, as salad dressing, as a dip…)

Organic Reduced Sugar Strawberry or Raspberry Preserves

Organic Ketchup

Organic Marinara Sauce

Organic Pure Grade A Maple Syrup

Cinnamon

Proteins

Individual Goat Cheese Packets

Organic Lite Cheese Sticks

Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter (drain the oil from the top before eating!) – this only has organic peanuts & sea salt…nothin’ else

Trader Joe’s Organic Hemp Protein (choc or vanilla)

Organic 1% Milk

West Soy Organic Unsweetened Vanilla Soy Milk (I use in smoothies)

Organic Eggs

Organic chickpeas / black beans / kidney beans

Goat Cheese Cream Cheese Spread (great tasting and none of the artificial ingredients and “guar gum” of regular cream cheese)

Trader Joe’s Organic Shredded Mozzarella

Trader Joe’s Organic 1% Lowfat Greek Yogurt (large and individual containers)

Organic Mixed Nuts

Crumbled Feta

Shaved Grana Padanoi Parmesan Cheese

Organic Ground Lean Beef

Organic Chicken Breast

Snacks (suggest eating the top 2 in moderation vs. sitting down with a bag, but a serving is perfectly fine)

Organic Tortilla Chips

Organic Popcorn

Go Macro Protein Bar

Kind Bars

Produce

Organic Raw Broccoli

Organic Celery

Organic Carrots

Organic Sugar Snap Peas

Organic Broccoli Slaw (mix with yogurt, a little mayo, salt, pepper)

Organic Apples

Organic Oranges

Organic Bananas

Organic Pears

Organic Sweet Onion

Organic Tomatoes

Organic Peppers

Organic Tri-Mix Salad (in a bag)

Organic Applesauce (used in baking)

Organic Dried Turkish Apricots

Organic Dried Cranberries

Vegetables/Fruit (in the frozen aisle)

Organic Superfood

Organic Spinach

Organic Broccoli

Organic Sweet Peas

Organic String Beans

Organic Sweet Corn

Organic Frozen Fruit

Miscellaneous

Raspberry/Lime Sparking Seltzer

Electrolyte Water (mostly for my kids)

Organic Low Sodium Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Organic Dark Chocolate

Organic Coffee (Decaf and Regualar) – grind yourself

Organic Coconut Oil

Ghee Butter

Organic Ketchup

Organic Sour Cream

Flowers – to treat yourself!

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The Italian Experiment

italiaThis April, we spent 10 days in Italy. Best. Trip. Ever. And we ate. Everything. Cheeses, oil soaked veggies, gelato, pizza, bread, pasta…All of it. The entire week, I did not have one stomach ache (typically I average 1-2/day) and I lost weight. Truth spoken people.

Aside from moving to Italy, there is a lesson in this – and it’s two-fold.

  1. Pure, unprocessed fresh food is good for your body. Period.
  2. Fat is good.

1st point – Italians barely use a refrigerator and do not load their pantries with snacks. Most of them use the college-sized dorm room versions our kids take to school. Everything is bought and made fresh daily. They do not manufacture or consume processed foods.

Now let’s focus on the 2nd point. As I’ve written about before, we have been taught to be afraid of fat and told “fat will make you fat”. I am here, as a witness, to tell you… that is a myth.

More and more we are learning that higher fat diets help balance hormones, make vitamins (A,D,E,K) more absorbable, promote skin, hair, cardiovascular & brain health, prevent diabetes and… help you lose weight. All calories are not created equal. That is a farce. But there is more to it. Some pure logic – some scientific.

The fat you will find in a frappuccino or a milkshake (kinda the same thing), in a processed protein bar, in frozen dinners, in cookies or even in over-the-counter cheese is not the fat I am referring to. These processed fats are not pure, fresh or organic. They are simply that – processed. And your body does not know what to do with them – so the chemicals are converted to fat in your body.

Enter the scientific: The hormonal effect of food is a much bigger part of the equation and is the most important factor when it comes to fat loss. Namely, insulin (the fat-storage hormone, not fat-releasing). According to Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS – author of Smart Fat: Eat More Fat, Lose More Weight. Get Healthy Now, “the American high-carb, low-fat diet…causes a lot of insulin to be released. When insulin is high, the fat cells lock their doors and won’t release their goodies…and fat can’t be burned for fuel.”

Here’s the kicker. Carbs and protein effect insulin levels. Fat? Not-at-all. And it produces more energy per gram than any other food group. And this all works when you eat “smart fats.”

Smart fats include:

Extra virgin olive oil (hello, Italia)
Fish oil
Wild salmon
Nuts
Coconut, palm & nut oils
Dark chocolate (Italia, there you are again)
Free range, organic eggs
Fats from grass-fed organic meats

Toxic fats include:

Factory farmed meat on a grain-fed diet
Man-made processed fats and foods
Processed omega 6 veggie oils (corn, soybean, canola)
Fats damaged in cooking (see previous blog: Best Oils To Cook With)

So, the high-fat, high-fiber, high flavor, moderate protein-rich foods consumed in Italy proved to be the winners.

Try it. See how you feel and if you notice a difference. And always remember to source your fruits, veggies and proteins organically as much as possible.

To leave a comment on this article or any other blog entry, please fill in the “Leave a Comment” box under each blog entry on our site: Heels to Laces.

 

 

  • Sonja Gamgort

    A+ post! Should we skip the store bought packaged pasta then? Would love to look deeper at the case for eating grass fed meats versus grain fed!

    • Debra

      Organic fresh pasta is your best option. Definitely avoid grain fed meats if possible.

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Where Do You Rank?

Most of your know about my previous crusades to tackle the disappointing lunch choices that our children are offered in school. And, that the average American diet has been a point of contention …known to be full of processed foods, artificial ingredients and a lack of nutritional fruits and veggies.

A recent article in the NY Times this month provided some very interesting facts. “The top four sources of calories in the average American child’s diet are grain-based desserts, pizza, soda and sports drinks, and bread.” One-third…yes, 1 out of every 3 children, eat fast food every single day and more than 90% do not eat enough veggies.  And, one of the driving forces of this trend relates back to the $2 billion a year spent on advertising unhealthy food and beverages directly to children. Of course they want the Happy Meal that gives them a “free” Star Wars figure!

The article included a chart from Business Insider of “25 foods that make up most of the calories Americans eat”. Number one? Desserts – cakes, cookies, pies, donuts…”. The chart can be found below:

food chart

I struggle every day with what to do with this information. Why is it that there are not more regulations being put on food packaging? Why are we not educating the parents more?

Are some efforts happening? Yes. But ever notice how slow it is taking? Big food giants are not going to let that happen so easily. “It’s all about the money, money, money.”

The US Gov’t just released their new dietary guidelines…which happens every 5 years. It does support some key common denominators: Less sugar, more healthy fat, more non-processed protein, more fruits & veggies, lower sodium and a healthy balance. Gold star to big gov’t on the effort…but how does this get communicated more effectively to our children?

I believe our children do need to be educated and the schools are the place to start. I also believe a lot of it stems from the parents. I find many parents are trying to make smart choices – they exercise, try to eat fairly clean and avoid desserts and processed foods. However, much of this does not translate to their own children.  It is so important for parents  to practice what they preach for themselves and their children. If they would never eat chicken nuggets, neither should their children.

I want to do my small part. I am running another 6 week fitness and nutrition program for children ages 9-12 from Feb 19th – March 25th in Summit on Fridays from 4:15-5:15. If you are interested, please visit my Facebook page or email me directly: dakarrat@yahoo.com.

Youth fitness class flyer 1-16-16 FINAL1

 

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