Monday, May 9, 2011

Food Pantry Makeover

Eating clean does not mean that the food budget has to go up. You can make small, simple changes that are better for you and doesn't cost more than what you are buying now. At Walmart, a box of pasta is $1. Whether it's white or wheat, it doesn't make a difference. They both are $1. So why continue buying the white pasta? A loaf of white bread and wheat bread are side by side in the grocery store for $3 (well, $2.88 if you want to be exact). You can easily switch to wheat for both of these options without spending 1 cent more than you usually would.

Let me also tell you why whole wheat is better. The wheat grain has three parts- the bran, germ, and endosperm. White pasta is so processed that it is heated until nothing is left but the endosperm (the same applies to white flour too). The end result? A longer shelf life and it becomes more bug resistant. The bran and germ are good for you though! They have fiber, vitamin E, B6, zinc, and folic acid. Fiber is super important because fiber helps you feel full after a meal. White, processed pasta, flour or bread, doesn't have this and can lead to overeating on calories and carbs with little to no nutritional value.

Rice is another staple in our house. Brown rice is a great source of magnesium, iron, selenium, manganese, and vitamins B1, B2, B3,& B6. White rice has the same calories, carbs, and protein as brown rice, but just without all the vitamins and minerals. White rice is stripped of these things so it can cook faster and have a longer self life. You can buy a bag of white rice or brown rice for under $1. Pick the brown rice!!!

Making simple snack swaps that are healthier doesn't have to cost more either. Instead of packaged "fruit" snacks, buy fresh fruit! Instead of so called "healthy" granola bars which are full of sugar and include ingredients you can't pronounce, make a big batch of your own granola bars (recipes coming soon!). Instead of a bag of crackers which have little to no nutritional value, you can't pronounce the ingredients, and are basically all carbs, buy a huge bag of trail mix at Costco or Sam's and divide them into 1/2 cup or 1 cup serving sizes in small baggies. The healthy fats will fill you up, give you energy and tons of nutrients and vitamins, and includes protein.

Switching your vegetable or canola oil for olive oil is another easy swap. We buy cold pressed extra virgin olive oil which is definitely better than "regular" olive oil, but it does cost a little more. Regular olive oil is still way better for you than vegetable or canola oil though and costs exactly the same!

So make those changes to your food pantry. They won't cost you anything extra and you will be getting so much more nutritional value from your foods!

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