Archive for the tag - groceries

What Produce Numbers Mean.

Ever notice those produce stickers on the fruits and veggies that you buy at the grocery store? As it turns out, the numbers on those so-called PLU (short for “price look-up”) stickers actually tell you a whole lot.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • 4 digits: If the code is four digits long, then the item was conventionally grown. For example, 4139 designates a conventional Granny Smith apple.
  • 5 digits, beginning with an 8: If the five digit code begins with an 8, then the item was genetically modified (GMO). 84139 refers to a genetically modified Granny Smith apple.
  • 5 digits, beginning with a 9: If the five digit code begins with a 9, then the item was grown organically. A code of 94139, for example, indicates an organic Granny Smith apple.

While the PLU codes aren’t universal, the system is used in the United States, UK, Canada, Australia, France and New Zealand. In addition, any imports to these countries are also tagged accordingly – regardless of the country of origin.

While the debate over whether or not to eat genetically modified or non-organic food is beyond the scope of the article, using the PLU code is an easy trick to quickly categorize the produce that you buy.

Do you prefer buying organic produce over genetically modified or conventional produce? Let me know in the comments below.

Grocery Shopping with Davey Wavey.

Dear Davey,

I’m curious. What do you buy when you go grocery shopping? I’d love to know!

From,
Sue

Dear Sue,

Your wish is my command!

Actually, my grocery shopping habits have improved greatly over the last few years. I’ve moved away from processed foods, simple carbohydrates, high sugar products and red meat to a healthier diet rich with vegetables, fruits, complex carbs and some lean meat.

In fact, I went shopping yesterday – and took a picture to share my purchases.

Check it out:

Here are the items pictured above:

  • Corn
  • Avocados (for my famous guacamole)
  • Fresh almond nut butter (which is great for snacking with apples or bananas)
  • Hummus
  • Black beans
  • Butternut squash (for vegetable quesadillas)
  • Whole wheat tortillas
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Whole grain bread
  • Cheddar, feta and Cotswold cheese
  • Soy milk
  • Organic milk (organic milk is healthier and contains much less saturated fat)
  • Free-range, organic chicken breast
  • Slice turkey meat (for sandwiches)
  • Minimally processed chicken patties (my favorite!) by Applegate Farms
  • Coconut water (it’s a natural alternative to sports drinks – and has more potassium than a banana!)
  • Tortilla chips (for my guacamole)
  • Frozen Brussels sprouts
  • Frozen adamame
  • Apples
  • Vine tomatoes
  • Poblano, Anaheim, yellow and Fresno peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Bananas (my favorite pre-workout energy boost)
  • Brown rice sushi (for lunch)
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Red onion
  • Cilantro
  • Garlic

As you can see, my shopping cart is filled with lots of (mostly) healthy food choices – but it’s not light on flavor. People often think that eating healthy means eating foods that don’t taste good. I couldn’t disagree more. I truly LOVE eating and think that – through smarter shopping – I manage to select colorful, nourishing items without losing any deliciousness. Moreover, this diet helps fuel my active, high-energy lifestyle and supports my fitness goals.

Were you surprised by anything in my shopping cart? Is there anything you plan on doing differently next time you’re at the market? Let me know in the comments below.

Love,
Davey Wavey

10 Tips: Eating Healthy on a Budget!

Hi Davey,

I really want to get in better shape. I’ve been following your blog and doing a lot of the “at home” training as I cant afford a gym. Actually, I cant afford a good diet either. I’m unemployed and have to stretch my dollars.

Are there any suggestions you could make for a good diet on a very low budget?

Cheers,
Pauly

Hey Pauly,

That healthy diets tend to be more expensive is a huge challenge for this country and our planet. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that unhealthy diets – though cheaper at the register – will contribute to expensive and potentially debilitating medical issues down the road. So while the upfront costs of an unhealthy diet may be less, the longer term costs can become quite staggering.

Having said that, there are plenty of ways to eat healthier while still on a budget.

Try these tips:

  1. Buy in bulk. Lean meats can be expensive – but when you buy in greater quantities, the cost per serving becomes discounted. Freeze your bulk purchases and defrost as needed.
  2. Drink water. And not just any water – drink tap water. The water that comes out of your faucet is probably quite similar in quality to the water you can buy in bottles, but it’s a fraction of a price. The national average price for tap water in the United States is $2.00 per 1,000 gallons. Now that’s cheap. Moreover, water is a healthy (and cheaper) alternative to other beverages – like sugary juices and soda.
  3. Buy in season. Seasonal produce tends to be much cheaper than purchasing out of season; stock up when you can.
  4. Buy generic. Opting for store brands can save you a bundle. The foods are likely similar in taste, ingredients and flavor – and usually only differ in price.
  5. Eat eggs! Yes, eggs are cheap – and a great source of protein. True, eggs have cholesterol – but dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol are not one in the same; they are healthy (and delicious!) to eat in moderation.
  6. Eat fish – from a can. Canned tuna is another great way to get protein without breaking the bank – just make sure that the sodium levels aren’t too high. Fuel your body by adding tuna to salads and sandwiches.
  7. Avoid packaged and processed foods. If your meal is coming out of a box, it’s probably not going to be healthy. Cooking from raw ingredients isn’t only healthier, it’s cheaper. To that end, make your own meals.
  8. Buy frozen veggies and fruits. Fresh produce, especially when it’s not in season, can be super expensive. Berries, in particular, tend to be very pricey. However, buying frozen produce is a great alternative – and because the produce is frozen at peak ripeness, frozen produce often contains more nutrients than the fresh alternatives.
  9. Grow a vegetable garden. If you have the outdoor space and some extra time, grow your own vegetables. It’s fun, easy and it will help curb your weekly grocery bill.
  10. Don’t buy junk food. Instead of buying junk food like potato chips and candy – which are neither filling nor nourishing – put that money towards healthier, more wholesome purchases.

Is eating healthy on a budget a challenge? Yes. But it’s not impossible – and, longer term, it will result in better health and reduced medical and healthcare costs down the road.

Love,
Davey Wavey

P.S. If you have any tips for eating healthy on a budget, please share them in the comments below!