Sundays are one of my all-time favorite days of the week. My parents really love Sundays and they've kind of passed that down to my sister and myself. Every Sunday morning they get coffee and tea together, and then do all their food shopping for the week at Trader Joe's and Sprouts, and sometimes Whole Foods too. Whenever Hank and I are in town we always go with them, and it's really fun to have this weekly tradition to look forward to. When we're up here at home, we usually do similar things, although with his current schedule it makes it a little hard. But Sundays to me are for getting ready for the next week, planning meals and solidifying schedules, and getting an overall sense of balance before the next week begins. I've written about this before, but Mondays always feel like a bit of a restart to me. I use Sundays to plan for this new week, and on Monday, no matter what happened the previous week, I can restart and have a fresh beginning.
Today I will be going food shopping, so I thought I would make a post of some of the "must-haves" I always get. I'm not going to include fresh veggies or fruits here because that list would be incredibly long, but I thought I would share a few of the special staple items that I've always loved and get every single week.
1) Ezekial bread products (especially the wraps!)
These products are some of my favorite things in the entire world! I eat at least one of their products a day. They're great for you, have a low glycemic index (which means they won't spike your blood sugar like many other "carb/bread type" items), they're organic, nutritionally-dense, and high fiber. They're also one of the few bread products out there that actually contain all 9 essential amino acids, low in fat, and contain no trans fat or cholesterol (nutritional info from various websites). I really enjoy their breads- especially the cinnamon raisin bread topped with almond butter and bananas, or just with plain butter as a treat- but they also offer a wide variety of other products as well. I am a huge fan of their English muffins- their cinnamon raisin is to die for, but their regular sprouted grains are great too. And then of course the wraps, which are one of my TOP five favorite food items (if you're curious, each HUGE wrap contains 150 cal, 4g fat, 6g protein, 5g fiber and 0g sugar!). You can buy these at your local health food store, in the the health food section of your regular grocer. Here are some ways I use their products:
Wraps: I love to make healthy pizzas on these. Simply use a toaster oven or regular oven, preheat it, and while it's getting warmed up take a tortilla and spread some tomato sauce on it. Then add tons of chopped up veggies, a bit of cheese if you eat dairy, top with a little sea salt, some nutritional yeast, oregano, whatever you want, and bake for a few minutes until the tortilla gets a little crispy. If you have cheese on it, just take it out once the cheese is melted! Slice it up and you have a super healthy pizza. So good. You can also make these pizzas using the Ezekial English muffins and they're delicious as well.
Here's an example of one my Ezekial pizzas- this one is extremely loaded with veggies so don't feel like you have to go that overboard! :)
Then here's a regular cheese and broccoli I made for Hank-
The wraps are also a delicious alternative to a typical tortilla or pita, and much healthier. You can use the wrap in place of regular bread for a sandwich, in place of chips for dips like hummus, or really for any use you can think of! My Mom loves to make bean burritos out of them- she simply fills up the wrap with beans and any other fillings she desires, folds it like a burrito, and cooks it in a pan on the stove top. Here's an example of a turkey sandwich I made using one:
I also love to use their bread as toast in the morning. It's SO filling, and truly delicious. I keep the bread in my freezer and toast them frozen. This way the huge loaf doesn't go bad. This particular breakfast I topped the toast with organic apple butter. Yum!
2) Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah)
I've posted about this wonderful, wonderful food numerous times, and with good reason, as it's a huge staple in our house. Quinoa is a bit of a super food, and is another complete protein item that contains all 9 essential amino acids. Compared to other grains, quinoa is higher in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc than wheat, barley, or corn (from bodyecology.com). Although it isn't really a grain (it's a seed!), I think of it as being in the pasta family and that's typically how we eat it. It's extremely easy to cook. All of you have to do is add two parts liquid (water or broth) to every one part quinoa. So, if you wanted to cook 2 cups of quinoa, you'd add in 4 cups of water. You simply add all of it into the pot at once, and wait for the liquid to boil out. Fluff with your fork and wa-la, you're done! It's super easy and is a great pairing to most dishes. Like I mentioned you can cook this with broth or water, and add in whatever your heart desires. It's extremely delicious on it's own with just butter and sea salt, but it's also great as an Italian dish (we add in tons of peppers and veggies with tomato sauce after it's cooked), or in place of rice in a stir fry type dish.
Here I added in tofu, veggies, beans and my favorite spicy condiment, SRIRACHA!
I've also used it as a healthy way to make stuffed peppers-
and as a great base for quinoa tabouli!
You can buy this in the bulk section of your health food store/regular grocer, or some places like Trader Joe's have it packaged for you and ready to go.
3) Almond milk
Our family love love loves almond milk. Years ago when we first learned about the negative health implications of soy products we cut back a lot on not just our tofu consumption but gave up soy milk as well. If you're curious about the problems with soy, check out this link: http://www.naturalhealthstrategies.com/dangers-of-soy.html, but remember that just because I agree with it doesn't mean that you have to! There are a million websites and books out there that back this up, but I'm sure there are some that hold fast to the opposite side of the coin. Anyway, when we ditched the soy milk, we replaced it with delicious almond milk! There are many different brands, and different varieties within those brands, but our everyday staple is Almond Breeze's Unsweetened Vanilla.
It's really smooth and really delicious. I use it in my morning cereal, or to thicken up my oatmeal. It's a great alternative to soy milk, and definitely worth a try if you're curious. It comes in both unrefrigerated containers (be SURE to refrigerate once you open it), and also in a bigger pre-chilled milk carton type container you can find in your milk section! Even Walmart is carrying this product now and I've seen both packaging at our local one when I've had the misfortune of finding myself in that horrid place. ;)
Each cup of the kind we like (pictured above) has just 40 calories. It's creamy, but not thick at all. I wouldn't call it watery either, it's definitely a step above the consistency of skim milk. Be sure to get the unsweetened version though, so you can avoid any added sugars. Basically, it's an all-natural, non-dairy beverage made from real almonds. It's sugar-free and contains no artificial sweeteners. It's gluten, cholesterol & lactose free, an excellent source of calcium and vitamins D & E, and a good source of vitamin A (stats via hungry-girl). You can also use in in cooking, smoothies, and a million other recipes.
Here's a photo of delicious almond milk in my morning cereal-
4) Greek yogurt!
Oh my gosh I love this stuff. It's so, so delicious but I will warn you right off the bat that is isn't for everyone. It's a LOT thicker than regular yogurt, and if you get the unsweetened, plain kind (my favorite), it has a very "plain yogurt" taste. There are many other types that have fruit added in, flavors, etc...but with those comes a lot of sugar so I really prefer to just get the regular and add in my own fruit! The neat part of Greek yogurt is how filling it is- it actually contains double the amount of protein than regular yogurt (typically 13-20g per container!), and is very low in calories, carbs, and due to the low-carbohydrate content there's less lactose which means it's easier to digest. You can use it in a variety of ways, but my favorite it just on its own, with fresh fruit!
5) Kashi products
I've been eating Kashi products forever and ever, and my favorite item would have to be their Go Lean cereal. However, if I'm not in the mood for cold cereal and instead want a hot and quick breakfast, but I don't have time to whip up some steel-cut oats, I reach for their instant oatmeal. Trust me when I tell you that this stuff is amazing. My FAVORITE flavor is the Go Lean Oatmeal with Honey and Cinnamon (see photo below) and that's the variety I'm going to recommend you try first if you've never had it before.
Here's how I make it: I use two packets, and empty them into a bowl. I then add in tons of fresh berries (typically blueberries and raspberries), and then some water as specified in the directions- less for thicker oatmeal, more for thinner. Then I pop it into the microwave for a minute, stir it, put it back in for another 30 seconds to a minute or so, then let it sit for a minute in there. When you take it out your oatmeal will be transformed into this amazingly delicious, piping hot breakfast that is seriously beyond scrumptious! The berries ooze into the grains, and I feel like it tastes like a huge bowl of pie. This stuff keeps me filled up for the entire morning and is incredibly healthy! Each packet has 150 cal and is loaded with fiber and protein. You don't have to use two packets but I like to so it fills me up.
These are just five of the many items we get every week, so let me know if you've found this interesting and if so I will continue to make little posts like this! I love food so much, and I love talking about it, blogging about it, etc. that I feel like I could write forever on this topic. And I do hope that you found something worthwhile here. Perhaps you found something new to try or a new idea for an old favorite, or maybe you just got excited about heading out to get some delicious food later today. Either way, thanks so much for stopping by, and happy grocery shopping!