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Thursday, March 17, 2011

A conversation on healthy eating with the Dinner Diva!

While making groceries this week I started to ponder the whole question of healthy eating.  What constitutes healthy?  Is healthy eating more expensive?  Is there an easy way to do this?  I didn't have all the answers and when you start researching OMG, do you find answers!  I am trying to keep it simple - if it didn't come out the ground or doesn't have a mother - don't eat it.  Thanks, Jillian Michaels.  That's a way of eating I can do.  But I still had a lot of questions and some of my readers had questions so I had a conversation with the incredibly awesome Leanne Ely, of Saving Dinner. 

Just a little background, Leanne is a nutritionist that I became familiar with through Marla Cilley,  the Flylady.  I was a little starstruck when she would answer my tweets, and to email her directly, well, that had me giddy!  I have been a Saving Dinner fan for years.  I have subscribed to her incredibly awesome menu mailers for a long time and have tons of them on my computer.  She has a really great way to create family friendly menus for a whole week and give it to you complete with grocery list, to your inbox every single week.  I even purchased some that were for the freezer meals.  I cooked and created weeks worth of meals in a single day and had a freezer STOCKED with awesome, healthy meals. 

Well, onto the good stuff.  I am going to post the questions and then Leanne's answers right under them. 

So much of what I am hearing is that it is too expensive to eat healthy. In NOLA (I live 15 min from there) food is a way of life, but local resources are around and keep growing. 

It's not too expensive to eat healthy--it's just a CHOICE. You buy a bag of organic apples or you buy some crappy crackers that cost .99 instead. Which is cheaper for a snack? The crackers, yep. But which in the long run will ruin your health? The crappy crackers. (I can do this all day long...write these kind of examples out! LOL)

Besides pork, turkey and chicken, what are red meat options for healthy living?

BEEF! Make it grassfed and you're in business. Also bison...good healthy alternative.

Lunch options for people working in retail and more focus on young people who don't cook every night.

Take LEFTOVERS from dinner the night before, keep it in the fridge at work (or pack it in a little ice chest yourself) and warm it up. Leftovers are our friends--they make lunch a SNAP!

Grocery bills can seem to double when buying healthy. Why is this and what can we do to help more?  I know it is because you are spending the same amount but just all at one place instead of a little at each drive through.

I think that's a myth--my grocery bill goes DOWN when I'm buying raw food that requires preparation and cooking. Why would healthy be more expensive? If you look at the food pound per pound for what you're getting, you get WAY more value for you dollar with healthy food as opposed to junky stuff. The nutrients alone save the day in that department!

Picky kids - how do you get them to eat healthy and gluten free?

You don't give up--you keep offering them healthy foods, you make sure your offerings are gluten free and you stay pleasant about it. When you turn food into a battle, you ultimately lose the war on healthy eating.

One trap I fall into is that I go into the store with great intentions for the weeks and then life happens and I can't cook like I'd like to or leftovers wilt in the fridge. Any tips?

Yes, FREEZE anything freezeable. I am known for doing that. If I have leftover soups (like my lentil soup--only one serving left) I'll stick it in the freezer to keep it going bad. Any veggies? I'll do a quick stir fry or steam them up and THEN freeze for later (add to soup/stew, etc.)

With Easter around the corner what strategies can we use to not let those baskets full of candy get to our waistlines. Any better alternatives to have in the house instead of chocolates and other goodies.

Just get a FEW good quality organic chocolates. Keep them in the freezer, pull out an ounce a day and you're good to go. DARK chocolate though, not all those silly marshellowy eggs and chicks!

So, what I got from Leanne is that it is all about choices.  You may see your grocery bill go up, but if you total all you would have spent on eating out and drive through and add that to what you normally spend on groceries don't be surprised if your bill goes down.

I have decided to give up fast food for Lent too.  I don't enjoy it, it doesn't taste good and it is terrible for me.  I'll still keep Subway, can't get crazy! 

If you have any other questions I am sure she would answer them! 

Much Love and Healthy Living,

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