5 Healthy Grocery Shopping Tips

grocery shopping blog

Grocery shopping: You either love it or you hate it 😳

Whether you are a fan of the store or not, it is true that to be able to stick to your healthy meal plan you have to have the correct healthy food in the house. Check out my grocery shopping tips to help you meet your weight loss goals AND keep the grocery bill down!

5 Healthy Grocery Shopping Tips From a Registered Dietitian

#1 Make a list! Not only is grocery shopping more stressful without a list, you will likely forget something you may need to make another trip. Start with your meal plan on Saturday or Sunday, and make a grocery list from there. The next step is to STICK TO IT! Decrease impulse buys and stick to your budget by only buying what is on your list. Grocery store marketing is a real thing and those candy bars are calling your name because the candy bar company paid a lot of $$ to put them there!

#2 Shop the perimeter! Everything you need is around the perimeter of the store *NOT* in the aisles. This is where you will find all of your fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, fish and dairy. Try to choose only 1-2 aisles to go down – this will help you save money, time and meet your weight loss goals!

#3 Avoid shopping at peak hours. If anyone else shops at Trader Joe’s you know that this means Sunday afternoon 🙋‍♀️ Typically Saturday mornings, Sunday afternoons and right after work (5:30-6:30PM) are the busiest and least enjoyable times to shop. Try to shop outside of these hours if you can to ensure you have everything on your list without the stress!

#4 Avoid shopping when you are hungry, tired or stressed. This will make it even harder to say “no” to those impulse buys. Try having a snack before you go grocery shopping, or opt to go right after a meal so you aren’t tempted to buy *all the things.*

#5 Say “no” once at the grocery store, or say no every 24 hours at home. If you don’t buy it – it can’t come home with you! Remember this tip for those trigger foods – it might be hard to say no at the grocery store, but think about how much harder it is going to be to say no every single time you walk by the pantry and you see your favorite cookies.

Did you know that I offer grocery lists with each Blush Nutrition meal plan? Schedule your FREE 15 minute appointment and find out more!

Understanding The 80/20 Rule

jessica-henderson-365335-unsplash.jpg

Today we are talking about the 80/20 rule. Not sure what that is? Instead of trying to “eatperfect” 100% of the time, to to make 80% of your intake come from functional foods, and 20% of your intake from fun foods. This is something that I practice with my clients on a regular basis.

A healthy lifestyle is all about balance and knowing that you don’t have to give up burgers for the rest of your life.

Here are some tips on finding 20% balance in your diet:

  1. Eliminate the all or nothing mindset. A healthy lifestyle is not about depriving yourself of the things you love. Find ways to incorporate “fun foods” in a way you are comfortable with.
  2. Stop using the word “cheat.” When I hear someone say this I ask “who are you cheating on??” This can imply that healthy eating is a punishment and cheating is a reward…and that’s not how it works in a healthy lifestyle.
  3. Ask yourself: what does the food do for you? Maybe a wine and cheese night with the girls is something you need to feed your soul – foods can be nourishing in other ways and it’s important to remember this.
  4. Stick with the foods you really love. I encourage my  clients to make conscious choices when it comes to their 20%. Think less “this happened so I had to eat a burger” and use your meal planning time to make these conscious choices ahead of time. Try changing this to “we went out to see a band and I chose to have a fried chicken salad as a part of my 20%.”
  5. Find a balance within your 20%. You can use the portion plate even with fun foods! Consider focusing on one or two parts of the meal as fun foods, and still making sure you have 50% of your plate as veggies.

Have questions about finding a healthy 80/20 balance? Set up your first FREE 15 minute initial appointment by clicking here!

Wedding Registry Picks For A Healthy Kitchen

Wedding Season is almost here, which means that bridal shower season is upon us! I get a lot of questions from my wedding wellness clients about my favorite kitchen tools for a healthy home – which prompted me to make this list.

If you are engaged, here are my 25 Registered Dietitian approved registry picks for a healthy life together! (PS if you’re already married and you didn’t get these for your wedding, it’s not too late! They also make great birthday, holiday and anniversary gifts too.)

registry collage

  1. Food Scale. THE key to a healthy balance. You don’t have to weigh everything, but it’s always super handy to have a food scale on hand to measure oz of meat, nuts, vegetables and more. Also it doubles as a mail scale to make sure your invites don’t need extra postage…
  2. Salad Spinner. Buying whole heads of lettuce and cutting it or fresh salad greens is WAY cheaper and healthier than buying the prepackaged bag stuff. A salad spinner can save you a lot of money and help you eat healthier!
  3. Sous vide. This cooking technique has been called the most percise way to cook. It cooks without any oil or fat, and all of the food is melt in your mouth good.
  4. Spiralizer. Chances are you have seen zoodles or sweet potato noodles on Instagram (unless you have been living under a rock). A spiralizer can help you eat more vegetables by turning them into pasta!
  5. Herb Keeper. Cook without salt by adding lots and lots of fresh herbs to your dishes! This herb saver can keep all of your parsley, cilantro, rosemary, mint and more fresh for weeks – it’s a must have!
  6. Herb Scissors. The easiest and most effective way to cut green onions and more!
  7. Citrus squeezer. Get fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice without all of the preservatives of the bottled stuff with this awesome gadget.
  8. Garlic press. If you made any of my recipes, you know I love cooking with garlic! It adds lots of flavor (and smells amazing) without adding a lot of salt. I love this press because it bascially cleans itself.
  9. Salad dressing shaker. Avoid the high sugar dressings in the grocery store and make your own! I love this shaker because it has recipes on it to give you some inspiration as well.
  10. Small food processor. This 4 cup processor is perfect for making your own sauces (think low salt and low sugar), chopping nuts and also comes in handy for my avocado mousse recipe!
  11. Tea kettle. Herbal tea on a cold night is one the most comforting things – it also is low in calories. Try having a hot cup of tea when you’re on the couch instead of snacking during your favorite show – you might find it very satisfying!
  12. Air popper. Air popped popcorn is a very high fiber and healthy snack! Not to mention it is less expensive than buying prepared popocorn.
  13. InstantPot. Not only does this gadget combine a slow cooker and a pressure cooker – it cooks whole grains VERY fast! It has been a great addition for our kitchen, mainly for making quinoa quick.
  14. Vacuum sealer. Keep your lean meats long with a vacuum sealer. Purchase them on sale, seal and freeze. It’s also great for leftovers!
  15. Thermometer. Cook your meats to the correct internal temperature to avoid food poisoning. I love this thermometer because it is magnetic and is easy to find on the fridge, and the probe is very easy to clean.
  16. Pasta measurer. Stick to 2oz portion of pasta per serving with this gadget!
  17. Kitchen Mat. Cooking at home will not only save you money, it is also going to help you eat healthier. Of course this also means more dishes. I love this kitchen mat for time spent at the kitchen sink – my feet and back never feel tired with it!.
  18. Small liquid measuring cup. Measure oil, lemon juice and vinegar for recipes in an accurate way in a liquid measuring cup. I actually have 2 of these because I use them all the time!
  19. Sheet pan. You need a good sturdy sheet pan with great sides for lots of healthy and easy sheet pan dinners!
  20. Le Cruset Essential Oven. This is the best for one pot dinners, soups and the high sides make it perfect for sauteeing a large amount of vegetables!
  21. Avocado slicer. Stop cutting your hand when you’re trying to cut an avocado. This tool can cut, remove the pit and slice an avocado – making it the perfect addition to your kitchen.
  22. Pepper mill. Keep the salt low in your cooking and pump up the flavor by adding fresh ground pepper! Not only is it beautiful, it’s also so fun to use.
  23. Muffin tin. These are not only for whole grain muffins – you can also use them for healthy grab and go breakfast egg muffins!
  24. Small collander. A necessity for your kitchen to rinse and wash berries or to strain and rinse a can of beans. I use mine all the time!
  25. Water bottle infuser. Bored with the taste of water? Add in some fresh fruits or herbs into the infuser and flavor your water the healthy way.

Want to know more? Head over to my wedding wellness page!

Brittany L. Jones, MS, RD, LD is a Registered Dietitian, newlywed and overall wedding wellness expert located in Greenville, SC. Be your healthiest self as you say “I do” and every day into your new life with Blush Nutrition! Offering meal planning, grocery shopping, nutrition counseling and more for brides, grooms and their entire wedding party. 

 

Wedding Wellness Tips for Brides and Grooms to Be

Wedding-448.jpg

Planning your wedding is such an exciting time, from choosing the theme, to wedding bands – it truly is a once in a lifetime experience. However, being a newlywed myself, I completely understand the stress that comes with working full time and planning a wedding. In the midst of a million color swatches, loaded up Pinterest boards and trying understand what the difference between a peony and a ranunculus is – it is way too easy to lose sight of taking care of your health and wellbeing.

Check out my five easy wedding wellness tips that will keep you healthy for the big day!

wedding wellness (1)

  1. Make time to invest in yourself. It’s true – there are just not enough hours in the day when you’re working and wedding planning. Your free time is easily getting filled up with what seems like speed dating photographers, and vetting out vendors. Make a decision today to invest in yourself during this incredible time – whether it is through meal planning, exercising or just taking time to do things outside of the wedding.
  2. Come up with a wedding wellness plan. Do you want to go grocery shopping every Sunday to avoid going out to eat several times per week? Do you want to set a goal to exercise 3 times per week or try a new spin studio? If you are using a wedding planning calendar, take a couple of minutes each week to mark your wellness items in your calendar and stick to it.
  3. Find an exercise that you love. Life is too short for crappy workouts. Do you love the idea of Zumba, but are slowly finding out that indeed your hips DO lie? (Sorry Shakira, it’s not you, it’s me.) Then give barre a try! There are SO many new boutique fitness studios out there and many have wedding wellness packages at discounted rates. BONUS: exercise is a great stress relief! Take it all out on the treadmill or in the weight room. You will feel way better afterwards, I promise.
  4. Use the 80/20 rule. You are engaged – let’s celebrate!! Take this time to focus on finding your healthy lifestyle balance, but don’t limit yourself so much that you don’t enjoy your engagement. The engagement party, the wedding shower, the bachelorette/bachelor parties – all of these are being thrown in YOUR honor! So don’t limit yourself to just eating vegetables. Eat healthfully 80% of the time and give yourself 20% of the time to splurge a little and enjoy the party (responsibly of course). The most important part is that after the party is over, that you just jump right back in where you left off. You didn’t fall off the wagon, you just took a detour for some celebrating. Now it’s time to get back to it!
  5. Bring your fiancé into the fun. Life is more fun with a partner, and that includes healthy eating and exercising. Talk with your fiancé about engaging on a path to wellness together as a team. Perhaps they would like to go to the same gym as you, train for a race with you, or help meal plan and grocery shop. It’s more than having an accountability partner, it’s a way to ensure the results you see last long after you say “I do!”

Does this all sound great but you don’t know where to start? Set up your first free 15 minute appointment now.

Photo: Jenna Marie Weddings

Healthy Holiday Recipe Substitutions

thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is all about food, but sometimes that food isn’t always the healthiest.

Start out your holiday in the negative by supporting a local charity and running a Turkey Day Run. If you are in the Greenville, SC area – we look forward to seeing you at the Trees Greenville Turkey Day 8K! Interested? Register here. 

Another way to stick with your healthy lifestyle is by bringing a healthier version of your favorite dish to your Thanksgiving dinner this year! Check out these 10 easy recipe substitutions that can help transform your favorite holiday recipes into healthier versions. The recipe substitutions below can be used for cooking or baking, so be sure to try the one, two or three substitutions that work best for your holiday recipe!

10 Healthy Holiday Recipe Swaps

  1. Cut the amount of sugar in half. Does your dessert or cranberry sauce recipe call for 1 cup of sugar? Try adding 1/2 cup instead, I promise no one will even notice the difference.
  2. Half white and half whole wheat. If your recipe calls for all-purpose (white) flour only, try substituting some whole wheat flour for part of it. If it calls for 2 cups, try swapping one cup all-purpose flour for one cup of whole wheat flour to add in fiber and ease digestion.
  3. Look for reduced fat dairy. Dairy products (milk, cheese) contain saturated fats, which the American Heart Association recommends we consume in moderation. To keep the saturated fat in your recipe moderate, try substituting skim or 1% milk and part skim or 2% cheese in lieu of whole milk and cheeses. You will cut back on the calories in your dish as well!
  4. Switch out the sour cream. Dips are a popular appetizer dish on Thanksgiving, and many call for sour cream. If your favorite recipe is one of them, try switching the sour cream out for the same amount of nonfat Greek yogurt instead.  You will cut back on the saturated (bad) fat and calories, while also giving your dip a protein boost! Check out these other easy substitutions from Siggi’s yogurt.
  5.  Go for low sodium broth. Reduce the salt in your gravy by choosing low sodium broth or bouillon instead.
  6.  Opt for olive or avocado oil. Have you noticed that butter is a common ingredient in traditional Thanksgiving recipes? Try using olive oil or avocado oil instead of butter to sauté your green beans or roast your potatoes. This will keep the saturated fat content low and the healthy fats high.
  7. Lighten up your mashed potatoes. Instead of heavy cream, which is high in saturated fat and calories, try this: for every 1 cup of heavy cream in the recipe, substitute 2/3 cup skim milk and 1/3 cup olive oil instead.
  8. Try white meat turkey sausage in your stuffing. Be sure to look for the 97/3 lean ground turkey to decrease the number of calories and the level of saturated fats in your dish. The turkey sausage has the same texture as pork and it tastes so good your guests won’t have a clue that you have health-ified this dish! Check out my Long Grain & Wild Rice Rosemary Stuffing with Chicken & Mushroom recipe.
  9. Leave the frying pan in the cabinet. Roasting, baking, steaming, grilling, braising and sautéing can keep the flavor high and the calories low. Try these cooking methods for your holiday recipe instead of frying which can add additional calories, but not necessarily a ton of flavor.
  10. Say NO to trans fats! Many recipes call for prepared foods such as pie crusts and frostings, which often times can contain trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs). PHOs raise your bad or LDL cholesterol, and contribute to heart disease. The USDA recognizes this risk and plans to eliminate partially hydrogenated oils in our food supply within the next 3 years, but until then we recommend reading the ingredients on prepared foods to ensure they do not contain PHO’s.

Want to know how to start your New Years Resolution NOW? Contact me for more information on special holiday pricing.

Q&A with Brittany L. Jones, MS, RD, LD

Wedding-56

Get to know the owner of Blush Nutrition!

What made you want to work in wedding wellness?

I wanted to work with brides, grooms, their families and best friends because I know what they are going through! I know what the pressure feels like to balance work, wedding planning and wellness – unfortunately wellness sometimes falls out of the equation because there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I want to make starting out as your best self in your new life as a married couple as easy as possible!

How many weddings have you been to?

I have attended 18 weddings, including my own I guess it’s 19 now! When we got in the car in the end of the night my husband said “that was my favorite wedding ever.” It was too cute!

What kind of services do you offer?

I offer meal planning and nutrition counseling as packages of 3 or 6 sessions, combined with unlimited phone and email access. I also offer a la carte services such as grocery shopping, healthy pantry raids/refrigerator organization and grocery shopping and delivery.

You said you are a newly wed, when and where did you get married?

I married my husband Trevor on April 29th, 2017 in Mt. Pleasant, SC (Charleston area). We found the most amazing historic and natural venue right on the Charleston Harbor – it really was the best day ever!

What made you want to be a dietitian?

I actually started out as a physical therapy major at a small school in Connecticut when I realized that I wanted to work in preventative medicine and wellness. I took several cooking classes in my senior year of high school and really developed a passion for cooking and people that I just could not shake. I only lasted one semester before I transferred and changed my major to nutrition.

Where did you go to school?

I receiving my Bachelor’s in Nutrition Science and Dietetics from Syracuse University in 2010, with a Minor in Hospitality Management. I then attended the Medical University of South Carolina for my ACEND Accredited Dietetic Internship to become a Registered Dietitian and graduated in 2011. I just recently graduated with my Master’s in Health Communications from Boston University in December of 2016.

What’s the difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian?

A Registered Dietitian has qualifications that must be met, while nutritionists do not. These qualifications make them the food and nutrition expert – they include:

  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree with course work including food and nutrition sciences, food service systems management, business, economics, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and chemistry
  • Completed an accredited dietetic internship
  • Passed the national Registered Dietitian examination
  • Completes continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration (75 every 5 years)

What is your professional background in?

I started out my career in outpatient nutrition counseling focused on weight loss, heart disease and diabetes. I focused on one-on-one and couples counseling, as well as group classes and food demonstrations. I then branched out into health communications and worked as both a social media manager and a content marketing manager. In addition to Blush Nutrition, I am currently working as a dietitian in corporate wellness.

How did you meet your husband?

Long story short, Trevor and I met at the Greenville Zoo. Not because we just love animals (although we do), but more so because we love wine. The charity event we were both attending was called Sippin’ Safari. I thought he was cute and asked him to take a picture of my friends and I – the rest is history!

Beach or mountains?

I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains and moved here six years ago now, but I have to say I cried the entire way from Charleston. I love life in our city of Greenville, but I hope that I will make it back to living on the beach again one day!

What is your favorite kind of wine?

Sauvignon Blanc all day er day.

Do you have any fur babies?

Yes – Lilly Jones! Lilly is a golden collie mix that my husband rescued seven years ago. She is beautiful, too energetic, smart and loves to cuddle. I don’t know what I would do without a dog, and you will probably see her a lot on our Instagram page.

What is your favorite movie?

My absolute favorite movie of all time is The Parent Trap (’98 the Lindsay Lohan version). It actually has an amazing soundtrack and our recessional song at our wedding was “This will be” because of the wedding in this movie.

Anyone who knows me knows that I watch pretty much the same 10 movies over and over again. They include: The Parent Trap, Father of the Bride 1&2, When Harry Met Sally, The Wedding Planner, SATC the Movie, The Holiday, Somethings Gotta Give, Sweet Home Alabama and Sleepless in Seattle.

Want to know more about Blush Nutrition? Email Brittany.

Photography: Jenna Marie Weddings