Tag Archives: Whole Foods

Groceries

Our Fridge is Restocked! (This Week’s Grocery Haul)

Hey hey! Travis and I are back from a weekend away at Big Bear Lake, CA. My birthday was last Wednesday, and since having a mid-week birthday is never that fun, we decided to plan a last minute weekend getaway.

We spent a majority of our time in Big Bear doing outdoor activities, like hiking and kayaking. It’s only two hours away from LA (without traffic), so it was a perfect little 36 hour trip. We felt like we were able to pack a lot into our brief time there.

Captain John's Kayaking on Big Bear Lake, California ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Whenever we go away I make a concerted effort to use up everything in the fridge because I hate wasting food. I think I took that a little too far last week, because when we arrived home on Sunday the contents of our fridge included: ketchup, soy sauce, every other type of condiment on the planet, and beer. Needless to say, we needed a thorough restock.

Empty Fridge ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share a recent grocery haul with you guys. Here is everything we bought yesterday:

Grocery Haul ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Produce:

Bananas

Organic Apples*

Organic Grapes*

Organic Nectarines*

Organic Red Raspberries*

Navel Oranges

Spaghetti Squash

Organic Baby Bell Peppers*

Organic Spinach*

Eggplant (Making Baba Ganoush!)

Organic Sweet Potatoes*

Lemons (I always buy a big bag because I drink hot water with lemon every morning before breakfast.)

Garlic

Shallots

(* I like to buy organic produce whenever possible, especially if an item is included in the dirty dozen.)

 

Meat:

Empire Kosher White Ground Turkey (We grab this whenever we see it. Perfect for my Turkey Meatballs.)

Applegate Chicken-Apple Sausages (A delicious snack, or great in pasta and soup)

Chicken Breasts

 

Dairy:

1% Lactoste-Free Milk

Califia Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (Great in protein smoothies and with cereal)

Cage-Free Eggs

Wallaby Nonfat Greek Yogurt

 

Frozen:

Applegate Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders (Great healthy lunch/snack back up)

Dr. Praeger’s Bibimbap Veggie Burgers (I discovered these last week and I love them!)

Van’s Gluten-Free Waffles

Barramundi (We can’t always find this, so when we do, we stock up to make this dish.)

 

Dry Goods:

Jarred Roasted Red Peppers (I’m making my Muhammara for a dinner party tonight!)

Chopped Walnuts

Crunchy Peanut Butter

Whole Wheat Pita Bread (To go with the Muhammara)

Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Molasses

 

What about you? What are some grocery staples that you always must have on hand? For me it’s bananas and eggs!

 

Disclaimer: This is not everything I eat in a week. I am not a certified nutritionist, and the foods I eat might not be right for you. 

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My Favorite Healthy Frozen Foods

Hi friends! Happy Friday! I am traveling for work today, but I wanted to post this for you guys before your weekend grocery shopping.

Over the past few years, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the variety of healthy foods I’ve found in the freezer aisle. For years, all you could find were Lean Cuisines and Healthy Choice frozen dinners that disguise themselves as “healthy,” but in reality are swimming in sodium and added junk.

I’ve tried A LOT of frozen foods at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods and below are some of my favorites. As always, make sure to check the ingredient lists on the items you pick up. General rule of thumb: if you can’t pronounce an ingredient or you’ve never heard of it, put the item back on the shelf.

 

My Favorite Healthy Frozen Foods // littlechefbigappetite.com

 

  1. Udi’s Gluten-Free Margherita Pizza // This is one of our favorite options on a night we don’t have time to cook. This gluten-free crust tastes REALLY good and it’s SO much healthier than traditional frozen pizzas! For an added nutritional boost, we sometimes add chicken or extra veggies.
  2. Whole Foods 365 Vegetable Medley // Whoever said frozen fruit and vegetables aren’t healthy is totally wrong. In fact, frozen fruit and veggies can actually be more nutritious than their fresh counterparts because they’re flash frozen to lock in nutrients. I love having a bag of these veggies in my freezer to heat up alongside any protein. So quick and easy.
  3. Van’s Whole Grain Waffles // A healthy and fast breakfast option. I even like these as a mid-day snack with a smear of almond butter.
  4. Dr. Praegar’s California Veggie Burgers // These burgers are packed with veggies! I like to stick mine under the broiler to get it extra crispy. Then I top it with sliced avocado and a little bit of all-natural ketchup.
  5. Trader Joe’s Brown Rice // On busy nights, who has 40 minutes to wait for rice to cook? This pre-cooked brown rice is the easiest thing! Just plop it in the microwave and healthy whole grains in minutes.
  6. Australis Barramundi // I find this at Whole Foods and it’s A+++++! This is what I use to make my Barramundi with Balsamic Tomatoes
  7. Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles // A meat alternative that doesn’t contain soy!? I’m in! I love using this “Beefy Crumble” in place of regular ground beef to make pasta sauces or tacos!
  8. Alexia Sweet Potato Fries // While maybe still not as good (or clean) as my homemade sweet potato fries, these fries are GOOD. Get them extra crispy by baking them on a single layer and then sticking them under the broiler for the last few minutes. Delicious with chicken, a veggie burger, the list goes on.
  9. Whole Foods 365 Blueberries // Same thing as a veggie medley – there is NOTHING wrong with frozen fruits and vegs! I defrost these in the microwave for 30 seconds and then add them to yogurt. Fresh berries in the middle of winter, yes please!

 

While I absolutely love fresh, homemade meals, sometimes it’s just not an option, so I love having a few of these items in the freezer for when I am in a pinch.

I’d love to know if you guys have any favorites that aren’t on this list!

 

 

Groceries Tips and Tricks

How I Meal Plan

I am often asked how I have time to cook every night and since I do cook often, how I am not constantly running to the grocery store. My answer? It’s all about planning!

Over the last few years, I’ve developed a weekly meal planning process that works very well for us. Planning helps us to save time, save money, and keep us on a healthy track throughout the week. Since I get so many questions about this, I thought it would be fun to put together a post about how I meal plan.

I always love learning about how other people plan for the week and how often they choose to cook at home vs. eat out. So please feel free to share your process and any tips you have in the comments section below!

Meal Planning Tips from Little Chef Big Appetite

 

1. Travis and I go grocery shopping together on either Saturday or Sunday every weekend. Before we head to the store, we select 3-4 recipes we want to make that week. Why not more? Because let’s be honest, life happens, and realistically we won’t have time to cook every night. Sometimes one of us has to work late, has plans to meet up with friends, or we simply don’t feel like cooking.
Meal Planning Tips from Little Chef Big Appetite

Just so you get a sense, here is what last week’s meals looked like for us:

Monday: BBQ Chicken Skewers with a Grilled Charred Broccoli

Tuesday: Halibut with Balsamic and Cherry Tomatoes

Wednesday: Turkey Meatballs with Roasted Vegetables

Thursday: Travis was out, so I ate breakfast for dinner (always my go-to when I am on my own).

Friday: Dinner out

Saturday: Whole Wheat Pasta with Chicken, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Basil

Meal Planning Tips from Little Chef Big Appetite

 

2. When choosing which recipes to make, we generally try to mix up proteins (chicken, turkey, ground beef, white fish, salmon, etc) to keep things interesting. We select a few new recipes to make that week as well as some old favorites. You can read my post about how I organize my recipes here. By selecting recipes in advance, we never suffer the dreaded, “what should we do for dinner” conversation at night when we’re both already hungry.

Since Whole Foods is often our store of choice (it’s walkable from our apartment), I also like to check out what’s on sale before we hit the store and sometimes we dictate our meal plan around that.

In case this may interest you, here’s a list of grocery items that are typically cheaper at Whole Foods.

Meal Planning Tips from Little Chef Big Appetite

 

3. Based on the recipes we select, I create a list (either on my phone or a piece of paper) of all the items we need to pick up. This list also includes any staple items we use on a weekly basis (bananas, eggs, etc.)  As you can see in the photo below, I always make sure to pick up a few healthy snack foods for the week as well: greek yogurt, Kind bars, fresh fruit, etc.

Meal Planning Tips from Little Chef Big Appetite

 

4. One more important tip! In case a new recipe turns out to be terrible (yup, it happens!), we always have some backup options in the freezer.  Just last week, I went to cook some cod we’d frozen a few weeks ago, only to find it did not smell right after it defrosted. Instead of taking a gamble, I chucked the cod in the trash and immediately went to Plan B: a frozen Udi’s pizza. Delicious, satisfying, and absolutely no stress.

Having healthy backups is also great for when you home exhausted and don’t feel like cooking – it’s faster, cheaper, and healthier than getting take-out. When shopping, just make sure you look at the ingredient lists – if there are chemicals and additives you can’t pronounce, put it back in the freezer case. Additionally, say no to Lean Cuisines and other frozen meals with excessive sodium levels – they’re doing you no favors.

Here are some of my favorite, healthy frozen and “backup” foods:

Dr. Praegers California Vegetable Burgers

Udi’s Gluten-Free Margherita Pizza

Applegate Chicken Sausages

Frozen Vegetables (great as a side to any meal)

 

Now that I’ve shared my meal planning process with you guys, I am curious about you! How do you mean plan for the week? Let me know!