So if you haven’t guessed it by now my family is trying to make mealtime a healthier experience. Personally, we get a great deal by getting our produce from a co-op and buying our meat in bulk. I’ve literally slashed our grocery budget to around $200 per month (that feeds 5), plus we have a great variety of fruits, vegetables, and high quality meat to choose from! But what if you don’t have the options that we have? How do you still buy healthful foods at the grocery store? I mean even people like me still have to go to the grocery store to purchase milk and cheese.
Tips to help you make healthier food purchases:
- Shop the perimeter of the store for the freshest, nutrient-rich foods including brightly colored fruits such as blueberries, strawberries and oranges and vibrant green, red, yellow and orange vegetables like tomatoes, spinach and orange bell peppers. The more colorful a fresh food is the higher in nutrient and cancer-fighting anti-oxidants.
- Choose whole grain, fortified and fiber-rich bread and whole-grain pasta products instead of white breads and pastas.
- Select lean ground beef that is at least 90% lean for hamburgers, chili or other dishes that use ground beef.
Additional healthy choice tips:
- Always eat breakfast and include a lean protein when you can.
- Make an easy breakfast or snack from low-fat yogurt and fresh fruit.
- When snacking, choose brightly colored red, green, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy or lean beef jerky.
- Make a healthy sandwich using whole-grain breads and lean protein such as roast beef and top with dark green lettuce and bright red tomatoes.
- Turn a salad into an entrée by including fruits, vegetables and a lean protein such as grilled steak. (Just like last week’s recipe challenge!)
The USDA has come out with a new healthy eating guide which replaces the Food Guide Pyramid called My Plate. It’s basically a simpler way of looking at what you put on your plate during mealtime. Simpler means easier!
Portion size is always something of a mystery! But you can create the Perfect Plate using the USDA My Plate guide:
- Start with a small plate that measures 9 – 10 inches across (instead of the huge plate many of us are accustomed to).
- Fill half the plate with colorful fruits and vegetables – the more color you have, the more vitamins and nutrients you are consuming!
- One fourth of your plate should be whole grains for fiber and folate.
- The other fourth of your plate should be lean protein – a good rule of thumb for a portion is about the size of a deck of cards.
- You should also have one serving of dairy with your meal – older children, teens and adults need three cups a day while children 4 to 8 years old need 2 ½ cups and children 2 to 3 years old need 2 cups. (per USDA guidelines)
I want to add one more tip of my own! Over the summer last year I began using Healthy Steps portion control kitchen tools to help me gauge what the correct amount of food I placed on my plate. Healthy Steps has a myriad of tools to choose from including perfectly proportioned serving spoons, spatulas, dressing lips, cheese graters, and more. Check out all their tools HERE. I lost 30 pounds in 3 1/2 months just by eating the right amount of food–no exercising!
Now here’s a protein and fiber packed recipe perfect for the grilling season coming up!
Dijon Wine Steak Kabobs with Mushroom Wild Rice (rate the recipe HERE)
- 1 lb boneless beef round tip steak, 1
- 1/2 small red onion in 3/4
- 1 small yellow summer squash, cut lengthwise in half in 1
- 1 small red or green bell pepper, in 1
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons coarse-grain Dijon-style mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse grind black pepper
Ingredients: Mushroom Wild Rice
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups thinly sliced assorted wild mushrooms (oyster, shiitake, cremini)
- 1 package long grain rice and wild rice blend (6 ounces)
1. Cut beef steak into 1-1/4″ pieces. Combine marinade ingredients in small bowl. Place beef and marinade in food-safe plastic bag; turn to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 6 hours or as long as overnight, turning occasionally.
2. Soak eight 9″ bamboo skewers in water 10 minutes; drain. Remove from marinade; discard marinade. Alternately thread beef, onion, squash and bell pepper evenly onto skewers.
3. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms; cook and stir until tender. Remove and keep warm. Meanwhile cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and butter. When rice is done, stir in mushrooms. Keep warm.
4. Place kabobs on grid over medium , ash-covered coals. Grill covered 8-10 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 9-11 minutes) for medium rare (145 degrees) to medium (160 degrees) doneness, turning occasionally. ALTERNATIVELY you may place on a roasting rack in 450 F oven set to broil for about 10 minutes.
5. Serve kabobs over Mushroom Wild Rice.
Only 360 calories per serving!
Disclosure: I am being compensated by the Texas Beef Council. All opinions are my own (as always!). I am not being compensated by Healthy Steps. Healthy Steps and the Texas Beef Council do not endorse each other (that I am aware). I may be compensated if you click the Zaycon Foods link in the first paragraph. I am not compensated if you click the co-op link (and neither is anyone else). None of the companies endorse each other listed in this post. Just my favorites that I am passing along.