7 Grocery Bill Money Saver Tips
- Join the free membership clubs. Most major chains have membership cards where you can receive the cheapest cost on foods. Some memberships also offer discounts on gas, which is also an added bonus. If you are going to do your grocery shopping at the store anyways, why not sign up for the discounted gas and deals.
- Stay away from items placed strategically by the entrance. They are usually higher priced.
- Special items at end caps are not always sale items. Be careful of the old thinking that the end caps are where are the sales are. This isn’t always true.
- Look up and look down. Companies with bigger budgets can have their items at eye level or prime location because they pay for those spots. Look up and down to see lower cost, same quality products.
- Watch out for Boutique Buying setups. There is such a thing as “boutique buying” in grocery stores. This is when you will find items like the parmesan cheese right by the pizza or pasta ingredients, or salsa by the tortilla chips. If you don’t have it on your list, leave it alone.
- Always bring a list! Make your list beforehand, plan your menu, plan your meals.
- Shopping the “perimeter” isn’t always the best choice anymore. There are many items down the aisle that are healthy and budget-friendly. For example, dried beans, whole grains, canned/frozen fruits and veggies are down the middle of the aisle.
Please share this article with friends if you find any tips helpful!
February Events with Ashley
I’m so excited to be able to run these 3 groups in February! All of them will begin on February 4th, so please read the description to see what group will be best for you!
30 Day Eat Clean, Train Mean Challenge Group
10 Day Clean Eating Challenge Group
In my Internship, I will be training a handful of people to do what I do as an online Health Coach. I help people find workout programs that meet their goals, find nutritionals to meet their goals, motivate, help hold people accountable and just support people! I will teach you where all of the resources are, how to meet clients online, how to get paid to make workout/nutrition reviews on products, how I have built my business up through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, how to earn money and how to potentially earn a career or at least have this on the side of whatever else you are passionate about!
Who can participate?
- Must be willing to commit 5-10 hrs per week
- Must be willing to meet new people
- Must be motivated
- Must be eager to learn
- Must be passionate about helping other people
- Must be interested in fitness/health
Depending on what you have already and what fitness/nutritionals you need yourself, the cost of the Internship ranges from being free for military and military spouses, to $40, or more. We can discuss options privately before the internship begins.
Eat Clean, Train Mean 30 Day Challenge
In my January group I have been blown away by my challengers and their motivation, support and encouragement with each other! So much so that I am ready to start running these more often. In February I’ll be hosting another “Eat Clean, Train Mean” Challenge Group!
What is a “Challenge?”
Basically it is 30 days of commitment to working out every day and healthy eating. I will give you information on clean eating and nutrition tips. You may have different “assignments” that you are asked to complete such as: take a picture of your fridge, find 2 clean recipes, shake your workout schedule for the week, share your meal plan for dinners for the week, ask a friend to workout with you, etc.
It is for the following people:
- People who need help with Clean Eating
- People who need a new workout program to keep them motivated and something to look forward to
- People who need a new workout plan AND help with clean eating
- People who just need extra support and accountability!
If you are someone who needs a new workout program and help with their eating, then the best “bang for your buck” is to order a “Challenge Pack.” With an order of a Challenge Pack you will get Shakeology, the complete workout program of your choice, 30 day Team Beachbody Club Membership (extra nutrition help and personalized meal plans), and me as your personal dietitian!
You do NOT have to order a Challenge Pack, but if you are looking for some discounts, here are the options of Challenge Packs:
10 Day Eat Clean Challenge
Not ready to commit to a whole 30 days? The 10 day eat clean challenge is everyone eating clean for 10 days, exercising everyday and replacing one meal a day with Shakeology. If you are trying to break through a plateau, need help getting on track, not ready to commit to a whole order of shakeology, then this group is for you! It will include Clean Eating tips from me, nutrition tips, fitness tips, me reviewing your food journals on My Fitness Pal for tips and suggestions, workouts etc. For only $50 you will receive:
- Me as your personal Dietitian
- 10 samples of shakeology
- Shakeology recipes
- Clean eating recipes
- Fitness and nutrition tips
To order and reserve your SPOT, pay Here:
So you have 3 options to work with me personally and very privately. I promise to devote to you my time, energy and attention! If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners
Sugar isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the problem is when people are eating TOO MUCH sugars. There is sugar in milk, in fruit, vegetables, grains, etc. These are not bad things. Again, we want to minimize excess. I’m a big believer in MODERATION. Many believe that sugar is the cause of the obesity epidemic in our country. I think that there are MANY factors leading to our rise in obesity, and that it can’t be blamed on a single thing. What we can do however, is since we know high sugar intake is a RISK FACTOR for obesity, we can lower our sugar intakes now .
Let’s get some definitions out in the open:
- Simple carbohydrates (or sugars) include monosaccharides and disaccharides.
- Monosaccharides include glucose (or dextrose), galactose, and fructose.
- Fructose is the most common naturally occurring monosaccharide, found in fruits and vegetables.
- Common disaccharides include sucrose, lactose and maltose.
- Sucrose is a combination of glucose and fructose, which is found in sugar cane, sugar beets, honey, and corn syrup.
- Lactose is a combination of glucose plus galactose, found in milk products.
- Maltose is a combination of glucose plus glucose, found in malt.
- Complex carbohydrates refers to glucose-containing polysaccharides, such as starches.
- Naturally occurring sugars: Sugars that are part of fruits, vegetables, milk products, etc.
- Added sugars: Sugars added during preparation or at the table.
- Total sugars: Naturally occurring and added sugars in foods and beverages.
- High-fructose corn syrup: Produced from corn syrup (nearly all glucose) with 42-55% fructose content.
What is the problem with FRUCTOSE?
Research has shown that high intakes of fructose may play a role in insulin resistance, hypertension (high blood pressure), type 2 diabetes and increased body fat. Consuming more sugary, refined snacks also results in higher glucose and insulin levels than consuming whole-food items such as rolled oats or whole grains. The higher the fiber content of the food the less of a response there is in the blood sugar levels rising. Fructose is metabolized to fat in the liver more quickly than glucose is, which can lead to insulin resistance. Glucose is metabolized by all of the cells in the body (and too much is a bad thing), but fructose is only metabolized by the liver. Excess fructose is stored as fat and can increase the triglycerides in the blood.
The best thing you can do, is to reduce the total amount of simple sugars in your diet.
What’s the deal with SWEETENERS:
- Aspartame: Aspartame is the main sweetener in those little packets, Equal. Aspartame is found in many “diet” items, drinks, foods, diet sodas, etc. It is 200 times sweeter than natural sugar, which is why a little bit goes a long way. Aspartame is under much scrutiny and debate for many reasons including its risk of cancer, diabetes, etc.. While aspartame is supposed to be good for weight loss (because it has zero calories), reports show that it can stimulate an increase in appetite and increase in cravings for sweet foods. Research is inconclusive and often very biased regarding safety.
- Sucralose: Sucralose is 300 times sweeter than natural sugars. Saccharine is not metabolized in the human body, it does not contribute energy or calories.
- According to the National Cancer Institute, the FDA reviewed more than 100 safety studies that were conducted on each sweetener, including studies to assess cancer risk. The results of these studies showed no evidence that these sweeteners cause cancer or pose any other threat to human health.
- Sugar alcohols: Sugar alcohols are absorbed and metabolized by the body more slowly but cause major abdominal discomfort including gas and diarrhea. Sugar alcohol are not as popular a choice as artificial sweeteners because they contain calories.
- Honey: 1 teaspoon of honey has 22 calories (1 teaspoon of regular sugar has 16 calories). Honey has trace amounts of minerals such as iron, calcium potassium and magnesium. Molasses is also a natural sweetener that contains trace quantities of nutrients (with calories). Honey is less refined than plain white table sugar, but has more calories. Remember, infants should never be given honey in the rare situation of the honey being contaminated with botulism.
- Agave: Agave is extracted from the agave plaint and filtered and processed into a syrup. There are about 20 calories per 1 teaspoon. It is sweeter than sugar however, so you need less of it. Agave also contains a small amount of minerals, but just because it is claimed to be “natural,” doesn’t mean it is better. While agave has a low glycemic index rating and won’t spike your blood sugars like normal sugar, it has a VERY high fructose content (remember what I said above about fructose).
- Stevia: Stevia is a zero calorie sweetener that comes from the stevia plant. It is refined to the white powder form you see in the store. It has been declared “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA as a sugar substitute. However, whole leaf stevia has not been approved because of safety concerns. Research on this sweetener and its safety are still out to debate. The CSPI (The Center for Science in the Public Interest) still recommends that more research is needed regarding its safety.
As I have said many times, I am a big believer in MODERATION. If chemically made, artificial sweeteners are the only form of “sugar” you use, or if you drink 5 diet sodas a day, if “diet” products are all you eat/drink, you need to cut down. You need to limit the processed foods and chemicals. Its not just the aspartame that you should be worried about if you are a “diet” junkie. A few diet sodas every once in a while won’t kill you, but you need to keep them to a minimum. On the other end, consuming large amounts of table sugars, honey or agave have their own negative impact on your health by increasing calories in your diet.
Use restraint if you need to, but put down the sugar (or sweetener).
Tips for reducing sugar in your diet:
- Decrease added sugars to cereal, oatmeal, coffee.
- Sweeten your own foods naturally. Instead of brown sugar or sugar to your oatmeal, cereals, etc, use berries or other fruits.
- Instead of buying artificial sweetened beverages, sweeten your own with fresh squeezed lemons or limes. Make ice cubes out of lemon juice and use those!
- Buy fresh fruits or fruits canned in water or natural juice. Avoid fruit canned in syrup, especially heavy syrup.
- In baked recipes, decrease the sugar by 1/2 to 1/3. You most likely wont notice a difference.
- Use fruit as a sweetener in baked goods. Applesauce, dried dates, dried raisins, shredded coconut all have a natural sweetness to them.
- Read the labels of your favorite food items, like pasta sauce, soup, crackers, etc. You will be surprised how much sugar is in some unsuspecting items.
- Watch your portions. You can still enjoy a piece of birthday cake, but make is a SMALL piece, or share it with a friend.
- Give yourself 21 days to cut down on sugar. Be disciplined. Get an accountability partner to hold you to it. For 21 days, do not add sugar or sweetener to your foods, have fruit as dessert, and see how you feel after the 21 days. In the big scheme of things, 21 days isn’t that long. You can do it.
Did you find this article helpful? Informational? Click the SHARE button below!
Late Night Snacking
How does not getting enough sleep affect weight loss?
When should you stop eating at night?
What should you eat at night?
Have a great day!
How to Use My Fitness Pal
My Fitness Pal is a great tool for those trying to lose weight or maintain their weight. It allows you to track your nutrition,calories, protein, fat. Like any weight loss tool, it only works if you use it correctly and.. if you use it at all!
Start by tracking every bite you eat throughout the day. After a while of practice, you may not have to enter every day, but while trying to lose weight, you need to enter everything
Enter your information into your profile. Enter your weight, height, goal weight, activity level, and weight loss goals. Depending on how much weight you have to loose, select weight loss of 1-2 lbs per week. This is healthy and most realistic.
Women who are trying to lose weight should never go below 1200 calorie. Men should never go below 1400.
Protein, Carbs, Fat:
On the mobile ap you can go to “daily” and will see a small pie chart in the top right. If you click on that, you can see proportionally where your calories are coming from.
Your range of percent calories from fat, proteins and carbs should range approximately something like this:
45% to 65% of calories eaten should come from carbohydrates
20% to 35% of calories eaten should come from fat
10% to 35% of calories eaten should come from protein
Remember my previous post about protein? Here is an accurate method for figuring out how much protein you should be eating:
How much protein do I need per day?
My Fitness Pal will approximate your calorie burn during your workouts. My Fitness Pal, treadmills, elliptical, bikes and other computer programs cannot 100% accurately reflect your true calorie burn. While some are more accurate than others, none include your height, weight, age, sex, muscle mass, etc. All of those factors influence how many calories you burn during a workout, and My Fitness Pal does not take all of those factors into account. If you are on a weight loss journey and just starting out, I recommend that regardless of what MFP says you burned during a workout, stick to your initial calorie goal for the day. Stay consistent with your nutrition, and get that under control.
2. My Foods:
If you know the nutritional information of a recipe you cannot find in the database, you can enter it here.
3. My Meals:
Another great feature you can use to quickly enter foods is by using the “my meals” option. Save foods you eat regularly to make it easier for your next enter. For example, my staple shakeology recipes uses 1 serving shakeology, 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, 2 Tbs pb2. I can enter that for breakfast one day, then click the little tool (if using from mobile ap) next to breakfast and “save meal.” I label it my “PB2 Shakeology,” and tomorrow instead of entering all 3 items, I just select one meal!
You can do the same with a salad you make regularly, a dinner dish, etc.
4. My Recipes:
Create your own nutritional analysis for your own recipes. Enter the ingredients you used, enter # of servings you made, and there you have your very own recipes and their nutritional value.
5. Community & Friends:
Connect with friends on My Fitness Pal and help motivate each other! Share your workouts, meals, etc with others and help others stay on track!
Here is my username, feel free to add me! Click here: AshleySweeneyRD
What is your My Fitness Pal username?
Serving Sizes vs. Portion Sizes
Serving size and portion size are the same thing, right?
There is a big difference between the definition of serving size and portion size, but too often we don’t pay attention to this. Most people don’t even realize there is difference between the two terms!
What Is The Difference?
- Portion Size is the amount of a single food item offered in the packaging of prepared foods, the amount given to you at restaurants, or the amount a person chooses to put on his or her plate.
- A Serving Size is a standard unit of measurement usually in cups or ounces, as recommended by the USDA.
Most of the time, the portions we eat are much larger than standard serving sizes, a problem called, “Portion Distortion.” Portions at restaurants, at home, what you buy at the store are much larger than they ever used to be, and many times people aren’t paying attention to the growing sizes. Some portions actually have 2, 3 or more servings!
What Are the Proper Serving Sizes?
The following is the list of serving sizes for the different food groups.
- 1 serving of meat= 3 oz (about the size of a deck of cards)
- 1 serving of fruit= 1 cup fresh fruit (the size of a tennis ball)
- 1 serving of veggies= 1 cup fresh, or ½ cup cooked vegetables
- 1 serving grains= 1 piece of bread, 1 pancake, ½ bagel, ½ cup rice/pasta/ or cereal
- 1 serving of dairy= 1 cup milk or yogurt, 1 oz cheese (about the size of 3 dice)
Why Is This Important?
- When dining out and eating at home, portion sizes are often larger than recommended serving sizes.
- Studies show that when faced with a larger portion of food, people tend to consume more calories, fat, and sodium.
- Consuming more calories can lead to weight gain and obesity!
- Serving sizes, not portion sizes, are how calories, protein, fat and nutrients are measured. You need to know how many servings you are having of foods to watch your waistline, your cholesterol, etc.
How can you watch your portion sizes?
- Order smaller portions at restaurants. Appetizers can make a great meal because they are usually smaller servings. Split larger entrees with a friend or split half to go.
- Eat your meals on smaller plates and use smaller cups. The smaller your plate and cup, the smaller your portion. You also won’t be tempted to fill your larger plate with unneeded, extra food.
- Don’t eat out of the bag. Divide contents of large packages (chips, cookies, etc) into smaller single serving size portions to avoid over eating. Pre-portion your snacks at the beginning of the week that you will take with you to work or school.
- Eat before you go out. Have an apple, cup of veggies, hard boiled egg, or low fat cheese stick to hold you over. This way when you arrive to a party or event, you won’t feel the need to eat the first unhealthy thing you see.
- Eat slowly. It takes your brain a few minutes to get the message that your stomach is full.
- Don’t eat while distracted. Eating while watching TV, driving, or on the computer may lead to overeating.
While portions continue to grow beyond your control, what you need to do is learn the proper serving sizes so you can make better food choices. Don’t let large portions hold you back from losing weight.
The Breakdown of Nutrients
Carbohydrates are the body’s main energy source and main calorie source. Carbohydrates include starches, complex carbohydrates, and sugar. Fiber is a form of complex carbohydrate, but is not digested and absorbed in the body. It aids in digestion, promotes health, and offers protection from some diseases.
Carbohydrates provide 4 calories/gram.
Fats also supply energy. They are also vital for our health in transporting vitamins, aiding in growth, and part of many cells in the body. Some fats are healthier than others (mono-unsaturated is healthier than saturated), and some sound be avoided as much as possible (such as trans fats).
Fats provide 9 calories/gram.
Combinations of amino acids make up the various proteins. Protein builds, repairs and maintains the tissues within your body. Some are considered “non-essential” which our body makes on its own, while others we have to eat in food and are considered “essential.”
Proteins provide 4 calories/gram
Vitamins can be thought of as “spark plugs.” they trigger various reactions in the body, and each vitamin plays a different role.
Vitamins do not provide any calories.
Minerals are similar to vitamins and each has their own job descriptions. Minerals also do not provide calories.
Water makes up 45-75 percent of your body weight. It regulates temperature, carries nutrients to cells, and carries away waste products.