Remember that article we wrote about making a minimalist grocery list to simplify your resolution of getting on a path to eating healthier? Well, we're back to tackle the next step after that article.
You made your list, and you purchased your goods. Now what? Let's take a look at some ideas of things to make from that minimalist grocery list as well as some how's and why's as to storage solutions and organic purchasing.
Without getting too deep into the weeds, the best tip I have picked up when buying organic is to think about the consumption of the produce. This also helps in saving money, too! The main benefits of purchasing organic is that you are buying nutrient dense, non-gmo, chemical free produce. That means the seeds weren't reconstructed in some lab negating some of the nutritional benefits, and you aren't ingesting harmful pesticides. So ask yourself, will I be consuming this piece of produce in its entirety, outside skins and all (i.e. lettuce, apples, grapes, carrots, etc.)? If the answer is yes, then you will want to try to purchase organic to get the highest nutritional density as well as chemical free product. If your answer is no, then you can get away with non-organic items, just make sure that you are cleaning your produce well. A few examples of items that you do not eat in their entirety are things like bananas, avocados, oranges, etc. (Think: things that have peels or outer skins that you remove). Some people argue that root vegetables can be purchased non-organic since the part you consume is subterranean. But if you want to get nitty gritty on that, chemicals are still absorbed by the surrounding soil and can affect the sanitation of the produce. Hopefully this helps you decided what is necessary for you and your family to purchase organic if this is a standard that is important to you!
As far as storing fresh produce goes, I've found that I basically need to do whatever I plan on doing with it within the first 2-3 days of purchasing or else I forget about it and it goes bad. I also try to follow the general rule of thumb that if I am buying in bulk, I also need to prep in bulk. Doubling a recipe gives you healthy leftover options so that on days when you are tempted to just grab fast food, you have a "pre-prepped" (maybe even frozen) meal that only needs to be thrown in the CrockPot or re-heated for consumption. If you're really trying to manage carb/protein intake as well as portion control, that little tip is KEY! I have also found this chart to be extremely helpful:
Jicama? Who? Say whaaaaa?
As far as the whole carb/protein balance and portion control goes, I think the principle applies whether you are trying to lose weight, maintain/build muscle mass, or even maintain breast milk supply. You have GOT to eat protein and GOOD carbs. Proteins and Greens people!!! Stay away from processed foods, which are pretty much anything found in a cardboard box or plastic bag. If you love your cereals and pastas and breads, a great brand to check out is the Food For Life baking company. Their products are all made from sprouted whole grains meaning they are low in sugar and high in protein which is a home run in my book!
And as far as "recipes" go, think simple. Pair a protein with a GOOD carb. Look to veggies first to be your carbs before loading up on fruits that are high in sugar. So try this out: grill 8-10 chicken breasts and then steam or roast broccoli or green beans. Add a fresh power leafy green salad on the side if you feel like you need to make your plate "fuller" or roast a secondary veggie like carrots and beets together or saute onion and summer squash. Eating "clean" isn't hard. It just takes making up your mind to do it. Simple is best. And it's also pretty delicious.