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Tag: shopping

Stocking the Back-to-School Pantry

This is a guest post by Cindy Santa Ana, CHC. Know of a food blogger, nutrition guru, farmer or passionate storyteller who may be interested? Contact us or provide details in your comment.

As summer winds down, it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to be packing in those lunch boxes, snack bags, and what you’ll be feeding the kiddos when they come bounding off the bus. First and foremost is to feed them a nutritious, protein-packed breakfast to start their day. And, no, a Pop-Tart doesn’t count. Those tasty pastries are essentially a giant candy bar filled with sugar, HFCS, trans fats, artificial colors and sodium. Don’t get me wrong, I loved them growing up, but the over 50 ingredients inside can lead to a myriad of health problems down the road and a sugar crash before they even finish first period.

A great start to the day could include a scrambled egg with whole grain toast, whole grain waffle with peanut butter, oatmeal with berries, or a protein smoothie (blend berries, whey protein powder, nut butter, spinach, yogurt, milk or milk alternative).

There are many prepackaged options out there for lunches, but be careful of dangerous preservatives, trans fats, excessive amounts of sodium and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) that are often laden in those foods. The worst offenders are Lunchables, 100-calorie snacks, packages of chips, cheez-its and juice boxes. The winner for worst offender is the Uncrustable sandwich. It contains 38 ridiculous ingredients (5 of which are sugar and more than a dozen are chemicals) like HFCS, trans fats, sorbates, sulfates, and phosphates. A simple PB & jelly takes 1 minute to make – please make them from scratch. I’m disgusted that my children’s school offers these as alternatives to a hot lunch.

So, here’s my shopping list for the Back-to-School Pantry:

  • Lots of whole fruits – bananas, organic apples, organic peaches, pears, watermelon slices, organic grapes, organic berries or melon balls/cubes, orange slices, small boxes of organic raisins. Make a fun fruit kebab! Whole fruits provide fiber, potassium, antioxidants and tons of vitamins that they need for fuel during the day. (I suggest the organic option of those fruits listed on the Dirty Dozen). Remember to shop/eat seasonally – some of these fruits won’t be available this fall and winter.
  • Trail mix – make your own with raw, unsalted nuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, chopped pitted dates, small amount of chocolate chips & dried apricots. (NO M&M’s!!)
  • Wraps – I like whole grain options to wrap up turkey slices, PB& jelly, cream cheese and veggies, chicken salad, tuna salad
  • Whole grain English muffins (make mini-pizzas or slather w/ PB & jelly)
  • Organic string cheese
  • Newman’s Own High Protein Pretzels
  • Gluten-free? Buy large lettuce leafs and wrap over creamy chicken salad, tuna salad with lots of crunchy pickles, turkey slices (not deli meat)
  • Make extra for dinner. Leftovers make for a great school lunch. Pack hot items in stainless steel or a thermos to retain their heat. My kids’ faves are homemade chicken strips, leftover quinoa spaghetti and ravioli.
  • Unsweetened organic apple sauce
  • Plain organic yogurt – place in a blender with berries, kale, nut or sunflower butter, process and freeze in a flexible popsicle mold
  • Organic ham and cheese roll ups
  • Veggies – sliced cucumbers with hummus, organic celery with nut butter and raisins, carrots with hummus or homemade ranch dip, red & yellow pepper slices with hummus or dip, kale chips
  • Whole grain crackers, like Triscuits or Multi-Seed (Goldfish don’t make the cut)
  • Brown rice cakes, real popcorn (not microwaved in a chemical-filled bag)
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Roasted chickpeas with honey & cinnamon
  • Whole grain waffles (great for after school snacks topped with PB)
  • Reusable bottle of ice cold water – no sugary juice needed

It’s important that lunch contain a protein item, a whole grain carb option, fruit and lots of water. Kids don’t need a sugary treat or cookie for lunch. Between all the treats and birthday parties at school, they get enough sugar! They need a highly nutritious meal that can carry them through the rest of the day for optimal learning.

Some of my favorite containers:

Top photo by o5com via Flickr


About the author:
Cindy Santa Ana, CHC

Cindy Santa Ana is a Certified Health Coach dedicated to helping clients discover the healing properties of real food. Successfully healing her own allergies, high cholesterol and migraines with health-promoting foods and exercise was the catalyst that transformed Cindy’s life, health and profession, and she is passionate about sharing this information with others. www.UnlockBetterHealth.com


Kids Konserve Set of 2 Leak-Proof Stainless-Steel Food Containers

Lunchskins Sandwich Bag (in Mango Slices) and Two Snack Bags (in Berry Flower & Green Stripe)

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Picture this: You head into Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee for your favorite morning vice. You’re trying to be more eco, so you hand the barista a glass canning jar to fill up. Wait, what? Yes, you read that correctly. The brilliant minds behind this amazingly simple idea created Cuppow; a thin, plastic “sipping” insert that turns a wide-mouthed canning jar into your daily travel mug. When you think about it, it just make sense. Canning jars are made from heat-resistant glass, they are cheap, pretty durable, and most of us already have a few laying around. Joshua Resnikoff and Aaron Panone are the genius minds behind this ultra cool device and for $7.99* you get a reusable, BPA free, dishwasher safe, 100% recyclable Cuppow. Let’s not forget the street cred you’re going to earn toting one of these babies around. Must. Have. One. Now.

Watch this 1 minute video to see Cuppow in action. For more information and to order your own, visit: cuppow.com.

CUPPOW! from Paper Fortress on Vimeo.

 


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Tailgating amongst 100,000 Tiger fans at a LSU football game is a experience not to be missed. You know it must be special when you learn that thousands of the purple-and-gold clad Louisianians there, don’t even have a ticket to the game.  While chips and dips may make an appearance, it’s the cast iron cauldrons of jambalaya, gumbo and Boudin that take center stage. These Southerners don’t mess around with anything but the best when it comes to college football. And when it comes to cookware, it’s cast iron all the way.

There are a ton of reasons to make the switch to cast iron cookware. Perhaps the most important is that of safety. If you are still using non-stick pans, bakeware and griddles, take the time to understand the risks before you whip up your next dish. Here are the top 6 reasons why people are choosing to go back to basics with cast iron:
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After a session of A&E’s Horders (why can I not stop watching that show?), my hubby flipped to TLC where the show Extreme Couponing was on. Have you seen this series? If not, here is the quick overview: TLC follows families who uses hundreds of coupons on each grocery trip to get free stuff. Picture 3-4 carts overflowing with boxed food, toiletries and household goods on every visit to the market. Inevitably, you will get to see two things: first, the “magic” at the cash register when the $600 grocery bill turns into a $10 bill after all the coupons and store discounts have been applied. Second, the crazy amount of space required in the basement or garage to store hundreds of tubes of toothpaste, more deodorant than anyone can use in a lifetime, and canned goods with sophisticated methods of can rotation to combat expiration dates.

At first it sounds good. All I have to do is collect coupons and I too can have $1000 worth of groceries for $50? Yes, until you figure out what exactly you are getting for your new part-time job (some spend up to 30 hours a week on coupon collection and management). The short answer: crap. Okay, maybe I’m being a wee bit harsh. A coupon for toilet paper is great. The one for 10 frozen dinners for $10, not so much. When you start to see what these Extreme Couponers are buying, you realize there is no real food to be seen.
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Opera Girl Goes Gluten Free

This is a guest post by Opera Girl Cooks. Be Food Smart showcases voices from all fronts of the food movement. Know of a blogger, farmer or passionate food writer who may be interested? Contact us or provide details in your comment.

The last month has brought many changes to my life. I’ve graduated with a masters degree, moved to San Francisco, ditched my car for a bike, and met Gluten-Free Boy, a wonderful guy who happens to eat a gluten-free diet. If I’ve learned anything in this last month, it’s to take things as they come, as life is bound to throw you curve balls when you least expect them.
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I couldn't resist using this picture.

I learned to cook with my daughter. We started a year and half ago and now both love it. If you follow this blog, you probably already know I didn’t always love cooking. My hubby is a great cook, but me, not so much. Or that is, until I actually started cooking. You can’t call yourself a bad cook until you do it on a regular basis. Once I started measuring flour and sauteing broccoli with my little helper, things just started to taste good. My 3-year old can’t wait to whip up pancake batter or prepare a green salad. She gets out her own plastic knife, cutting board, and stool and is thrilled as she cuts the bell peppers into strips. If you are not already cooking with your kids, check out these ten reasons to bring Olivia and Ethan into your kitchen.
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About 5 years ago, my hubby and I got serious about religiously shopping with our canvas bags. We’d get home, unpack the groceries and still be left with 5-7 plastic bags. Why you ask? Two words: fresh produce.

Virtually everywhere you can shop, be it the grocery store, mega-store, CSA, or farmer’s market, provides plastic produce bags or houses their fresh fare in plastic containers, plastic baskets, or plastic mesh. The plastic bags serve several purposes: (1) provides a vestibule for you to place your lettuce in (2) prevents oranges from rolling around your shopping cart or basket (3) allows the cashier to visually identify your apples and differentiate between the Pink Lady and the Gala (4) contains your peppers in a “weightless” material so they are easily and accurately weighed or counted.

A standard trip to our farmer’s market reveals an interesting irony. Almost everyone carries reusable shopping bags, handmade African baskets, or is pushing some sort of cart, but they all contain a mass of plastic bags with their individual purchases. That kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?
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