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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Nutrition, The Key That Unlocks Healthy

 We all know good nutrition is key to keeping our bodies healthy.  Getting healthy has great formula consisting of 80% nutrition and 20% fitness.  Now, that doesn't mean focus on food and forget your workouts or vice versa.  Yes, if weight loss is your focus, you can lose weight by focusing on nutrition.  But just eating right isn't going to get you healthy and keep you there.  It's not going to help you live a longer, more quality life in the end.

Try and focus on eating something of every color each day.  It's hard!  I find it easy to get in my greens, oranges and reds.  I have a hard time with some of the others at different times.  Asparagus, sweet potatoes, carrots and bananas are staples in our diets.  We have fresh strawberries from our strawberry patch in the summer.  I stock up on ripe mango in the summer, cut it up and freeze it.  And Schwan's has a nice selection of frozen veggies when the delivery man stops by.  The peas, asparagus and sweet potato chunks I love.  And the Golden Fruit Blend is awesome for shakes and smoothies.  Schwan's fruits and veggies are hefty bags and good quality.  I can't complain.  And, the cheese and herb biscuits rival those of Red Lobster!  The delivery guy brings it to my house and I don't have to drive to get it.

We raise cattle, so our beef supply is amazing!  We also just started raising chickens, so we should have a steady supply of chicken and eggs soon, too.  We LOVE salmon and eat a lot of it when I can get it at a good price.  Other seafood we eat when I can get it on sale.

Lets face it, it can be expensive to feed a family the healthy way.  It's easy to feed them crap cheaply; macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, pizza, balogna, hot dogs....not that it's all bad.  Everything in moderation is ok.  You have to moderate the processed foods and focus on eating fresh.  So, how do you do it and not have it cut drastically into your pocket book?

For starters, you can garden a lot of things in containers that can save you BIG $$$ during the growing season.  Lettuce, out of season, it gets cashy for no more than it is.  I try and keep lettuce in a container in a south facing window sill.  It doesn't keep us overflowing in lettuce, but it sure does stretch our purchases.  I also cut dandilion greens in the yard to mix in.  I put carrots in a pot near a window.  And, I buy buy buy all summer for things I don't grow and preserve.  Canning, freezing, they're old traditions that work!  Canning takes time though.  I have a large deep freeze, so I have plenty of space once we grill a few steaks in early summer.  So, you have to weigh your options.  The USDA has a great food preservation guide.  On the left there's how to freeze, can, pickle, cure, smoke, ferment, dry and make into jellies and jams!  USDA also has Healthy Eating on A Budget.  Check it out, they have great tips!

Some of these are the choices I make that allow me to stay at home with my kids.  If I worked, paid daycare for two kids and drive to work every day, there wouldn't be much of my paycheck left anyway.  So, I try and save where I can.  Local farmer's markets are great and I try to make it to at least one a week and I haggle for a good price if the produce isn't amazing.  Buy bulk, it'll get you a better price too.  Tomatoes, I'll buy a dozen, so I'll often ask for a deal since I'm not just buying one or two.  I get great produce in season and I don't spend hours and hours planting, weeding and harvesting.  I still get it at a good price from local growers and can preserve it myself, usually without tedious hours of work too!

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