How to Save on Your Grocery Bill When Trying to Eat Healthy

Everyone likes to bemoan the difficulty of eating healthy on a budget. “It’s too expensive! My grocery bill will be too high.” Well, here are some tips you can use to purchase wholesome, nutritious foods without breaking the bank.

  1. Sales Are Your Friend

While many people do point out that sales at grocery stores aren’t necessary good deals (and aren’t, for that matter, usually on healthy items), you can learn to seek out the deals that are actually worth your time along with those that will help you eat healthier. Deals on produce in season are actually very helpful, which brings up the following point…

  1. Buy—and Freeze—Fresh Produce

Buying fresh fruit and vegetables in bulk when they are in season and then freezing them will give you healthy and delicious food to eat for several weeks. Corn does well when it’s taken off the cob and frozen, and you can do the same with other fruits and veggies. Still, some produce can be too expensive to buy fresh, like berries. Frozen berries are just as healthy and much cheaper.

  1. Nix the Meat for Beans and Grains

Beans and grains are often much cheaper than meat, and they are better for you too. You can plan a whole meal around something like quinoa, which isn’t expensive if you avoid the bigger name brands, and if you do have to have some meat in your meal, you can stretch it with black beans so you don’t have to buy as much.

  1. Make Meals Ahead of Time

You’ll be less likely to keep making trip after trip to the grocery store if you plan and make your meals ahead of time. That way, when you look in your fridge, you’ll see a meal that’s ready to go instead of a few ingredients that might make you think you need to go out and get more.

  1. Make Your Own

Instant oatmeal is healthy but expensive. The solution? Buy quick oats and add your hot water. The same issue happens with buying prepackaged vegetable chips. Instead, make your own kale chips at home, which are fast, cheap, and very tasty. Almost every type of premade, healthy food item you can find at the grocery store can be made inexpensively if you gather the ingredients and do it yourself.

Best Snacks for Traveling

It’s hard to find healthy yet enjoyable snacks when traveling, and unfortunately, one needs to consider the ease with which they’ll be able to consume their snack (which removes fondue from the equation). Here are some of the healthiest, tastiest snacks for those on the go.

Fruit

Bringing a whole apple is a great way to make sure you have a fresh and healthy snack on your trip. You’ll be able to eat the skin, which makes it more practical than an orange or another fruit you’d have to peel, and keeping it whole will keep it from getting bruised. When you’re done, all you’ll have to do is dispose of the core. Dried fruits can be a great, healthy snack as well.

Trail Mix and Granola

Many people bring trail mix on trips because it is designed exactly for this purpose: it’s healthy, it contains nuts, fruits, and other items that will give you energy, and it’s easy to take on the go. Granola is a similar option if you prefer to go with an even healthier snack.

Popcorn

You can make your own popcorn with a healthful recipe or buy a bag of it at the grocery store. It’s a great, savory snack option that is also usually cheaper and definitely healthier than chips.

Power Bars

There are plenty of recipes online for no-bake snack and power bars that are easy to take on the go and will give you the energy you need to get through a long travel-filled day.

Cheese and Crackers

You can slice these up beforehand or buy packaged cheese and crackers at the store. Peanut butter crackers work too and always taste great with an ice-cold soda.

Pretzels

Pretzels are pretty healthy and tasty on their own, but they’re also a snack you can jazz up. Drizzle some dark chocolate on them and then put them in the fridge to let the chocolate harden. You can also season your pretzels yourself for a totally unique flavor.

Sweet Snacks

Though most people like to have an energy-boosting, savory snack while traveling, sweets can be important to improve your mood too. Try making your own fruit leather (or just grab some from the grocery store). You can also make your own no-bake sweet bars with chocolate flavor and nourishing ingredients. Who says you can’t enjoy your sweets and be healthy too?

Which Wines Go With Walnuts?

One of the great things about walnuts is how versatile they are. They can be used in many dishes as a meat substitute because of their texture and taste, they can be a part of a delicious main meal, side dish, or dessert, and they can be paired with almost any wine.

Wine and Walnut Pairings

Rosé is considered the best wine to pair with walnuts, although plenty of wine types can be enjoyed with this nut’s mild flavor. Pinot Noir and walnuts make an especially good pairing as well, and dry, red wines such as Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon can work well too when paired with this healthy snack. Most people lean away from pairing walnuts with white wines, but they can go quite well with Riesling in a pinch. In general, though, rosé is considered the best pairing for walnuts, a wine halfway between red and white that is usually very light in flavor.

How Can I Pair Wine and Walnuts?

Walnut bread (especially one with floral notes) is a great way to get your walnut fix in a dish that would go well with rosé. Here is a walnut-lavender bread that is sure to pair well with this particular wine. You can also serve your walnuts drizzled in honey alongside a soft cheese and light bread option when you invite your friends over for some rosé.

If you’re having red wine and looking for a walnut based meal to go with it, try this recipe for red wine spaghetti with walnuts and parsley. A double chocolate walnut biscotti recipe (found here) can give you a great after-dinner dish you can easily pair with a dessert wine or another type of red. And candied walnuts go great with either Pinot Noir or Riesling. Bon appetite.

Snacks for Kids During the Summer

Finding healthy and delicious snacks for your kids to eat during the hot summer months doesn’t have to be hard. Here are three great ideas you can use again and again.

Walnuts

Walnuts are healthy, rich in beneficial, plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, and tasty. Kids will enjoy eating these as a snack on their own or as part of a larger snack. Try drizzling honey on some walnuts or candying them to give your kids a sweet treat. You can also add them to a yogurt or trail mix. Blend them into a smoothie with frozen fruit for a fun and healthy snack, or make snack bars with walnuts and other healthy ingredients (and maybe a little chocolate for taste).

Veggies

Though your kids might turn up their noses at first, you can make summer snack time fun with different types of veggies. Slice off the top of a cherry tomato and put a small broccoli stalk inside to make a vase of flowers that’s also edible. Kids also love roasted vegetables much more than the raw option in many cases, so roasted peas can also make a great snack. And of course, what kid could resist ants on a log? Spice it up by using something different than peanut butter and raisins (like hummus and sunflower seeds) while also offering the classic version.

Freeze It!

During a hot summer day, nothing’s better than a frozen treat, and you can still get your kids to eat healthy this way. Freeze some grapes, bananas, or strawberries, or make your own popsicles with exciting flavors like peaches and cream, strawberry and banana, or raspberry lemonade. You can also buy molds in fun shapes and fill them with fruit juice or yogurt to get a frozen treat that’s as cute as it is healthy.

Indulgence with Moderation

When we try to fit into a routine of doing everything by a strict set of rules, regardless of circumstance, we force ourselves to adhere to a standard we can never live up to (and, as a result, we make ourselves pretty miserable). This is why fad diets never seem to work and why living a healthy lifestyle with occasional indulgences is often a healthier choice.

Living Healthy… Most of the Time

Eating vegetables, fruits and lean meats makes us feel good and gives us more energy than eating heavy processed foods. We all know this. But having to be so strict with our diets can be extremely difficult. Counting calories never made anyone feel good all the time, and in fact, being really strict with your diet can start to make you feel worse about yourself.

That’s why it’s better to be generally healthy than to adhere to a crazy diet that forces you to live like a caveman or to never, ever eat bread. We all know how to live healthily and what foods are good for us, and if you don’t, there are plenty of places you can go to find out more about the food groups and the amount of servings you should have every day.

Indulging… Every Once in a While

The point is living healthy doesn’t mean going completely without the foods you love. It’s okay to eat chips sometimes as long as it’s not every day, and it’s fine to go out to eat as long as you’re considering what you’re putting into your body. You can eat healthy and still indulge as long as you think about the choices you make as you make them. Remember, it’s an impossible standard to expect yourself to be good 100 percent of the time… but you can do what you’re supposed to 75 percent of the time and still get results.

How to Creatively Use Walnut Shells

So… you’re on a walnut kick and you’re not sure how you can possibly reuse all the shells you’ve got left over from your daily snack? Not to worry; here are some creative ideas you can use to turn a walnut shell into an exciting work of art.

Boats

If you have kids, this is a great way to make a craft together that will provide you with family time fun after dinner. Take a half shell, glue a toothpick inside standing up straight, and then slide a small scrap of paper through the toothpick to look like a sail. If you want to get really creative, you and your loved ones can even draw pictures on the sails. Then you can race your walnuts in any body of water nearby (or barring that, the tub!).

Little Creatures

 

Walnuts can be made to look like almost any animal you can imagine. With some black and red felt and googly eyes, you can make the back of the shell look like a ladybug, and with a little modeling clay, you can create a turtle body to go underneath the shell to make a cute playmate. If you can paint on a face and get some brown felt, you can even make a walnut look like an owl. And, once you make your new animal friends, you can decide if they will be toys, Christmas ornaments, or something else entirely…

Practical Items

 

Making walnut crafts doesn’t have to be all fun and games either. You can polish the walnut shells and string them together with thin leather to create a belt or glue slices of walnut shells together to make a decorative bowl. Walnuts are sturdy and attractive, which means you can build lots of interesting things out of them, and usually, you don’t have to paint them. Just polish them to bring out their natural, earthy look.

Teeny, Tiny Dioramas

One of the coolest items you can create with empty walnut shells is a miniature scene, like this one of a forest filled with toadstools. These make great gifts, and though they require quite the steady hand, you can often get a big reaction out of others. You can create almost any type of scene you want; it only depends on how ambitious you are and how careful you’re willing to be when executing your creation.

Prevent Food Poisoning with Walnuts and Olive Oil

According to new research, it now seems olive oil, salmon, and even walnuts could be used to help prevent issues with food poisoning and possibly even allow for new treatments to be formed for this issue.

How Can Walnuts and Other Foods Help Prevent Food Poisoning?

Omega-3 fatty acids that are found in foods like walnuts and salmon can actually switch off genes found in listeria bacteria, as stated by recent research from the University of Southern Denmark. When these fatty acids were administered to listeria, scientists found the acids had an effect on the bacteria within 30 minutes of administration and that the harmful genes that cause infection were merely switched off as a result of the acids interacting with the bacteria.

Listeria is the cause of food poisoning, and if left untreated, can potentially create some serious issues for those who come into contact with it. Instead of killing the bacteria, these fatty acids just neutralize it, which according to Professor Birgitte Kallipolitis, could be a better option in the long-term.

“Bacteria can develop resistance to attacks, and we have many examples of how this merely creates new and even bigger problems combatting them.” Instead, letting the bacteria live and neutralizing their ability to cause harm could be a better long-term option.

What Does This Mean for the Future?

There is a possibility that these substances could be used to create treatments for listeriosis in the future in a way that is natural and effective, rather than using antibiotics that could just make the bacteria stronger and more resistant.

“It’s interesting that naturally occurring, completely harmless and actually healthy fatty acids can be used to suppress dangerous bacteria such as listeria,” Professor Kallipolitis said.

Does This Mean I Can Cure My Food Poisoning with Walnuts?

It might be too early to start treating listeriosis at home with these foods, especially since research on their effects on this particular issue is still in the preliminary stages. However, it might not be a bad idea to eat a few walnuts if you’re planning to go on a trip and eat some strange foods. Of course, the best way to deal with food poisoning is to prevent it, which you can usually do if you consciously reheat the food you eat and make sure not to ingest any unpasteurized milk or cheese when traveling.

Americans Embrace Plant-Based Diets with Walnuts Being One of the Most Exciting Meatless Choices for Protein

According to a recent consumer study conducted by the California Walnut Board, Americans are becoming more interested in the concept of creating and eating meatless meals, especially ones that utilize walnuts, legumes, and mushrooms as main sources of protein.

The Change in Concerns Over Meatless Meals

One of the main reasons many Americans in the past felt uncomfortable with the idea of making food that doesn’t rely on meat is because they were afraid of losing the texture and flavor meat products can give a meal. Fortunately, many people are becoming open to the idea of plant-based food, especially if it offers these same benefits they associate with meat. In fact, 83 percent of Americans are now open to making these types of dishes, according to the recent survey.

Why Walnuts?

When considering a meat alternative, however, most individuals were less than enthusiastic about the idea of tofu or soy when it came to a plant-based, meat alternative. Instead, they preferred the idea of walnuts, mushrooms, and legumes, with walnuts being a specifically appealing choice. 70 percent of those surveyed liked the texture of the nuts, while 65 and 62 percent approved of their flavor and their built-in nutrients, respectively.

As stated by Frances Largeman-Roth, a registered dietitian nutritionist and author of such books as Eating in Color and The Carb Lovers Diet, “Walnuts are a great option to use in plant-forward dishes because they have a wonderful crunch and mild, nutty flavor that adapts well to an assortment of recipes.” In addition, they are healthy and provide many necessary nutrients, including omega-3s and polyunsaturated fats.

How Can I Make Walnuts a Part of My Plant-based Meals?

According to the survey, meat is still the focal point of more than half of the daily meals Americans consume. So how can you begin to make a change to your diet and what types of meals will allow you to incorporate walnuts and other desirable meat alternatives?

Below are some great recipes you can try at home, and remember, it’s all about finding what works for you and your palate. You can try different recipes out at home until you find the ones your family loves the most.

What It Means to Crave Nuts

Especially if you’re a nut nut, craving these delicious foods can be a common occurrence for you, but even if you aren’t, sometimes you can’t help experiencing a desire for some good old-fashioned nuts. So what does it mean, and what should you do about it?

The Physical Meaning Behind Your Craving

A nut craving is usually about two things: salt and fat. If you’re craving nuts, chances are your body is telling you it wants something high in sodium and extra fatty. This does occur often because the body is used to receiving these substances and may even know they are often saved for small amounts or special occasions.

A salt craving can occur when feelings of stress are present. When the body becomes incredibly high-strung, it reduces the amount of aldosterone it produces, which is a hormone that functions in the retention of salt. Fat cravings are sometimes based in the body’s desire to get its essential fatty acids from things like fish, eggs, and dark green vegetables like spinach, but many times, we crave things that are salty as well like chips.

If you’re craving both the saltiness and the fat in a handful––or more than a handful––of nuts, you’re likely experiencing stress, trying to replenish your body’s sodium, and well, looking for some good fatty acids.

The Spiritual Meaning Behind Your Cravings

Cravings aren’t all about the body, though. They can also be about the mind and the spirit, and suddenly desiring a certain food can also have a deeper meaning to it. For example, when you crave foods that are fatty or salty, it could be because you’re feeling inadequate or uncomfortable and you’re looking for a comforting snack that will help you feel better or energized. The problem is food is a temporary solution to a problem like this, and once the energy you gain from giving in to your nut craving wears off, you will be right back in the same predicament.

Nut Cravings and Appetite

Although it’s better to find yourself with a hankering for nuts than chips or another empty calorie food, it’s important to be aware of what your body––and your mind––are really telling you when you have a craving. And if you do decide to give in, make sure you only eat a handful or so of the nuts you desire, as indulging too much could cause problematic results.

Can You Eat Too Many Nuts?

Nuts are consistently referred to as a great snack you can chew on when you’re trying to lose weight. However, binging on nuts every single day can actually cause some serious issues because, yes, you can eat too many nuts.

How Many Nuts Is Too Many?

Nuts are great: they taste good, they give you much-needed sources of protein and energy, and they do actually help you lose weight… if you eat the right amount of them. The daily recommended amount of nuts is usually no more than a handful, and in most cases, you shouldn’t eat more than this amount often. Otherwise, you might experience some severe side effects.

Side Effects of Overindulging in Nuts

Though you may eat a lot of nuts one day and not experience any issues, doing so consistently can cause uncomfortable––and even somewhat dangerous––effects.

  • Too many nuts can make you gain weight: That’s right. If you eat the recommended amount of nuts, it can be a great way to help you shed those extra pounds. But if you start swallowing handful after handful every day thinking it’s a completely healthy snack, you can actually gain all that weight back, as nuts are a calorie-dense food.
  • Salted nuts can be dangerous: Many times, nuts are salted to make them taste better. But if you eat too many of them, it could lead to a high sodium diet, which has a number of side effects, including dizziness, high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, and kidney stones. Yikes!
  • Eating too many nuts can cause digestive problems: While nuts can be a great source of dietary fiber, eating too many can cause digestive issues like bloating, gas, diarrhea, and pain. This is partly because nuts are naturally hard to digest, and while a few won’t usually cause you too many problems, eating a whole bunch can make you feel incredibly uncomfortable.
  • Eating nuts can cause acne: Because nuts are hard to digest, your body may respond to the overload of them in your system by breaking out in acne.
  • Too many Brazil nuts can cause selenium poisoning: If you eat a bunch of Brazil nuts every day, you can experience a rare issue called selenium poisoning, causing your hair to fall out, your nails to become splintery, and your joints to feel sore.

So remember, don’t go nuts on nuts! Just eat the daily amount to feel good and gain the benefits without experiencing the drawbacks.