Today I want to talk about my grocery essentials. I'm not a nutritionist, foodie, or expert cook, but I do consider myself a (mostly) healthy eater on a budget so I thought I'd share what's in my cart or in my pantry week after week. These are foods that are constants in my diet and having them on hand means I always have something healthy to reach for when time is tight or when I'm stressed (helloooooo Holidays!). (I'm not an expert so please use your judgment when selecting foods that are best for you.)
Always in my cart: Apples and bananas. Just like the children's song (I like to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas; I like to ate, ate ate apples and bananas..). I guess there's a reason they are a staple. I've eaten an apple nearly every day of my life for lunch since I was in high school and I don't intend to stop anytime soon! I don't get sick very often so perhaps there is also something to the adage about keeping the doctor away. I'm not a huge fan of eating bananas straight up, but they are always in my smoothies, hence I need a constant supply. Also who can forget the wonder that is the 2 Ingredient Pancake?! I also tend to buy whatever fruit is on sale or in season - this is obviously a lot more fun in the summer. In addition, I always have some frozen fruit on hand for use in my smoothies as well.
Always in my cart: Spinach and baby carrots. I start off most of my evening meals/dinners with a big salad, hence the spinach. I also add spinach to my smoothies. I snack on baby carrots any ol time so they're always in my fridge. Then, I pick up any other veggies I'm craving at the moment. I really like to snack on mushrooms (weird I know!) so I buy them a lot. I try to buy seasonably here as well, which makes the winters a bit rougher.
3. PLANT BASED MILK ALTERNATIVE
Always in my cart: Almond milk. I've been lactose intolerant since the age of 11 or 12 so I have not drunk cow's milk in about 20 years. I used to drink soy milk but started to become worried about the effect that would ultimately have on my fertility/cancer risks so I've switched to almond milk. I also like coconut milk in my smoothies. I always buy the unsweetened versions. (No reason to add sugar to milk.) I've heard cashew milk just recently came on the market, which I'd like to try, but I have yet to see that in any of my grocery stores.
Always in my cart: Raw almonds. I also pick up any other kind of nut I'm fancying that week. This week it was pistachios and those coconut almonds which are insanely good. I am often out of my house by 7am and don't return until after 8pm some nights so I need lots of snacks with me for the day. I pretty much eat a handful of almonds every evening in my car on my way to the gym after work. They're the perfect snack.
Always in my cart: Raw Revolution bars. Like I mentioned above, I'm out of my house for long hours during the day and need snacks to keep me going. I love snack bars because they are quick and easy and usually are a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals. These can sometimes be hard to come by for me because I need bars that are vegan and/or dairy free. For the past year, I've been obsessed with Raw Revolution bars but I also enjoy others from: Luna, Kind, Odwalla, Clif, etc. Anything dairy free and relatively low in sugar are fair game.
Always in my cart: Athenos hummus. Other brands I like include Sabra and Wegmans store brand, but Athenos is hands down my favorite. Hummus is a great, filling, protein-packed food to have on hand. I snack on hummus most often with those baby carrots up there but you can really dip anything in hummus (Ok, maybe not anything!). I don't often have a loaf of bread on hand (don't really eat it) but sometimes I have pita or flatbread which both taste lovely in here.
Always in my cart: Old fashioned oats. If I have nothing else around for breakfast, this is a quick go-to. No, I'm not a fancy blogger and have never tried 'overnight oats'! I just boil water and pour it on these oats with either a little brown sugar or honey and some fruit. DONE! Oats are known to reduce cholesterol, they've got good fiber content and they keep you full. They're also super cheap when you buy a big tub like this!
8. PLANT BASED PROTEIN POWDER
Always in my cart: PlantFusion. I know people have mixed feelings on using protein powders but I am not shy about admitting I like them. I don't have a protein shake every day but I find them good for recovery after a workout or run, or as a quick, easy snack. I obviously stick to plant-based powders (as opposed to those made from whey) and Plant Fusion has been my favorite for years. I also like Vega but it's a bit more expensive. And I just bought a few samples of Shakeology's vegan formula so I'll have a review on those once I try them. I most often just use a Blender Bottle and mix my Plant Fusion powder with unsweetened almond milk. Sometimes I'll add it to green smoothies as well.
Always in my cart: Decaffeinated black tea. I drink hot tea almost daily when the weather is cold. My basic cup is any brand of decaf black tea + honey but I also enjoy sampling seasonal and herbal blends. Tea is great way to up your fluid intake during the day and add antioxidants to your diet. It's also just comforting :)
This is my basic go-to list. It's certainly not fancy or trendy and doesn't contain a lot of expensive items. This is obviously not representative of everything I eat in a day or a week and there are many things I've left off, but the foods I've mentioned are things that I always buy and always have on hand. In addition, I usually always purchase some kind of lean meat (turkey or beef) or seafood (usually frozen - salmon, shrimp, mussels, crab) which is the base of my evening meal. I usually always have eggs and peanut butter on hand as well. I do not purchase many packaged snack foods like chips, cookies, crackers, etc because I don't really eat those things. I do eat treats and they are usually some type of candy, or dark chocolate, or frozen vegan 'ice cream'.
One more note: I usually do not buy organic, simply due to price! It's not really in my budget, although I do worry about what all of the chemicals are doing to my body. I think once I have kids, my stance might change and I will probably shell out the extra money to feed them organic. I also try to buy non-GMO when possible, but some of these items are probably, definitely the result of genetic modification, which also scares the bejesus out of me.
I wasn't compensated for mentioning any of the brands in this post. These are all just my personal faves!
I'd love to know what's in your grocery cart every week. Please share!